“New & Improved” … Always Better?


I really need to find a new ride. I’ve been doing the same ride for about a year now. Today I wanted a change, but didn’t want to load my bike into my car and drive to the ART (American River Trail) in Sacramento, so I did my 40 mile ride with the center loop in reverse. It’s amazing what a difference that can make! It was invigorating to see a different perspective.

Winters Bike Bridge

Today was a beautiful day for a ride, but not a great day for photos. I bought a new camera in the past few months and I am not that thrilled with it. It’s a Canon PowerShot SX150IS. My first digital camera was the Canon PowerShot SX 120IS, the earlier model, and I loved it. It took pretty consistently great photos. It was not a great nighttime camera, but, certainly better than this new one. The new one is supposed to be so much better – 12x optical zoom vs. 10x, 14.1 megapixels vs. 10.0, and it’s supposed to have a processor that will handle the 14.1 MP. I’ve found that every once in a while (maybe 10% of the time) this new camera will take a great photo, but for the most part, they’re not in focus, the macro doesn’t work as well, the aperture does not open as wide, and blah blah blah. It’s not worth the extra $50 I spent on it, and I don’t use it as much because it is pretty frustrating to take so many crappy pictures. Just goes to show you that “new and improved” is not always better.

However, sometimes “new and improved” can be better. For months, the town of Winters (or County of Solano ?) worked on the “new and improved” Putah Creek where it runs through town, under the cycling bridge. They dammed it and restricted the water through a pipeline for months. They reworked the bottom, sides, and bank. Over the past year, I have stopped to chat with other cyclists, locals, and others who were on the bridge watching the work. One man told me that “the people of Winters are very excited for this!” People say it is “new and improved” and “like nature intended” or “how it used to be before people screwed it up.” People have also said that it was necessary to prevent flooding in Winters. After many months of moving dirt, etc., there is a distinct bank, and the water is restricted to a narrow stream under the bridge.

I had only known Putah Creek to take up most of this area, and to not have much of a bank at all. I think it will look better after the grass starts to grow. One thing I have noticed, though, is that I have yet to see any evidence of any life (fish, otters, beavers, etc..) in the water again. I guess it will take time, and at some point the Creek will be stocked with trout, bass, and whatever else is considered appropriate. I used to see otters in this part of the Creek, but have not seen any lately. Poor little things were pretty displaced for months. I assume they’ll eventually come back, or new ones will move in.

Time will tell if this “new and improved” version really is better. I’m pretty optimistic about it. The creek does open up again after this narrow portion, just past the curve on the second picture, and it does look good. They’ve put in an island, which is pretty cute. It’s pretty tall and straight-sided, so I’m not sure how anyone will get to the top, but I’m sure someone will figure it out. It will be interesting to see how all of this changes over the course of the next few months when the rains start. Hopefully they’ll be starting soon. This coming year, I’d like to request rain during the week (M-F) and nice weather on Saturday and Sunday so I can get some good training rides in. LOL! If only it was that easy!

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