Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making Progress

Nice. The new bike lane on Howard now goes from Maxwell to Indiana.


SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Police in California said a teenager's bike was stolen while he was being arrested for allegedly trying to sell a stolen violin.

Santa Cruz police said a pair of 17-year-olds allegedly tried to sell the violin, reported stolen in a car burglary Thursday night, at a Mission Street music store Friday and employees called police, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Police said the boys left their bikes outside and one bike was stolen while the teens were being arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property.

Investigators said the violin was returned to its owner. The stolen bike was not located.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Not long after I learned how to ride a bike I saw another boy do something really neat. Now please bear with me while I digress a moment. "Neat" was the common word we used back then to express approval. It preceded "groovy", a word I never cared for, which in turn preceded "far out" which I thought was...far out. And while "cool" has endured for decades, it was not present in the neighborhood lexicon on the 3200 block of Bryant Street in Topeka, Kansas. While all of that is not necessarily important to this story, for those of you who think anyone who remembers the assassination of JFK is old, that is how long ago I'm talking about.

A bicycle expanded our horizons and allowed for greater freedoms back then. Society was not as fearful as it is today and essentially the only restriction was that us kids had to be home by dinner. There was a two-fold reason for us to be on time. If we missed dinner not only did we not get to eat but we got a spanking on top of it. An empty stomach and fresh belt welts made for a miserable night for a seven-year-old so it was in our best interests to be home at the appointed time. I apologize for swerving off on another tangent.

Back to the beginning. When I learned to ride, I mimicked what other riders did. It never occurred to me to be imaginative about it so when it came to stopping my bike, I applied the brakes until I came to a full stop, dismounted, and then put the kickstand down. Just like everyone else. That changed the day I saw a kid dismount while the bike was in motion and remain standing on the left-side pedal. While he slowed he pushed kickstand down and stepped off the bike the moment it came to a stop.


All of our bikes had coaster brakes which were activated by pushing a pedal backwards. For us, hand brakes were considered to be outside the norm and found on three-speed bikes that only old people rode. There was always an amount of play in the coaster brakes and that varied from bike to bike. One might engage the brake with just a slight backward rotation of a few degrees and another may require a quarter turn. Mine was more towards the quarter-turn category. The first time I tried the all-in-one-fluid-motion of dismount, brake and park, I did not engage enough of the brake. As the rest of the group came to a stop, I continued on with one foot on the pedal and the other ready to push the kickstand down. But I kept rolling and had to saddle up again to brake, creating a moment of hilarity for my friends and bruising my dignity just a little.

To make it work I had to get to know my bike better. Trial and error is a wonderful, but not always painless, teacher. The next time I engaged too much brake and stopped far too suddenly while in the middle of swinging my right leg over. Catching me by surprise, my body kept going forward while my rear tire skidded. I lost control and went down bruising more than my dignity. Looking for the sweet spot in the middle ground, I followed a different tack. I remained seated while stopping and experimented with the amount of play required to get the brake to engage just right. After that I was just as smooth and fluid as everyone else. A group of boys rolling up on their bikes, stopping and then walking or running away while the bikes remained upright was...um...neat. It was neat.

Howard Street Bike Lane

On the way home I found a new bike lane in front of North Central High School. I've heard that Howard Street is supposed to get a bike lane all the way to Buckeye this year.
Right now it only goes from Maxwell to Augusta. But it's a start.

Bag in a bag

An Ostrich in a Swift.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Mostly Bicycle Friendly Community

Note: I had written but not posted this when the Curmudgeon noted the Bicycle Friendly Community sign. I am not taking issue with the designation, but this coincidence did have something to do with the title for this post.

With Colton and Standard all ripped up and that being part of my primary bike commute, I have temporarily diverted my morning commute back to the Hwy 2-Country Homes-Wall-Post route I used to follow three years ago. As you can see form the map there's a way to avoid the arterials and end up near Wall and Monroe. Morning traffic is usually pretty light so it's not like I'm holding up cars, it's just more pleasurable to go through the neighborhood.

But even with light traffic there are a number of drivers who can't stand "losing" several seconds being "stuck" behind a bicycle. Where Wall intersects with Francis and again with Wellesley there are cement medians that restrict the lane and allow the creation of a left turn lane for the opposite side. Consequently, cyclists and vehicles don't have room to be side by side. I ride in the right wheel track to make sure I have room to my right and that reduces the space to my left enough that should signal a vehicle behind me that they should wait. Most drivers hang back and wait 10-15 seconds until the median ends before they pass me. But not all of them.

I'm here to tell you that there are some drivers with the eyesight of a hawk and the geospatial ability of a mover fitting 1700 cubic feet of household goods into a truck that holds 1600. Such are their superhuman driving skills that they are able shoot the gap--as if the sudden acceleration makes it work better--and squeeze by, their side mirrors just barely missing me and allowing them to gain precious seconds in order to be the first one to arrive at the next red light. A fellow in a white pickup and an older woman in a silver sedan are two of Spokane's eagled-eyed drivers who have mastered this skill. Unfortunately, I concerned that the way I find out they're getting rusty is when they hit me.

While I have no evidence that their intentions are unfriendly, I can't say their behavior is sterling either.


This marker noting Spokanes designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists recently appeared in the 200 block of East High Drive. I would imagine that there are others going up around town.

I guess that makes it "official".


Thursday, August 26, 2010

City In Talks About Route Favored By Bicyclists

I struck up a conversation at the first Spokane Summer Parkways event earlier this summer with a gentleman who had some feedback on bicycling in Spokane. In particular, he was curious about the fate of a route he currently uses, but was hesitant to mention it, because it's not a 'sanctioned' route and has been barricaded to keep people out. He would like the barricades removed to make it safer for bicyclists but was afraid if he brought it up to anyone 'official' it might draw attention to the route and it would be shut down completely.

Well sir, it turns out the wheels were in motion before I ever talked to you. The route is an old barricaded bridge over the railroad tracks in the vicinity of Alki and Fiske streets between Sprague and Trent. I've been told that it saves some serious time for riders as there is nowhere else to cross the tracks in the area.

I checked with Grant Wencel, the City of Spokane's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator who told me that Burlington Northern Santa Fe owns the bridge. It turns out that the City has been in talks with BNSF for quite a while about this route. BNSF says the bridge is unsafe and plans to leave the barricades up until they can tear the whole bridge down, which they have only said will happen 'soon.'

The City would like to retain access over the railway for a potential future
crossing, as they recognize that there are a limited number of safe bike/ped crossings of the railroad tracks in the area. Grant believes that City legal staff is in conversation with BNSF about this issue. This route is also a bike route according to the City's Master Bike Plan.

The Bicycle Advisory Board was informed of this earlier this week and agree that it is important to retain crossing rights for a possible future bridge. So the good news is that the City recognizes the need for a crossing in this location and is working to maintain it. The bad news is it's probably going to take a while and there's no guarantee that BNSF will agree to it. Hang in there folks.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Badger Lake run

Taylor finished about 1/2 pack of smokes while waiting for us

Maybe the last over nighter to Badger. Certainly the last with a big crew. Cops came and ousted us. But we got our swim in! So we backed out a bit into the bush and camped in the dirt.

I'm so grateful for my friends. This was 20 hours of joy. Thanks guys.

I bunny hopped that tree. Beth had to portage.

Patrick, John, and Glen maneuver the obstacle. By the way, the sign says no trespassing. That's actually a public (albeit deprecated) road that someone has decided to block.

The peleton rounds the tight corner on Dover Road.

John and Mike.

Taylor. Light packer, but he did forget his ascot. Oh yeah, and a blanket or sleeping bag. And his pants are soaked. This photo was taken before the longest night of his life.


Taylor did this ride on 25mm tires. No issues what so ever. Don't try this.

Obligatory post-ride group photo. I think Glen is smiling there.

Rocking the Miyata

This is Maddie's next bike. Triple-butted steel. Funny looking Terry front wheel.
I got it on Craigslist a couple years ago.
It's just a tad too big for Maddie, but by next spring, she should be tall enough.
The unanticipated side-effect of Liza's test ride is a slight renewal of interest in a faster bike.
If only there existed a good production 26"-wheeled fast roadish bike.
I never should've sold the 52cm XO-1.ergh.
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Another ghost bike

Jon Snyder sent me these pics. He put a ghost bike up for the latest fatality.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bike Registration Fee In Spokane?

In today's print edition of the Spokesman Review an article about taxing private parking lots to make up for lost tax revenue elsewhere also contained an inset stating that City Councilman Jon Snyder is studying the creation of a bike registration fee. That bit is not present in the online version of the article.

Snyder is quoted as researching the idea and that a proposal could emerge this year. Councilman Richard Rush is quoted as saying the fee is "a very interesting concept" that he is open to especially if the money is used for bike trails and other bike improvements.

I find this news disturbing for two reasons. First of all, it's included in an article about the city looking to increase tax revenues. Consequently, bike registration could be no more about theft prevention than photo red is about safety. Secondly, there's no information about what bike registration would entail leaving this wide open to conjecture, hence the sentence that precedes this one.

As luck would have it I ran into Jon Snyder this afternoon and asked him about this. He was kind enough to fill in the blanks for me. Here's the gist of it.

He told Jonathan Brunt, the Review reporter, that this was premature. He's looking at adding a fee to every new bike sold which would go towards bike facilities and not into the general fund. However, he believes state law must first change before that fee would be permitted. The money raised would be matched by state or federal funds and again be for bike facilities. The city is looking at a huge deficit and needs to be creative in meeting shortfalls. Last of all, he welcomes cyclists to join in on the discussion and the process.

*** Update ***

Jon Snyder sent me this link from his site where he explains in greater detail.

Let me count the reasons: 1) The City has adopted a very popular Master Bike Plan that does not have dedicated funding for implementation, 2) diseases of inactivity are of epidemic proportions in Spokane County where at least 20,000 have diabetes, 3) kids lack safe routes to schools, 4) bicycle transportation saves on fuel and puts more money back into local economy, and 5) state and federal transportation funding are more rewarding communities that put in more bike facilities and complete streets strategies. I could go on.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spokefest 2010

Spokefest 2010 is coming up on September 12. This is the third year and it's a wonderful event for all ages. The organizers have added two other routes, a 9-mile loop and a 47-miler for you hard core types that can't get enough time in the saddle, to go along with the park loop for the little ones and the original 21-mile route. Register online or by mail before Sep 2 to void the late fee.

Here are some scenes from Spokefest 2009. I think Bill Bender greeted and high-fived nearly every rider at the finish.

Get your bike on!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The blogmeister has asked the guest bloggers to be more creative than to just post ride reports.

Well, since cyclists are a notoriously independent group and I, in particular, have something of a passive-aggressive streak, and the blogmeister is away I'm gonn'a risk it.

As I didn't have time to join the rest of the club curmudgeons on The Trail of the CdA's today, I went out and rode one of my winter favorites (as is exposed and tends to be clear of snow most of the time).


Paradise Road - Pedal, Pedal, Pe

Anderson Road - dal, Pe

Curtis Road - dal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pe

Cheney-Spangle Road - dal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, P

Stay on C-S - edal, Pedal, P

Stay on C-S - edal, Pedal, Ped (great outcropping of Pillow Basalt on your left) al, Pedal

Go here...

For this...

Highway 195 - Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Pedal

Ta Da!

Critter Count

Road Kill Porcupine - 1 (fresh)
Wild Turkeys - 5 (free range, not in the bottle)
Red Tailed Hawk - 1
Cows - Some
Brown Tweety-Birds - Lots

Note: One pedal = One mile more-or-less, sort of, approximatelyish.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Soft break

I've got some heavy stuff going on at the moment. For the 12 people that follow this blog religiously, you may have noticed a sharp drop off in posts. Expect more of the same for a bit. I'll be posting, but not much for a few weeks.

Rachel, Hank, Mike, Curmudgeon, Barb, SRTC folk, Justin, Glen, Mike, gNate -- if you've been sitting on a post idea for a while, now would be a good time to let her rip.

And if someone else out there has though that it would be cool to post their cycling-related Spokane perspective here, send me an email with your draft post and if I like it, I'll give you perms and you can post too. If you read this blog, you know I'm not looking for Shakespearian prose, but if you send me a post on why you think people should wear helmets, don't be hurt if I don't post it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This little plant bit was picked up by my elbow as a result of my bad line picking.

Now, two hours later, I've peeled it from the infant scab on my elbow, photo'ed it, and shared this little freeloader with you.

You're welcome.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pacenti Quasimotos

Super cush.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Thanksgiving ride?

I was thinking yesterday that we (the royal we) should have a morning ride on Thanksgiving day.
It would be a trail ride. Start at The Scoop, drop down the trails into the NW Passage. Into Palisades, across Rimrock, down to the archery range, to SFCC river trail and mega-church cemetery river trail, by peoples park, over the bridge by Sandifur to latch creek trail up to Inland Empire Way to 7th ave access. up the trails to 25th.
I think that might be about 25 miles of trail.
Leave Scoop at 7:30.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Cat food run

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Crazy bike socks

A birthday gift.
Now no one will run over my toes!

MC results mid-day update

- Chad Nelson: 6:09; full sus mountain bike
- Alan Jacobs: 6:09; full sus mountain bike
- Tom McFadden: 6:09; hard tail, mnt bike
- Joe Thomsen: DNF - Liberty Lake; Novara Element CX bike
- Mike and Diane: DNF - Liberty Lake; Novara Randonee (both)
- Mystery Ben: DNF - Liberty Lake; mystery bike
- Glen Copus: DNF - State line; Elephant CX
- Pat Sprute: 9:15; Elephant fat-tired road bike
- Eric Erickson: 9:15; LHT
- Mystery Dan: DNF - Spangle; mystery bike
- Mystery Dennis: DNF - Spangle; mystery bike
- Jake McBurns: 7:40; Voodoo Single Speed 29'er
- Justin Becker: ?; 1983 Specialized Expedition
- Jason Gilman: 8:24; Trek 7500 hybrid
- Mark K: DNF - Saltese and Barker
- Ron D: DNF - Redline Monocog

Unclear on whether the North Division Bike team (NDB) team finshed per route or with a route variation (by cutting out Sands/Bruna climb).
From Joseph:

"Our ride went fairly well, one rider had two flats, and even with the GPS we missed the Sands Rd. turn, and didn't figure it out until we were halfway up the other hill! We were pretty slow, but it was nice to have some daylight out in the Palouse."

With 5 riders, 2 flats, and a back track (assuming you didn't cut the Sands/Bruna climb), completing in 8:29 would be a great accomplishment -- not slow in my book. Can someone on the NDB team verify if you cut out the Sands/Bruna climb -- you would definitely know it if you did it.

- Barry NDB: 8:29; full sus bike
- Jayce NDB: 8:29; CX bike
- Greg NDB: 8:29; CX bike
- Jim NDB: 8:29; CX bike
- Kevin NDB: 8:29; CX bike
- Joe NDB: 8:39; Scott Sub 10 (Alfine hub, 32 mm tires)

Keep corrections coming. This will evolve into the unofficial Results.

Tom: I'm not sure where that "official 2008" map came from. Maybe the fellow that helped me with the MC site did it. But -- the last two years when the MC transitioned to dirt, it's started and ended at the Elk.

From Elk to Cent trial:
- Go east on Pacific, to transition to 1st Ave
- Take 1st Ave all the way through down town and go left on Bernard.
- Go under opera house breezeway to Cent Trail.

From FLT to Finish:
- Go to end of FLT at new trail head on Sunset/Gov't Way.
- Go east on Sunset Ave, over high bridge, to Cannon.
- Left on Cannon, to Elk.

Stuff that needs to get done for next year (anyone? anyone?):
- Create this route on Bikely, or other non-annoying map site that we can link to in MC.com.
- Create a Garmin route (with turns only, not an auto-generated route from a gpx file).
- Create a real cue sheet like Tom did. With real mileage markers and good notes.

I really like Tom's smiley faces. Maybe we can convince him to run out a couple different rip tags for next year at key spots on the route.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Midnight Century - preliminary results

Here's what I've learned so far.

In no order:

- Chad Nelson: 6:09; full sus mountain bike
- Alan Jacobs: 6:09; full sus mountain bike
- Tom McFadden: 6:09; hard tail, mnt bike
- Joe Thomsen: DNF - Liberty Lake; Novara Element CX bike
- Mike and Diane: DNF - Liberty Lake; Novara Randonee (both)
- Mystery Ben: DNF - Liberty Lake; mystery bike
- Glen Copus: DNF - State line; Elephant CX
- Pat Sprute: 9:15; Elephant fat-tired road bike
- Eric Erickson: 9:15; LHT
- Mystery Dan: DNF - Spangle; mystery bike
- Mystery Dennis: DNF - Spangle; mystery bike
- Jake McBurns: 7:40; Elephant CX
- Justin Becker: ?; 1983 Specialized Expedition
- Jason Gilman: 8:24; 90's UJB (Univega) Sport Tourer
- Mystery Man 1: 8:29; mystery bike
- Mystery Man 2: 8:29; mystery bike
- Mystery Man 3: 8:29; mystery bike
- Mystery Man 4: 8:29; mystery bike
- Mystery Man 5: 8:29; mystery bike

Mystery Man story from Jason Gilman:
"I made it back to People's Park at 8:24 this morning. There was a
group of about five guys (didn't catch their names) that came in about
5 minutes after me. They were faster than me, but kept taking breaks
after they passed me. I finally ended up in front of them for good
after they stopped for water on the Fish Lake Trail."

Sounds like a great ride. I was really sorry to miss this ride this year. I had an unavoidable obligation that turned out to be about as satisfying as riding 100 miles in the dark on dirt roads. So I'm not feeling as bad about missing it. And I was able to ride about 120 miles on Friday, so I didn't miss out on too much riding, though my 120 miles was super easy and leisurely and lovely.

Pat's great ride up is here.

If you have pictures or more info on riders (it would be great to fill in the mystery names and remaining times), or if your time/name is wrong, just comment here or send me an email. The goal is to get the results as close as we can for the midnightcentury.com results page.

The goal for 2011 is to standardize a route. Just to make sure we're starting and ending at the Elk -- and making sure we have a breakfast scenario at the end. That's been my favorite part in the past.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Heading north

If you ride the MC tomorrow nite, plz send me a ride report. Include names, finish times, and DNF'ers of the riders you meet.
I'll compile and post on the MC site.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bikes and ice cream

Ryan set up a P2P free bike tune-up in Liberty Park. Kids that got their bikes tuned up got a scoop of Brain Freeze ice cream from the Scoop mobile unit.
We wanted to make sure we did an extra cool event in our new neighborhood. Free ice cream is a good way to make friends.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010


My buddy Ben Tobin just made my day by sending this to me.

The world can be such a fucked up mess of anger and pain. To see all these righteous people doing this just for the sake of making people happy literally brings me to tears.

Girl's first pinch flat

I grew up in Nevada, land of the quarter-inch, bring-your-wheel-to-the-ground-in-60-seconds thorns. I know what a flat is. Oh boy do I know. In fact, the first bike maintenance thing I ever learned (and one of the few I know at all) was how to fix a flat.

Of course, when I pulled out my bike to head home this evening, and heard the telltale sound of flimsy rubber scraping across the floor, I found myself a little taken aback, "What, a flat?"

I guess I shouldn't have ridden to work this morning with a low tire.

Maybe I should have taken the extra 5 minutes to fill it up to the proper pressure.

If I'd done that, who knows, maybe that spot when you enter Riverfront Park from Howard - that driveway dip in the sidewalk you have to cross to get in - maybe it wouldn't have hit against my rim as I went over it.

And, it's possible that I wouldn't have then spent half an hour walking my bike back home, and another hour patching the tube.

You know, theoretically.

At least it was a gorgeous night for a walk.
And, my bike really needed a bath too.

Hopefully my near future sees a new frame pump.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My new Elephant

The obligatory garage door photo. Similar to the brickwallers for band promo shots

Here's a pile o super high-rez pics. Click any of them to enhonkin.

So far I've ridden it about 60 miles and it's everything I was hoping it would be.

I still have a few tweaks to make. I've swapped out the crankset/bottom bracket since I took these photos yesterday. I need to put another stay on the fender. And I need a new rear cassette. Anyone have a nice 8spd XTR 12-30 or so they want to unload? This one is toast.

Other than that, this bike is ready to ride. I'll take the long, mostly dirt way up up to Kettle Falls on Friday to give it a full shake down. I'll probably make those tiny saddle/bar adjustments that you can only detect after 50 miles or so on that ride.

I dig the color. Officially, it's "International Orange," but really, it's XO1 orange, which is the king of all bike colors. I left the color up to Glen. He then told the powdercoater to use one of 3 colors: optimizing for quick turn around time. The other colors were Pat Red and super yellow. I'd like either of those too, but this orange is pretty ruley. Especially with the bling logos.
Generally speaking, I really don't care much about the color -- and if I had any request, it would be sparkles, but sparkles aren't as sparkly in powdercoat as they are in wet paint, and I'm a powdercoat lover. BUT, I dig this orange.

Glen also has a proper headbadge on the way. Which is why there's a big blank spot on the headtube.

Logo on downtube

Chain hanger

Crazy rad chainstay work. Clearance for Hetres with fenders. Take off the fenders and you can put Quasi-motos in there for more serious dirt touring.

Dig the bi-plane mono seat stay. So cool. I also like the cable hanger. And the fancy-ass adjuster barrel.

Wiring. Wiring. Crazy man. Above and beyond. Exceeded expectations. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

This is an Alex rack. Cyo light. Wired to LED rear.

The wire runs down the DT, through the bottom bracket and out the left chainstay. According to Glen, the light mount is a prototype. He'll have a fancier one coming. Not sure what to expect there. This looks fine to me. But I'm curious.

Another pump peg. The idea is for mounting with the knobbies, so the bike is easier to shoulder when in "dirt" mode. Cool.

Glen made the fork crown. It's beefy and rad and suits me well.

Yep. That's internal wiring through the fork. Word.

Some crazy Italian tubing. 858. Standard.
So, we started this with a drawing from Alex. The basic design is the same as the Gifford.
I dig how Glen made it his own and really focused on the details. There's an externally reinforced seat tube because he knows how I ride. Against his aesthetic judgement he went with me on 1 1/8" steerer -- he was worried that it would weird against the standard diameter tubing, but it came out great. He sacked the first attempt at the chainstays because they weren't perfect. He added little carve out frillery at the headtube. He did a little Bontrager fillet trick at the chainstay/bottom bracket junction. He probably did a bunch of stuff I'll never know or appreciate.
I look forward to riding this bike for a long long time. Hopefully it will fit Maddie some day.

Monday, August 2, 2010


more to come

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Sunday, August 1, 2010


Self portrait

Before I can carry on about this, I need to wrap up the Alaska trip.

I don't know if I'll have an all up post to summarize the Alaska trip. Doing a proper one would take forever. So not doing one might be the answer.

All of the posts I did while I was in Alaska were taken with my phone. But I have 200+ photos that I took with my camera.

Here are a few bikey ones.

Not an obvious bikey pic. But it is a bikey pic.

Oh yeah. And to summarize the Alaska trip: it was rad. Beautiful. Amazing. Family pics taken by phone here.