What do pictures paint?

Words allegedly. Many of them. Yeah about that.  Let’s kick off with some honesty. Appreciate this challenges the norms of this blog, but just trying to keep things fresh.  When film was king, the shutter release demanded some respect. 36 images represented a couple of pints and a week of waiting for the postie*.

Now it’s spray and pray. Well just spray and post really. The photographers art has been mostly lost to a signal to noise ratio long on notoriary and short on quality.  Honest admission number one: I’ve been the noise to that professionals signal. Too many taken not enough deleted. Relied too much of photoshop. Seb’s – www.cranked.cc – words ring loud in my head. Composition not compensation.

Here’s number two. I’m mostly done with writing about riding bikes. Fuck me I’ve mined that seam well beyond exhaustion. There is so much more riding behind me that before me. That’s just bloody depressing. So as a muse it’s suffused with melancholy and pity. No one wants to read that flowery-wank. Not even me.

But we’re not dead yet and I’m giving Dylan a beery hug when he tells me we must fight the dying of the light. Fight yes, write no.  Back to those flickering images. A moment catching something special; golden hour light, snatched facial expressions, sustained bravery, momentary pratfalls, ride-end tiredness, glorious companionship. All this and so much more.

Casting aside planetary orbits charting 53 years of my wizened fizage, let’s move right to the the good stuff. It’s been a strange year. Dreadful in so many ways but life affirming in others. Dragging the focus back to my tribe and the stuff adjustable in my purview, there have been many fantastic moments.

Time to stop talking.

Heading out after a day of Zoom calls.

Solo riding in the bluebells.

Crappy Selfies during lockdown

Riding past our favourite pub. Closed for four months.

From driving every day to working at home with help from pets.

Back to riding with mates. A video still of my good mate Martin.

Riding with the offspring

Back in the room! H enjoys Wales being opened.

Wales doing its big sky things. What a day that was.

The pubs open. Dave and I make haste.

The Saracens head reopens – rejoice!

Riding with Seb in the mendips. Good times.

12 years old. Big dog bossing the lawn.

Riding with Jess. The best of times.

Walking the Pembrokeshire coastal path with Carol.

Travelling with the family, not for work.

Riding my favourite trails with my favourite bunch of idiots.

Adequately distanced, relatively relaxed 😉

So what does this tell us? That I missed my friends but remembered my family. That Inbox Zero ended up as Inbox Zero Interest.  That however down you may feel, you must always look up. That loving what you can do is a fuck load more productive than lamenting what you cannot**

What else? I dunno. There’s likely some crappy metaphor peripherally linking riding bikes with more important things.  That doesn’t feel right. It’s not one or the other. Multifaceted problems are not solved through the power of a pedal revolution. You may feel better, but the real world is oblivious to that. It’ll drag you right back in.

All is not lost. Bikes have a superpower. They are binary. There is no nuance. No degrees. No strategy. They drop you in the moment and you can grab that by the balls or walk the excuses line. Either is a simplification, a choice, a moment in time. One of those 36 exposures.

I’ll never stop loving it for that.  The world feels a pretty scary place right now. But in two pedal strokes that’s someone elses problem. Let’s go ride into those pictures. The words can wait. But I won’t be.

* followed by disappointment. Flicking through – shit, rubbish, crap, over-exposed, under-exposed, oh and a random picture of a strangers arse.

**my mum is 88 and not having a great time. This is her advice. It’s definitely something to live by.

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