One of the reasons I’m excited about taking up cycling again is to do with the views.
As a professional photographer, I always have some form of camera with me – even if it’s just my phone. And when we first discovered the voies vertes I was struck by how they represent a major photographic obsession of mine – the marks that humankind leaves in the landscape.
I have a number of related photographic projects on this theme, pulled together under the umbrella title of The Layered Land, for which I’ve just started a new blog. Eventually, these projects will become books and exhibitions.
The voies vertes are such a powerful example of how we manipulate the landscape, but in a way that it also controls us, that I’ve created an entire sub-project that will be home to pictures of the greenways and the views seen from them.
Cycling is perfect photography for photography. You can cover more ground than you can on foot, seeking out the next image, getting to where you need to be before the light fades. But unlike a car, you are in the landscape, experiencing it directly, intimately, not inured in some metal box.
I’ve yet to determine the best way to carry my kit. I’ve just bought Carradice Carradura panniers, which look excellent (a full review will follow when I’ve put them through their paces properly). But I’m also looking at a front basket or bag. And that’s because it’s important to be able to react quickly.
Cycling, then, is feeding two of my obsessions. I love the sense of freedom you get from flying down a road on a bike. And with a camera on board, I can indulge my fascination with the landscape.