Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sport of the moment in Ethiopia

While watching "An African journey with Jonathan Dimbleby" on June 6th on BBC 2, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that speed cycling is the fastest growing sport in Ethiopia! Dimbleby, who has been traveling for the BBC to Africa the last 40 years, reported on a local bicycle race.

The bicycles used were not the most fancy or state of the art and the roads not as polished as to be desired, but the amazing enthusiasm of the riders made up for that. Suddenly realizing that the majority of color variation in the "Giro" or the "Tour de France" comes from the shirts, it made me hope for these guys to come shake things up over here.

The Fact that the race in Dimbleby's documentary was won by an Ethiopian woman, who seemed as fresh as may morning dew after the 50 km's in shattering heath, made it all the more exciting.

After looking a bit further it came to my attention that Ethiopia already had a cyclist present at the Olympics as early as 1956; Mr. Geremew Demboba.


Dutch photographer Chris Keulen published the book: ‘Hete Glassplinters; Le Tour d’Afrique’ on African speed cycling in 2008, For five years, he photographed the African bike-racing routes in Senegal, Cameroon, Eritrea and twice in Burkina Faso. For his photo feature taken in Burkina Faso he received the World Press Photo Award. you can see some of it here.

© Chris Keulen 2008

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Wooing over Winogrand

Garry Winogrand, American, 1928–1984 Untitled (Barefoot woman riding bicycle), c. 1975 Gelatin silver print 33.3 x 22.2 cm

When thinking about photo's and images to fill this blog I try to look for ones that speak to me on more than one level, that somehow seem significant to me. I never believe that a whim, how eccentric it may be, is unique. Therefore it seems logical that a passion for something as trivial as bicycles must be shared by a considerable amount of people.

With this in mind I also look for photographs by my favorite photographers that have the bicycle as a subject. When they then appear to have made a bicycle photograph that is the epitome of what I am looking for my heart makes a little jump.

Just like when I found this photo by Garry Winogrand today.

through the The Art Institute of Chicago

Monday, 25 October 2010

'Wheels Of Shanghai' by Valentijn Brandt

The Series 'Wheels Of Shanghai' by Dutch photographer Valentijn Brandt shows the incredible diversity of two-wheeled transport in Shanghai. Strictly spoken they are not all bicycles, but that does not demise the feeling of wonder one can have with some of the portrayed travelers.

As Valentijn projects once again shows, riding on two wheels does not only enjoy immense popularity in my own country the Netherlands. However, although China seems to be one of the fastest developing economies in the world, two-wheeled transportation mainly thanks it street-domination to being a cheaper and therefore more accessible alternative to 4 wheels.

Let's hope cycling continues to stay popular also after cars have become generally affordable, for aesthetic and environmental reasons. Too many people in Valentijn's photographs are wearing protective mouth gear as it is.

For more of the series and other photography by Valentijn Brandt visit his website: