Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dutch Bicycles

The Dutch are serious bicycle riders, both in their cities and in rural areas. My family and I walked all around Amsterdam but took a bicycle tour out into the countryside on the dikes that enclose polders (low-lying areas that have been drained and have become farmland). We met tens of families and individuals happily peddling along. This was in 2004. By now, many of these bikes have been electrified or riders have bought new electric ones. I think Gazelle and Batavus were among the most popular brands in the past, but many other companies sold bikes. We need to return to the Netherlands and see how people with a long tradition of biking are doing and what they are riding. 

Here are a collection of interesting bicycles in Amsterdam. (I was inspired by my friend Jim Grey, who posted pictures of bicycles from Indiana.)

Commuting bicycle with enclosed chain

This is a comfortable commuting bicycle with a step-over frame for ladies and a totally enclosed chain to keep rain and mud off their clothing. I think it has a front drum brake, also enclosed for rain protection. 
Polka-dotty step-over frames
Big wheel (28" ?) cruising bicycle

This is a laid-back frame designed for comfort and carrying a child. I do not see  brake handles on the handlebars. so possibly this is a one-speed with a coaster brake. Note the rain covers over the chain and rear wheel. The old-fashioned light generator with an incandescent bulb is seriously inefficient - I remember using them. The faster you ride, the brighter the light.

Step-over bicycle with rusty chain, drum brake, and light generator. Note comfort seat.  

This another single-speed coaster brake bicycle with a relaxed frame, ready for wet riding. I assume these models are old and have heavy steel frames. But they last for decades.

At the Amsterdam central train station.

Commuters come in from the suburbs by train and pick up their bicycle from an outside rack or an enclosed bicycle garage. 

Newer step-over with enclosed chain. Are those white sidewall tyres?
Step-over without hand-operated brakes. More white sidewall tyres??

This is a nice commuter step-over bike with a curved upper bar, similar to the polka-dot models in the previous picture. Nice comfortable seat. This may be a Waffenrad from Steyr - Daimler - Puch AG, Österreich, or an Omafiets. The early Waffenrads used rod-actuated brakes rather than cable-actuated. Rod brakes are still common in India and Nepal.

Sturdy worker bike with double upper frame bars.
Extended wheelbase bicycle for carrying two children. Note the front enclosed drum brake.

These long bicycles have an added triangular frame behind the seat. The add-on section connects to where the rear wheel axle was formerly located.

Two more Waffenrads?

Bicycle bridge and brave pedestrian crossing a canal.

Oops, this lady should have ridden her bike that day. Town of Edam.

The tow truck had a bit of a challenge retrieving the little red car because the tree was in the way and the road was narrow. Maybe this happens a lot?

These are early-vintage digital files from a compact Kodak LS743 digital camera. It applied too much JPEG compression but otherwise did a surprisingly nice nice job for 2004 technology. This was the first digital camera in the family and it served us well.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Mississippi Delta 38b: Hwy 49W and the Belzoni area (XPan 12)

Dear Readers, let's take another look at the Mississippi Delta with the panoramic Hasselblad XPan camera. Please type XPan in the search box to see older articles from Vicksburg, the Delta, Jackson, and Louisiana.

After my drive north on Highway US 49E to the little town of Sidon, I headed west through flat and lonely farm fields on MS 511 (Phillipston Road) and MS 7, finally reaching Morgan City on US49W. Long-term readers may remember that I looked at Morgan City in the Mississippi Delta 23. I also explored junk in the woods in 2015. 

1st Avenue, Morgan City (30mm ƒ/5.6 lens)

This former commercial block has only one building with an intact roof. The dudes were hanging out in the shade and drinking.

Fixer-upper barn, Swiftown (45mm, yellow filter)
Gin, Swiftown (90mm ƒ/4 lens)

Swiftown is not really a town, just an unincorporated community in Leflore County about 7 miles south of Morgan City. The barn next to a trailer was interesting. The cotton gin looks unused.

Head south about 10 miles and you reach Belzoni. 

Junction of MLK Jr. Drive and Church Street, Belzoni

My friend, who grew up in Belzoni, told me that these Quanset huts were restaurants owned by a local Italian family, the Mechattos. They were immigrants from Sicily. My friend's grandmother called them "The Hut." They made wonderful homemade salad dressing. One waitress was called Tootsie. My friend did not know when the family left or stopped operating the restaurant. 

China Street, Belzoni

Much of Belzoni is pretty rough today. And it may no longer be the Catfish Capital of the World. Please click the link for some 2021 photographs of Belzoni.

Thank you all for riding along in the Mississippi Delta.

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Mississippi Delta 37b: Eden, Tchula, and Sidon (Xpan 11)

On my recent trip north on Route 49E, I revisited the tiny town of Tchula. I photographed here in 2020 with black and white film. This time, I was using my friend's Hasselblad XPan panoramic camera and wanted to capture some scenes in the wide view.


Attack of the Spacemen, Eden, Mississippi (45mm lens, ƒ/8.0½, yellow-green filter)

Eden is a little town of about 130 inhabitants in Yazoo County just west of 49E. There is not much to see except for the Cyclopian spacemen in front of the closed convenience store. I have admired them before. We continue north on 49E.


Bridge to Cooper Road, Tchula (45mm, yellow-green filter)
Guinea hen house, Front Street, Tchula. Note the wandering rooster.
Time for lunch, Front Street, Tchula (45mm lens, yellow-green filter, ƒ/8.0½)

Front Street may have been the former 49E. It semi-parallels Tchula Lake, which is really a tributary stream to the Yazoo River.

The Tchula Hardware Company on 201 East Main Street is like a throwback to another era - a hardware store with all the useful things you can use to fix your house, bicycle, car, flooring, or appliances. The gent siting outside graciously said I could to take pictures inside. A young lady in a couch did not pay any attention to me. I placed the XPan with the super-wide 30mm lens on a counter and set the self-timer. The exposures at ƒ/11 were in the 2-4 seconds range. To see some of the detail, please click any picture.


West Railroad Avenue, Sidon (45m lens, yellow-green filter, ƒ/11)

There is not much to Sidon now. East and West Railroad Avenues have no commercial buildings any more other than the post office. The wide bare stretch where my car is parked may have once been a rail yard or the location of a depot.

This ends our short trip on US 49E in the central Delta. Stand-by for more exploring in the future. Thank you for riding along.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Mississippi Delta 39: Thornton

Thornton is the remnant of a town on US 49E south of Tchula and north of Yazoo City in the Mississippi Delta. Two dilapidated square-front commercial buildings remain on the only street in town. More buildings would have once formed a small commercial core. 

Silos and gin south of Thornton (Kodak Tri-X film, Fuji GW690II camera, 90mm ƒ/3.5 EBC-Fujinon lens, yellow filter, 1/250 ƒ/8)

I drove on 49E on a blazing hot day in 2020. This gin and the silos may be unused, but possibly in Autumn, when cotton is harvested, the gin is put back into operation. The frames above are from a medium format Fuji GW690II camera with Tri-X film (click any frame to see details at 2400 pixels wide.

Mark's store in Thornton (45mm lens, yellow-green filter)
Mr. Kevin hangin' out, Thornton (45mm lens)

In 2022, I drove back north on 49E but this time stopped in Thornton. Mr. Kevin was standing in front of one of the square buildings. At 11:00, he was already slurring and asked me if I came to see Mark. I said sure. Mark came out of the other square building and was in much better shape. He said his father formerly owned the building and ran a store. At this time, it looked like Mark lived there. I forgot to ask if they had safe drinking water. Other gents in town were also drinking or enjoying weed. Mark generously said I could photograph the store. They all admired my 42-year-old car, which is a conversation ice-breaker. Kevin said with a car like that, he could get the chicks.

J. Chambers Street view west, Thornton (45 mm lens, yellow-green filter)

The three last photographs are from a Hasselblad XPan panoramic camera and the 45mm ƒ/4 lens. The film was Fuji Acros, exposed at EI=80. The light was harsh and glarey.

For more articles about the Delta, type "Mississippi Delta" in the search box. Click any photograph above for more details.