Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Of bicycles & cameras, cycling & photography

One of my fixed gear bicycles (I have 2)

My other great love is cycling, if you'd not noticed. I try and spend as many hours in the saddle as possible (although never as much as I'd like). My vacations are usually organised around doing something on 2 wheels. As i went out yesterday afternoon it struck me that cycling is a lot like photography and bicycles are a lot like cameras in a way.
Just as much gear envy and technical discussion occurs amongst cyclist about bikes as does talk of cameras amongst photographers. There is always something newer, better that is going to make one improve. I own a lot more bicycles than I do cameras (although each has an intended purpose).

I could go on for some time as to how a bicycle frame compares to a camera lens in the way it defines the characteristics of the results. I won't. there are also different types of bicycle suited to different tasks or personalities. The fixed gear I rode yesterday (pictured) is like a large format camera - the very simplest essence of the device demanding total commitment to the process (if the wheels go round so do the pedals, so you can't stop pedalling a fixie).

That all said, there is a truism in cycling: it's nothing to do with the bike, it's all about the engine. Give me a Cervelo P3 and I will not be beating Fabian Cancellara any time soon, just as a Leica will not make me Cartier-Bresson.

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