Where's your favourite place to ride?
My favourite place to ride is at home. I'm lucky that I got to pick where I live, it's one of the biggest freedoms of doing what I do for a living. There were constraints, I need access to transport and where most of my work tends to be, but while most people look at my job and think of the travel or following a sport they love as the biggest deal, for me this is more important. How many people get the chance to really choose where they live? I got stuck living in Central London for a few years I was in a tiny, over-priced flat in Bow that I paid a kings ransom for each month. That was my idea of hell, I always felt trapped in London because I couldn't just go out and ride and get away from the city. I think that gave me a deep appreciation for the value of being able to roll out of my front door and leave the world behind. In some ways riding familiar trails and roads, seeing familiar sights, means you focus more on the act of riding itself too, which I think is where I take the most pleasure from riding. And because I got to choose where I live, well I wouldn't choose somewhere that was crap for riding...
What type of riding do you like to do the most?
I make my living shooting and writing about mountain bikes, but these days when I am left to my own devices it's the road bike I turn to most often. It's more of a mountain bikers' idea of road bike with a pretty long wheelbase and low BB, built up with 35c tyres, disc brakes and a short stem... But I love the simplicity of it, I find it is the easiest way to get off up into the mountains. I tend to do big col rides - my evening ride has about 1,500m of climbing over a 60km ride.
How do you discover a new route? Do you plan ahead with maps or just see where the road takes you?
I tend to ride in ever-expanding circles - I have climbs I know, then I vary how I string them together, adding new sections as I go as my fitness improves. I am very much a creature of habit, if I have a ride I like I will tend to repeat it until I find one I prefer, the switch to that. Where I am there isn't much along, it's mostly up or down, which slightly limits the horizons of the riding as one careless turn and you find yourself adding another 1,500m of climbing to your ride...
What equipment do you use to capture your ride?
For client work I have the high end Canon kit, a 1DX, a 5DmkIII for my remote camera and a bag of nice glass, but these days I rarely touch them between big jobs. I bought an Olympus EM-5 last year and it's been a revelation. I have a little Panasonic 20mm pancake lens that lives on the front of it and I love the setup. It's small enough to fit into the pouch of my Evoc riding pack and I really like the 40mm effective focal length, it just seems to suit my style. I also believe that spending time with such a limited setup helps you improve as a photographer - you have a limited range of ISO, no zoom to make the composition easier, no hyper-fast AF to catch every rider every time. You have to work for every one of your shots and I really like that, although I wouldn't ditch my main setup as there's no comparison between the two when it gets down to nut-cutting time.
What destination would be on your riding wish list?
There are too many places I would love to go and ride, Patagonia, Iceland, western Ireland, the mountains of Taiwan, Nepal, Iran... I just wish I had enough time to go and do a trip like that just for myself! With no clients, cameras or stress, but so far this year I have been on the road for 100 days and we're only just into August. That kind of schedule takes its toll, so what time I do have is going to be spent at home recovering and working on getting my fitness back up to where I want it.