Love and the Bicycle

This weekend I shot engagement portraits of my great friends Melissa and Chanh. Although I had never done anything like this before, I gave it a try because they had no plans to get professional portraits made.

They happen to be the cutest and most fun couple ever, so my job was pretty easy.  (I only wish my camera and lens were more sophisticated, but that’s money, honey.)

Melissa started bike commuting a year ago and is still going strong. She is trying to get Chanh to ride more – recently he bought a new bike and by force rode with us to the bar last night.  She is very convincing ;)

I think if one person in a relationship rides a lot, eventually the other person has to start. Anyone else out there working on convincing a partner to ride more?

And aren’t Melissa and Chanh the cutest?!


37 thoughts on “Love and the Bicycle

  1. LC says:

    soooo cute :) that’s what happened with me! PB’s love and passion for cycling finally rubbed off on me about two years ago, and with his support and encouragement I embraced cycling in our busy city… never looked back! now I feel I miss a limb when I’m without my Pashely eheh!

    cycle ♥

  2. Carolyn I. says:

    You take nice shots! Beautiful couple. I’ve taken photos for a few weddings…lots of work, but also lots of fun.

  3. Amy says:

    Fun photos! I recently did the same for a friends wedding. They didn’t have money to hire a photographer (since He’s whisking Her away to England!), so I offered to do it as a wedding gift. Lot’s of fun. :)

    My husband NEVER LEARNED HOW to ride a bike. He’s kinda interested in building a recumbent trike, but I don’t know if he’ll ever want to learn to ride a bicycle. I am discovering though, that if I don’t ever bring it up, and continue on riding and having a good time, I catch him looking at Helena and sometimes asking questions, and once he even SAT ON HER when I was getting him to help me with something. So maybe there is a little glimmer of hope there. :)

  4. Ed L. says:

    Great photos. The last shot could be a promo shot for a pro wedding photog.

    My wife is an avid runner and I am an avid all-season commuter and long-distance cyclist. She has tried to make me a runner, I have tried and make her a cyclist – both with minimal success. We both participate in shorter events of the other’s sport/hobby – I have done some 5Ks, group runs and one 10K, she has done Bike the Drive and has an Electra dutch-style cruiser with which we can go on shorter rides together and that she does some errand running with in the nicer weather months. She recently has been talking about training for a triathlon, though – which will mean a faster bike and more time riding – so maybe there is hope to coax her more fully over into my camp.

    (Which would be great, because I still don’t like running very much. ;)

  5. Nicola says:

    My new bike is due to arrive in two weeks’ time, and both me and my boyfriend can’t wait to go on bike rides together. He hasn’t really ridden since he got a car, but I think my enthusiasm for my new bike is infectious, and I have promised him picnics.

    Lovely pictures, shame you couldn’t have snuck a bike in there. ;)

  6. my boyf was the one who convinced *me* a little over two years ago!
    haven’t looked back since…who was that girl who didn’t own her own bike??!!
    the younger, uncooler me. ;)

  7. Melissa S. says:

    You are a great photographer Dot! We had so much fun.
    Chanh is getting a lot better with riding. He used to refuse to ride….and now we take leisure rides about once a week. I hint to him to use his bike for errands (“maybe you should ride to the store, dear”) but he’s not there yet.
    However, he’s a big runner and he can really feel an improvement in his running after we’ve gone on our rides. So I feel confident that he’ll increase his riding eventually.

  8. Maria says:

    Those are really great photos. You can tell there was lots of laughter! My husband is an avid cyclist who can’t cycle much anymore due to serious back issues. Poor dude is broken. He can and does ride around town with me and the kids but can’t do long road rides with me. We just have to stop a lot for him to bend and stretch and crick and crack.

  9. Stephie B. says:

    Hi Dottie,
    I just ran across your blog due to the article in the Sun Times. I was a leisure biker last summer, and I am going to try the biking to work thing this summer. Gonna build up with a few days a week to start, as my ride is 10 miles one way. Looking forward to participating in your “Summer Games.” Love the blog!

    BTW – coming from a wedding photographer, you did a great job on your friends’ engagement photos.

    • Dottie says:

      Hi Stephie, Happy to hear that you found my blog via the Sun Times article. Good luck with the commute. Starting a few days a week for 10 miles sounds like a plan. Feel free to ask any questions. And thank you for the compliment – means a lot coming from a professional wedding photographer :)

  10. calitexican says:

    haha, funny you should mention that about bike riding…i was dating someone who wasn’t that into bikes, and now we’re not dating anymore. i don’t think that’s entirely a coincidence, although of course there were other factors at play.

    it also goes for friends too. it’s just easier to hang out with people who ride because there’s no question about how we are getting there, except maybe different routes or something. i see my non-bikey friends not as often as i once did. sad, but not terribly…

  11. Tinker says:

    Just want to say I think Melisa could talk me into pretty much anything, who could resist? Chanh had better get used to it.

  12. tina says:

    my boyfriend started riding and got me into riding as a result of buying me a bike as a gift. it was easy for him to convince me because he helped me gain confidence on the road. since, it has been a pretty awesome journey of seeing how our relationship and passion for riding has influenced many of our friends to get bikes.

    good luck melissa on getting chanh to ride. when you share a passionate flame for something, others will catch that fire too.

  13. Academichic says:

    Such great shots, well done, Dottie! And they are so cute, congratulations to them on the engagement :)

    Yes, I totally know of the couple-persuasion phenomenon. I got my husband to start running and we ran his first 5K together a couple of years ago, which was so great. And he’s the one that got me in to cycling, that was always his sport. Now we both engage in each other’s activities and it’s so much more fun doing it together. On the flip side, he’s also caught on to my chocolate addiction and I to his ice cream one. Now we also eat double the dessert portions and share those ‘passions’ too … oh, well, can’t be all good ;)


  14. In the beginning, I asked to myself: “Where is the point with bicycle?” And founding it later, I agree with you, and think it is very difficult to be an avid cyclist, and not to share your passion with your love.
    But, if I know couples riding together, I know cyclists married from many years, with the wife never going on the saddle,and letting them free to ride as much as they want… So?
    For the moment, as a very happy bachelor, I don’t face the problem…

  15. neighbourtease says:

    I had a bike in NYC for a long time but became more a get around mostly by bike person a year ago and because of my husband.

    We got our new non-mountain bikes last year with the idea that we would take them to our summer place on Martha’s Vineyard. Our house is on Chappaquiddick, which is separated from the main island by a tiny three car ferry. We used go back and forth by boat, but when we had our son that became a bit of a production, so we got the bicycles. Little did I know that I would become an obsessed cyclist and ride all winter in NYC.

    Getting to ride with my husband (and son) is such a pleasure. Doesn’t happen that often because we have different schedules.

  16. So cute : )
    I do know couples where one person cycles recreationally (i.e. training rides after work on a roadbike), and the other person does not – and it works just fine. But when one person cycles for transportation, then it really is difficult if the other person doesn’t do it, because then the bicycle is incorporated into every aspect of daily life and the non-cycling partner feels left out, or else the cycling partner feels constrained.

    • Amanda says:

      My love of cycling is rubbing off on my husband (or rather, I am making him come with me!). I commute every day, but it is only 2.5 miles each way. He has to go downtown about 3 miles to a ferry, and then travel 5 miles up a highway, so cycling for his commute won’t happen until we try it out together first. For now, we are enjoying weekend rides and bike dates together.

  17. philippe says:

    Eh. Very nice shots.

    Yes, my wife bikes happily on most of our social or week ends errands but is not really a frequent bike commuter. Mostly, she said, because she has a lot of meetings all around town and the metro is more convenient. (Which is a fair point, but still)
    I’m working on it, with a new bike, for instance…

  18. welshcyclist says:

    I just can’t get over it, everytime you introduce a new girl onto your blog, they’re absolutely gorgeous. Is it simply a fact that girls who ride bikes are, well gorgeous?
    Chanh is a very lucky man indeed.

  19. Scott says:

    I used to live with a girl who never learned how to ride a bike. She rode into a bush on training wheels as a kid and never tried again. She used to get angry if I showed up anywhere on a bicycle. Then we broke up!

  20. Beany says:

    Awww!! They’re sooo adorable. The photos are also incredibly well done!

  21. Super cute photos! What fun colors!

    Though I tend to road cycle more than I mountain bike, if I want to get my hubby to ride with me, it’s mountain biking all the way. He loves riding dirt trails with me even if he doesn’t go on his own. That’s a deal I can live with! As long as he’s willing to do something bike related with me, I don’t much care what it is!

  22. Great photos. Was it a lot of work to colorize the B&W image or do you have a nifty Photoshop plug-in for that?

    FYI, you really don’t need to go to the Nikon D3 level to upgrade your camera. The D90 is a GREAT camera and the DX fromat 18-200 and 10-24 lenses are not very expensive when you buy used. Even if you really want the full frame sensor, go with the D700. That is 90% the camera the D3 is for less than half the price.

    • Dottie says:

      Thanks for the tips! I hadn’t thought of buying a lens used. Maybe eBay? I’m not sure how much to trust online retailers for used electronics.

      For the second image I started with a fully color photo and then unsaturated green, yellow and aqua in Lightroom.

      • Dottie,

        I worked as a professional photographer for 15 years before I became bike/ped coordinator in Milwaukee. Pro photogs buy and sell all the time to get the latest camera, so there is a lot of good used gear on the market. Buying on local Craigslist is a good way to see what you are paying for before you let go of the money, but you can completely trust the large online dealers like Adorama, B&H and J&R.

        On another topic, I just did a post on my blog about why Milwaukee women don’t bike to work. According to Census data, Milwaukee women are half as likely to bike to work as women from Chicago and even less likely as women in Minneapolis and other cities. I have a survey up now to try to find out why. I will be posting the results to the survey in the next day or two.

        Dave in Milwaukee

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  25. Judy says:

    Mu husband has been a cyclist for over 30 years. He’s always encouraged me to ride ever since we married 14 yrs. ago. However it wasn’t until one year ago when he introduced me to my Pashley Princess that i truly enjoyed cycling. Now I’m hooked!

  26. Judy says:

    P.S. They are an adorable couple! I like Melissa’s outfit, that shade of red is stunning on her.

  27. BikeWorkPlay says:

    I am trying desperately to get my fella to ride with me! Right now I’m just trying to get him to a bike shop to test ride with me :)

  28. Dottie's Gram Bev says:

    I’ve NEVER seen better engagement photos !

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