Announcing our Monthly Bike Porn Competition!

This morning, I had a shoot scheduled in which I was going to photograph someone on his typical morning commute. While I was waiting for him to show on the east side Oak Leaf Trail, I got to watch people pedal past me on their way to work. I heard the familiar buzzzz of studded tires on asphalt.  I saw people with googles; people commuting on old bikes, on new bikes, and even on fatbikes. Seeing how different people tweaked their rides gave me the idea that it might be fun for people to share photos and specs of their commuter bikes.

 

Submit a photo of you and your bike doing what you do best together. Women commuting on fatbikes with fenders and racks, how cool!

 

There are no rules here, just email me a jpg of your bike. It can be just a shot of your bike leaning against the wall or a shot of you riding your bike. In the email, please do include the salient details about your bike: brand, model, any upgrades you made, what you like most about the bike, etc. A few sentences is all I need, but feel free to write more if you want. I will run the photo with the specs in a blog post. Kind of like an online bike show, I think it is always fun to look at other people’s rides.

Below are some sample photos here that I have taken to inspire you, but please, do your own thing!

 

Submit a stand alone beauty shot of your bike, an obvious way to show off your ride.

Submit a portrait of you and your bike, like Santa Sanchez with his tricked out Schwinn. Check out that chain guard!

 

Proud of your latest haul? Submit a photo like this one of Steven and the Breakaway Bicycle Couriers Bullitt loaded with 300 t-shirts outside our Milwaukee office on Pierce Street.

Submit a photo of your velo-fashion do: The shoes should always match the bag!

To make it a little more fun, each month I will draw a random winner from those who submitted photos and mail them some cool Bike Fed swag. Maybe you will get one of our hot new Bike Wisconsin T-shirts, maybe socks, maybe a mug, who knows? We might even have some cool stuff from one of our great Wisconsin bike industry sponsors. I will let each winner know and make sure you get the right size shirt or whatever.

Sound fun? So warm up your megapixels and help the Bike Fed spice up our blog with photos of your bike!

Email your photos and description of your bike to me at: dave.schlabowske@wisconsinbikefed.org

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 11 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave lives with his wife Liz and daughter Frankie in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's west side.

5 thoughts on “Announcing our Monthly Bike Porn Competition!

  1. Great idea and some great photos. However, I would like to ask you to quit publishing photos of cyclists riding without helmets. I know that choosing to ride unsafely is a personal choice but I would hope that Bike Fed would not support such a practice by publishing photos of naked-headed cyclists. Thanks for everything you do for cyclists!

    • Hey Randy,

      I appreciate the thoughts behind your suggestion, but there are a number of reasons we publish photographs of people riding bicycles without helmets. The first reason is that if I could only shoot pictures of people riding with helmets, I would not be able to take many photographs. In urban areas, like Milwaukee where I live, where riding a bike is safer than driving a car, many (most?) people don’t wear helmets. While that is one practical reason, there are other conscious reasons why we publish photos of people riding without helmets. This blog post explains that theory as eloquently as I am able:
      http://bfw.org/2010/06/23/scardey-cats-and-supermodels-should-ride-bikes/

      This post discusses the relative safety of riding a bike compared to driving a car, walking down stairs, etc. http://bfw.org/2011/08/03/fear-mongers-be-gone-riding-a-bike-is-safe/

      Finally, this post discusses how it could be true that a 5-year study of all bicycle crashes and hospital records done by the Michigan DOT that determined no statistical difference between the rate of fatal and serious head injuries for people with helmets and without. http://bfw.org/2010/12/23/more-data-on-helmets/

      Despite all this data, there is a pervasive attitude in the US that ignores actuarial science and all the safety statistics that point to motor vehicles as the most dangerous way to travel. For some reason people have been convinced that riding a bicycle is dangerous, when virtually every statistic says it is not.

      If anyone asks me, I always tell them their head is better protected in a helmet, no matter what vehicle they are driving, a car, bike or motorcycle. Remember, in all safe cycling classes the Bike Fed teaches to adults and children, we require participants to wear helmets, but in the end we are a organization that promotes cycling, not helmets. In places where LOTS of people ride bicycles, like Copenhagen, Denmark, China, and even cities in the US like Portland, Boulder, Davis, Madison and even Milwaukee, it has been proven that the crash rate goes down as the number of people riding bicycles goes up. In the end, the more people we can get on bicycles, helmets or not, the safer it is for all of us to ride.

      Please take the time to read those blog posts I linked above. We take this issue seriously and welcome your thoughts on it in the comment sections.

      Thanks for reading, writing and (of course) riding :)

  2. Hi Dave,

    I read your links about bicycle safety and helmets with great interest and I have mixed feelings about this. I truly appreciate your position:

    But it is not my personal hope or professional goal to get more people wearing helmets. I want to get more people riding bicycles because I believe it will create a happier, healthier, economically stronger, more vibrant and livable city.

    I’ve also had long discussions about the effectiveness of helmets with people in many countries – both from the perspective of safety and bicycle advocacy. Some folks in other countries think Americans are downright silly regarding helmet wearing. I’ve been cycling as an adult for over 40 years and recall going over the Bear Tooth Pass into Yellowstone without a helmet – but that was 30 years ago.

    I’ve done all kinds of cycling in the US and abroad and continue to cycle 3 to 4 thousand miles a year. Unfortunately, I’ve been witness to some pretty nasty bike spills that didn’t have anything to do with automobiles where head injuries resulted – or not. Seeing cracked helmets with no serious head injury has made me a believer in wearing a helmet. I always suggest wearing a helmet but would never advocate mandatory helmet laws for the reasons you put forth.

    Again, I truly appreciate your comments about the relative safety of bicycles versus other ways to suffer injury and the general health benefits of cycling. However, I also frequently experience very scary encounters with motor vehicles and do believe that many public roads present significant danger (or serious mental discomfort) for bicyclists. And, there are a fair number of hostile motorists who deliberately delight in harassing cyclists.

    You have published some excellent articles about how to ride safely in traffic – I’ve linked some of them on my website. I think we should be very realistic about both the benefits and downsides to cycling and above all to promote the idea of learning how to cycle as safely as possible. In a better world, every community would offer well publicized, highly accessible, bicycle training courses. Much of the criticism of cyclists by motorists comes from lack of understanding by both parties. I’m not sure how this will play out over the coming years. Clearly, the planet and public health would benefit dramatically from a significant increase in bicycle transportation versus motor vehicle transportation. But, we live in a car culture that dominates almost everything and change will be difficult. I greatly admire your efforts and the work of the WI Bike Fed to effect change. Please keep up the good work!

    • Dave,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment and for all you have done and continue to do to help to make Wisconsin a better place to ride a bike. While I have spent a decade and a half working in bicycle safety, as an advocate for better facilities, as a League Certified Instructor teaching bike safety, and as a City planner who studied crashes and crash statistics and then designed and had constructed road facilities to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, I still have some internal hesitation when it comes to my stance on helmets. The helmet thing is just not cut and dry.

      Yes, I am sure of my facts in that bicycling remains one of the healthiest and safest methods of transportation and recreation in Wisconsin. Yes, I am sure that from a safety, economic and quality of life perspective, the best use of my time as an advocate is to promote bicycling – to get more butts on bikes. Yes, I am sure that scare tactics and a blitzkrieg of safety warnings to people who ride bikes will discourage more people from riding than it will encourage to ride more safely.

      All that said, the bottom line is a person’s head is better protected inside a bike helmet. I often don’t wear a helmet when I ride in the City, neither does my wife or my 16-year-old daughter. I am more inclined to want her to wear one when she drives our car. But I ALWAYS wear a helmet on group training rides, when I ride in the suburbs or on rural roads where the speed of cars is much higher, and on mtb rides. So how do I get that complicated message clearly understood by the general bike riding public? Most people don’t read my blog, many people don’t read anything longer than a headline or billboard. The simplest way to cover all the bases would be to just always wear a helmet, always tell others to do so, and never show photos of the vast number of people who ride without helmets.

      But that just doesn’t sit well with me as a safety professional or as an advocate who really wants to change the perception that riding a bike is more dangerous than driving a car. I know it is safer by almost every statistic and actuarial study. That is the message I think we need to get out there, and at the same time improve the convenience of the bike riding experience by providing a more complete network of facilities the majority of people feel comfortable riding on (protected bike lanes and trails). I firmly believe that based on all evidence in the US and abroad, that is the way to a brighter, safer future filled with hundreds of thousands more people who choose to get on a bike and ride somewhere in our great state.

      Thanks for understanding, and for thinking about this issue with the same care that I do. And as always, thanks for writing, reading and riding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>