about mountain bike photography and the look of the trail: a rant

Beatiful photos here: http://nsmb.com/3326-dorado-tested/.

They convey an intense idea of action with those blurred backgrounds and the rider not quite in focus above the panned trails; I also like the tight shots and the washed-out colour palette.

And speaking about the ‘look’ of these images, I couldn’t help but noticing what the rider was wearing: mean-looking full-face helmet and menacing dark goggles, a simple t-shirt, shorts and the diminuitive 661 knee-pads. And I remember similar photos of a british competitor to the Mega-avalanche (Dirt #79, September 2008): old shirt, shorts and a pair of mud-encrusted skate shoes.

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In Italy we have a long standing tradition of road bikers and their closely related cross-country riders, which flock in the weekend invading roads and trails wearing tight lycra uniforms. Then we have the new breed, the wannabe downhillers/freeriders, which you would expect to bring some fresh air in the biking community. So you would expect a certain disdain for race jackets & sponsored shirts; yet what you mostly see is just another variation on the theme: shiny Dainese jerseys with matching shorts, trying hard replicate the look of professional downhillers even if they will never go into a competition. So I ask you: are they really so different from their crosscountry cousins?

That’s italian style for you, we are those guys who enjoy wearing uniforms; at work, at play; even if people from all over the world tend to adulate italians because they are so fashionable what we really do is to imitate and to conform.

I recently went to San Francisco and I was amazed at the number of fixed-gear bikes, and their riders — I admit, they were pretty cool with that fixie-casual look.

The Mission: bikes

The other day I was riding in Milan and I saw a group of six people riding their new fixies, they were all different because everyone had a markedly different colour-match for their bikes and yet they were all shockingly similar: all of them with the stupid narrow handlebars, tight jeans, I also bet they had similar tattoo patterns under their shirts. They were trying so hard to be identified as the “other city-dwellers”, those who do not wear suits, Pradas or stillettos but at the end of the day they are just another boring part of the city landscape, all fundamentally similar to one another, all following another stupid fashion idea; monkeys pretending to be lions.

Still, at least they ride bycicles instead of driving gas-guzzling SUVs. And that’s a good thing.

Enough with the antisocial rants, next time I’ll post something about my current biking activity (training on a fixie and racing in my team’s uniform).

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