I like photography and I like cycling – and they go well together. When I’m out driving a car in the countryside, I often see a view that cries out to be photographed, but there’s nowhere to park. On the bike, I can stop just about anywhere. Because I’m not usually going too fast (except maybe downhill) I also have time to study the best angle for a view, and stop at just the right spot. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, and taking a few photos gives me a good excuse to stop and rest.
I have some foam taken out of a rigid camera case lining the bottom of a Carradice saddlebag – which is 30 years old and just getting nicely worn in. That makes a reasonable amount of padding for a camera. Usually, I’ll carry an Olympus XA, or even two of them loaded with different film stock. But medium format is certainly possible, with either a folder or a twin lens reflex. I sometimes carry a small tripod, which either fits inside the saddlebag or on top. I’ve not yet tried taking my Mamiya RZ67 on a cycling trip – that would be a bit much.
I wouldn’t claim that my best images have been made on cycling trips (see edit below) – perhaps because I have to take whatever lighting and weather there is at the time, and if I have to get home or to the next stop on a tour then I can’t wait too long for light and weather to change. But I do get some images which I consider to be interesting and give me a reminder of, hopefully, a good day out.
Here are a few images taken from two recent rides around Northumberland. They were all taken with an Olympus XA loaded with an expired roll of Fuji Superia 400 purchased for 98p in a supermarket, and all home developed with Digibase C41 chemicals in a Jobo CPE2 processor.
Edit – this is actually one of my favourite photos, which I have printed on the wall at home. It was taken on a cycle trip in the Tyne Valley, on a Yashicamat 124G. But I did have to leave the bike and walk through a field to find the right viewpoint – so not a pure cycling photo.