This is the first installment of an occasional series I plan to post. Over the years I have encountered several subjects that I especially enjoy photographing. Subjects that when I pass an interesting specimen, I usually stop to photograph it at all possible. This interest has created ongoing themes in my personal photography over the years – and in some cases decades.
One of these such themes is the subject of bicycles. I’ve enjoyed bicycles since I was very young. I had a sweet harvest-gold Schwinn Stingray as a kid in the 1970s. It had been a hand-me-down from an older cousin, but my dad put a new seat on it when I received it, and I rode it for years. It looked exactly like the rear-most bike in this picture from an old 1960s Schwinn catalog (and by the way, I didn’t have a big sister, but the house pictured here could have literally been my boyhood home – it’s very similar). That was the first of a few Schwinns, followed by a vintage Raleigh touring bike, and more recently some hybrid and mountain bikes.
I’ve also enjoyed maintaining bikes – I once dismantled my own mountain bike down to individual components and rebuilt it, and I didn’t even have to take it to the bike shop to fix my work(!), learning about rare brands and models, and finally, encountering interesting ones in the wild during my travels.
The second fine-art print I ever printed for a client was of a vintage Raleigh bicycle with a wicker basket, propped against a centuries-old stone wall next to an historic doorway in Cambridge, England. I captured this image with my trusty Pentax MX on Kodachrome 64 during my college days in the 1980s. I still have the slide, and I’ve been intending to pull my old Nikon CoolScan filmscanner out of retirement to scan that image, along with many others.
As I travel, I always keep my eye out for interesting or vintage bicycles in interesting locations, and I usually will stop to photograph them with whatever camera I have with me – I’m seldom without one of my Nikons or my Leica, but I’ve taken some decent bicycle photos with my iPhones over the years, as well. A number of them have done well as stock images or fine art prints.
So the few bicycle images I’ve included with this post and in the gallery below are photographs that I found on my laptop while thinking about this post. The first two are from summer 2017 Europe travel. The third was part of a commercial assignment package for a Midwest financial services company. The last two were just iPhone grab-shots of bikes that caught my interest as I was going about my day at different times. That said, the final photo in this gallery – yes, the dark out-of-focus one – was actually published in an Anheuser-Busch ad campaign for Rolling Rock beer.