Sunday, March 30, 2008

Top Ten tips for road bike photography

I've been without my road bike for about a week now. In its absence, I've been looking at photos that others have taken of their own bikes. After looking at literally hundreds of bicycle photos, I started to see a few recurring themes. Here are ten tips for taking some really great photos of your skinny-tired pride and joy:

10) All photographs of your road bike must be of the right side so that the crank, chain and derailleurs can be seen in all their glory. This is especially important if you have Shimano Dura-Ace, SRAM Red or Campagnolo Record components.

9) It is preferred that your cranks be turned so that they are parallel with the chainstay, with the drive-side crank and pedal extending toward the front, or parallel with the seat tube extending downward. This rule may only be broken in certain situations.

8) Your bike must be in the highest gear possible. Use the smallest cog in the back and the big chainring. The world needs to know that you are strong and never need to use any gear aside from 54x11.

So far, it looks like this bike's owner has got it made. He even meets some of the other criteria mentioned later on. But he fails miserably at the next one.

7) Your bike must be leaning against a white garage door. Off-white is sometimes acceptable, but anything else is not. If you have a garage, it is your obligation as a road cyclist to paint the door white so that you can take proper photographs of your bicycle.

6) If, like me, you do not have a garage, you must find the most bizarre location possible, and you must prop the bike up by leaning the left pedal against a brick, pole, or some other device capable of holding the bicycle upright with the pedal and two wheels acting as a tripod. Simply leaning your bike against some random wall for a photo is forbidden and punishable by making fun of you at Starbucks. It is often easier (and recommended) to find someone else's white garage door for your photo-op.

5) There should be some part of a car visible in your bicycle photo. It's preferred that this is a luxury or performance car of some sort. Lexus and Mercedes models are very popular cars to include in a bicycle photo, as are Corvettes, WRX's and Evo's. Failing that, it seems that a Mini Cooper or speedboat are acceptable substitutes.

4) SPD-R, Speedplay and Look Keo are the only acceptable pedals for a road bike that's being photographed. Plain old SPDs or Time Atacs will get you laughed at. Platforms or toe clips might get you caned with a frame pump at your next group ride.

3) Your tire valves must both be pointing the same direction. Straight up or straight down seem to be the trend.

2) Carbon bottle cages or no bottle cages. Make no exceptions.

1) It should go without saying that your bicycle should be perfectly clean with absolutely no signs of use or wear whatsoever. Some people still don't get it and insist on posting photographs where the bar tape is dirty or -- heaven forbid -- scuffed! These bikes have obviously been ridden and are not worthy of being photographed.

At least this guy got 1 and 2 right.

Oddly enough, I couldn't find THE PERFECT road bike photo where the photographer took all ten tips into consideration.


Dan said...

I think that almost every picture I've posted of my bike shows it facing the wrong way. Plus, I break most of the other rules.

I suck!

(Funny post)

Noah said...

I break a lot of rules as well. But sometimes I show off my sweet Ford Focus. hahaha.

Unknown said...

I take it that for Mountain Bikes everything needs to be done exacctly the opposite?

Anonymous said...

Lol...came across this post of yours while searching for bike pictures. Very interesting and funny tips! :)

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