Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

How To Judge a Photo Depicting a Girl and a Bike

What's that? There's someone with a camera in a second floor window? Weird! (image: ret0dd)
I wrote yesterday about the awkwardness of surreptitiously photographing women on bikes, but I realized overnight that I failed to cover what one should do if confronted with any photo involving a female and a bike, awkward or otherwise. This guide aims to set forth a road map for categorizing and judging girls-n-bikes photographs, as well as provide some hints on proper social behavior for a any cyclist encountering same.

First you must categorize the photo. Can you tell from the composition that it was taken by a creepy goon in an upstairs window? Is everyone pictured fully clothed? Can the subject clearly tell that she is being photographed? These sorts of questions help one decide how to process the photo further.

In some cases, the answers to the above will cause one to ignore the photo in question, but if it manages to not seem like something that a horny teenager on the second floor could be prosecuted for, we can move forward and judge the photo on a few criteria. This brings us to a crucial stage in this process.

At this juncture one must be sure to judge the contents on the photo bike first. No exceptions! There are many reasons for this, but the chief one is that there are already more photos of women in various stages of dress on the internet than stars in the visible sky, which is a theory of mine that will be explored more fully in a sciencelicious paper that I am working on titled “Hubba Hubble”.

But back to the photograph. As I say, we must judge it bike first always, our goal being to determine the bike is indeed hers and if she actually rides it or if she’s just been asked to lurk near it. Part of my Hubba Hubble theory is that every object on earth has been photographed at least once with a nude woman in frame by this point, and bikes many, many times.

Here are some ways to tell if you should have disdain for the pictured bike:

  • Is it a mixte, and should it therefore be chucked unceremoniously into a river (no exceptions)?
  • Does it still have its pie plate?
  • Is it comically too big for her?
  • Is she riding on the sidewalk, and should she therefore herself be chucked unceremoniously into a river?

Of course, these are just my ideas; you should develop your own. After all, my preferred aesthetic for a bike is not shared by everyone, even though it should be.

These questions answered, one is free to take a step back and judge the photograph as a whole work of art, and perhaps even allow one’s self to discern the pictured woman’s merits. She might be standing with her arms crossed or making a “Grr!” face, or possibly both. Her sparrow tattoos could be any color of the rainbow.

Or, she could just be a normal person who happens to enjoy riding bikes who got photographed non-creepily in the normal course of going about her life. It does happen.

Not often, mind you, but it does happen.

5 thoughts on “How To Judge a Photo Depicting a Girl and a Bike”

  1. Kyle

    Bike first, babe later: agreed. Another pedestrian and I both rubbernecked at a girl rounding a corner on her bike, though we each evaluated differently. He was ogling the girl (pretty with curly blonde hair) and I checked out her bike.

    I personally am fond of the older shiny metal pie plates but the plastic ones: no. Why the mixte hate? I demand a mixte rant. If you have already done so, I demand a link to your mixte rant.

  2. abby

    Jim, not gonna lie, I’m hating on you a little for the mixte hate.

  3. jim

    I thought I might catch some flak for the mixte hate. Much as I respect you both, I’m still not down with them. They’re like a piece of an elevated train platform that someone slapped wheels on.

  4. ret0dd

    I took the pic included on this blog. It was taken during SXSW in Austin, a big music, film and interactive festival that happens in my city every year. There are people dressing to be seen and others taking pictures of them on literally every street corner in the downtown area. Of course cyclists are everywhere.

    I saw a girl who looked like she took some time to match her bike, asked her if it was OK if I took a pic, did so, and moved on to the next shot. I agree with you though: It is an awkward shot, and it irks me a little that it is the most popular pic in my Flickr photostream, especially when I’ve taken better. Obviously I’m just an ameteur who likes to take pictures of bikes. Why this pic resonates more than my other shots is beyond me.

    Good post, and food for thought. Thanks.

  5. jim

    For the record, I didn’t mean to imply that Todd’s photo was creepy. Thanks Todd!