Night biking deserves a quiet song: A photo report of my first two Midnite Bicycle League 2022 rides

Belmont Library, 18 Jan 2022. Camera: Minolta SR-T 101 Lens: MC Rokkor PG 50mm f/1.4
Film: Cinestill 800T

We’re more than half-way through this year’s Midnite Bicycle League Challenge. Ninety people have signed up so far. I haven’t received my first completed journal, though I know at least one is on the way. And I’ve seen some photos–the most active place has been Instagram.

I took my first ride during the week of January 9. I loaded up my Minolta SR-T 101 with Cinestill 800T film. Night photography needs “fast” film. Since the fall of the film era, pickings for really fast film, speeds above ISO 400, has been pitifully low. There are only three color stocks faster than ISO 400 these days: Kodak Portra 800, Lomography 800, and Cinestill 800T. 1 The “T” in the 800T stands for tungsten, meaning that the film is formulated for artificial light, whereas most color stock is prioritized for natural light. Because of this Cinestill gives off some funky vibes, like halo and glow. I don’t mind it.

The first ride on Monday January 10th was on the Bantam. I headed to the Montavilla neighborhood as I wanted to photograph some of the neon signs found on SE Stark, specifically Super Chevrolet Parts Co. and Stark’s Vacuums. I also caught the waxing moon and some holiday lights in the neighborhood. The ride was 4.3 mi/7 km total.

Stark's Vacuum, Montavilla. 10 Jan 2022

The following week saw two more rides. On Tuesday January 18th I hopped on the Raleigh Superbe headed over to the Belmont Library branch to drop off and pick up some books. I still had the SR-T 101 loaded with Cinestill 800T. I didn’t expect to catch any neon, but did capture the “Never” Coffee sign on SE Belmont and 42nd. The ride was 5 mi/ 8 km total.

Night book return. Belmont Library, 18 Jan 2022

My final Midnite Bicycle League 2022 ride happened on Thursday January 20th. This was my first test of the dynamo system on the Brompton. (It works! I love it!) It was a smallish 3.5 mi/ 5.6 km cruise around the neighborhood. I had switched to my Minolta Hi-Matic 7s with Rollei Paul and Reinhold 640 black and white film for that ride. I still haven’t got that roll developed yet…

Like my stuff? Go to my Ko-fi page to buy me a coffee!

1 While each of these stocks is from a different brand, the film itself is all made by Kodak.


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