My ride story on cycling around Great Missenden is in the current issue of Cycling Active magazine (The Dahling of the Chilterns, Cycling Active - January 2012).
The other photos featured in the article also look good too. So, with that in mind I thought I would put in a few memories of the day.
I arrived at Great Missenden train station feeling really good that I was going to do a shoot on a swish stylish new bike that my peers weren't riding. I had new cycling clothes, kindly sent to me by the cycling mag. I felt good in myself - and the sun was shining.
When I met Andy he told me straight away that my drop handlebars had been raised too high and it made my bike look stupid. He also said that one of the other writers had exactly the same bike and had been riding his for a few months. So I wasn't riding anything that original!
Like with other photo shoots, I had already recc'ed the area so I knew where to go for the shots. Our first spot was Great Missenden High Street, which had lovely quaint houses. When I had previously been there the road was nice and quiet - ideal for a country village shot. In fact on the day of the shoot it was not much worse than Piccadilly Circus! For a small high street there was alot going on. Even worse, it was the Friday of half-term school holidays and we were trying to get photos of the main attraction - the Roald Dahl museum.
Loads of kids were out with their parents going to visit the museum or its cafe. Some people politely stopped to allow Andy to take the shot of the building, but then a delivery van or a 4 x 4 or an Audi driven by a lady who lunches would pass by so everything was scuppered.
To get the shot I needed to wait, parked on my bike some distance from the cafe ready to quickly ride by and be photographed riding in front of the museum when the road is clear.
The folks who only saw me but not Andy must have thought I was a bit odd, just waiting on a bike in anticipation of something that wasn't actually apparent.
The folks who only saw Andy must have thought he was even odder. A bloke with 2 large cameras hanging from his neck, loitering around opposite a kid's venue! I assumed he had his explanation properly lined up if a police officer came along!
A man in one of the nearby shops came out and started chatting to Andy about photography. Andy, naturally very into his subject, talked quite knowledgably and enthusiastically and it was quickly apparent that the bloke didn't know much at all about this art. After a short while the man went back to his business. I guess he was just sussing out Andy, and the "conversation on photography" had been a pretext.
We finally got our pictures, thankfully without needing too many takes, and we moved on to the next part of the route.
Along many of the roads around Great Missenden are large "No HS2" posters giving out different messages of protestation to the Government. In case you don't know, plans are underway to route a high speed railway line from London to Birmingham straight through the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Andy did take some great shots of the area and the beauty of the Chilterns certainly comes out in the feature. So if you look at the article, look hard at the pictures and enjoy them - who knows how much longer this will exist....
One of the conundrums of doing a shoot off-road is that you want to look stylish and neat on your bike in the photos, but in reality people don't look so well manicured when off road - especially when riding through muddy trails!
On a shoot with Andy we often just take photos in one area, dismantle the bike, put it in Andy's car and then drive to the next place. On this ride, I didn't think it was worth going through that palava just to drive relatively short distances so I rode to the different areas and arranged to meet Andy at the given spots.
Embarrassingly, in my wisdom I took one off-road trail that I thought would be a nice short cut. The trails we had been on that day were clear and dry. Sadly, this one wasn't. I got caught up in lots of brambles, it was extremely muddy and in parts the trail was too steep for me to ride. I ended up walking through the muddy trails and getting my hands cut on the brambles. When I met Andy in the next village my legs and shoes were all muddy and I was covered in catkins!
Also, the lovely new bike was not looking so swish and stylish anymore! This probably didn't impact on the shoot for this particular feature as we were at the end of the first session. The problem was the photos taken during the afternoon session were for another story that would be predominantly on road. So that won't look so good! Hopefully the picture editors will be able to salvage something decent. All the fun of a photo shoot!
Photos by Andy Jones