Category Archives: Photography

How to broadcast your cycling event live on Periscope

In 2014 and 2015 I used Periscope and Twitter to live broadcast segments of the Crit under the Castle, a incorporating the Scottish circuit race champsionships. Held in Stirling in June, on a closed-road city centre circuit, the events have proven to be a massive success, thanks in no small part to the vision of Stirling Bike Club chairman Norrie Petrie, and the hard work of his committee and army of volunteers.

Norrie explained some of the work that went in to how the club organised these events in a previous episode of my Scottish cycling podcast.

What sort of races are good for live broadcast?

  • Crits- I have broadcast 2 crits, and you get the chance to show plenty of action, as the riders come back around frequently. You can move to the finish line to catch the end of the race. You can easily move around the course. Crits tend to have an announcer more often that road races, and you can position yourself nearby to take advantage.
  • Cyclocross – for the same reasons as crits! The courses are often more interesting, and with run-ups, bombholes or barriers, you can get spectators to congregate. Live stream where you have the best atmosphere.
  • Track – in a closed environment, a track event could be good to broadcast. You might get a good wi-fi connection and could sit in spectator seating.
  • MTB XC – cross country courses will have some interesting features that would be good for live broadcast, as you catch different riders choosing their line down a descent, for example. Laps are longer so you may have to broadcast intermittently.
  • MTB DH – similar to XC, you’ll need to find a nice course feature and position yourself there. Fill the gaps between riders with banter and see how long you can keep going.
  • BMX – perfect for live broadcasting! You have a short circuit, a fast event, and ideally a high vantage point to catch everything.

What sort of races are not good for live broadcast?

  • Road races – you could position yourself at a key climb and capture some action but it will be brief. Identifying riders and race numbers is tricky at speed. If you’re at a finish line, why not turn on your camera and see how many people tune in though? Capturing the podium presentations are good for sponsors, friends and family but aren’t particularly captivating as live content.
  • Time trials – not the most exciting races to watch at the best of times. They are made interesting for the viewer by data – time splits, average speeds, wattage. You are going to have to work pretty hard to keep an audience! Rider interviews before and after their effort might be better.

What skills and knowledge do I need to live broadcast an event?

  • Commentatary – the ability to chat and cover the race, similar to the role of the PA announcer
  • Knowledge of the riders.
  • Knowledge of previous editions of the race and the current season in general.
  • Printouts of the race schedule, start sheets and sponsor info are very beneficial.
  • None of the above – you can still switch on your live broadcast and film it without any commentary, but I found that people enjoyed it much much more when I gave my spin on things.

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Frost inversion Stirling

I enjoy sharing local stuff, as well as good photography. These two things are embodied in the following post.

Stirling mountain biker Steven Smith is the regular ‘king of the inversion’ – I don’t mean he pulls backflips, rather that on foggy days he has the nous to head up through the soup onto the hill, knowing that a spectacular sight will be there waiting for him.

This weekend we saw a slightly different type of inversion. On Saturday morning the cold fog that had been lingering in the west lay in the Forth Valley. After 6 weeks of snow and ice, and a couple of January weekends ruined by frost and a torrential downpours, on and off-road cyclists will have been itching to get out. While the roadies, still fearful of ice, warily kept to main roads, the mountain bikers set off up the Ochils to enjoy the sight of a frosty inversion, rather than a foggy one.

SBC 144

SBC 141

Pictures © Jo Cooke 2011

Snowy Scottish cycling (part 4)

Flickr is a brilliant source of images, and I knew I’d find some great stuff there. First stop: the Cycling in Edinburgh group, where regular poster chdot had unsurpisingly posted some good shots.

slow progress

tentative confidence
Two commuting pictures from the Cycling in Edinburgh flickr group, by chdot, aka CyclingEdin on twitter.

Stirling mountain biker Crispin Bennett went for a lunchtime spin up Dumyat and shot this beautiful landscape

easy parking :-) 301110

Frozen Canal 301110
Cyclingdriver on flickr commuted on his mountain bike, and beat the snowdrifts but was thwarted by a full train.

Grant from Cowdenbeath in Fife sent me this shot of a midweek ride/walk. The snow confuses the camera giving the landscape a positively arctic feel.

Snowy cyclocross in Scotland

There have been so many good pictures of cycling in this week’s snowy conditions that I dedicated posts to mountain biking and urban cycling.

The cyclocross bike is a good machine for snowy conditions, as mountain bike suspension can soak up pedal strokes and spring. A good rigid cross bike can sometimes blast through snowy conditions. And cyclocross racing is a winter sport – it doesn’t stop for snow!

Terence McMahon testing the clearance of the cantilevers to the limit.

Kirklee bridge
Not a cycling picture as such, but couldn’t help including this lovely shot of the Kirklee Bridge on the Kelvin Walkway in Glasgow. Pic: Terence McMahon

Cyclocross racing took place in Glasgow’s Kings Park despite the conditions. A cold day for Steve Macluskie, who marshalled. Full set on flickr.

Graeme Warren aka pixelmix on flickr also shot a great set from the race, including this one of a VC Moulin rider – a club that specialises in CX.

Craig Hardie‘s weapon of choice is the CX bike, being one of the best racers in the country. Here he used it for a trip to the sports centre in his native Fife.

cyclocross falkirk snow
Road racer Craig Adams of Falkirk BC takes his crosser out in the Standburn/Avonbridge area.

Snow Cycling in Scotland – MTB

I asked twitter friends for their snowy Scottish cycling pictures today, and was innundated with great shots. Here are some of the mountain biking ones.

Eddie vs the blizzard
Eddie Addis takes Dumyat in the Stirlingshire Ochils, pic by Steven Smith. Snow has been blown off the Ochils, so some of the areas are rideable with care.

John Farr aka the 40 something runner, at the entrance to Lennox Forest looking towards Loch Lomond.

Potter at Innerleithen
Stu Potter riding at Innerleithen at the weekend, pic by @_Spakman. There is now over a foot of snow at Glentress and Inners, and the trails are unrideable.

Marin Mount Vision 5.8
Richard Barton takes his Marin Mount Vision out at night in the Ochil hills.

Scott Tares aka Scottish ride guide @skinnytyres sent this pic from the Scottish Cycling MTB coach course at Lochore Meadows in Fife last Sunday.

Mark Young was also there, coaching in the snow.

Timm Kölln: The Peloton – book out now

Timm Kölln was kind enough to allow me to use one of his images for a blog post some months back. I love good photography and his work approached cycling with a different eye to the typical race photographer. There are many creative ways to take an action shot; most have been done already, but a few times a season you’ll see a race shot that really takes you by surprise.

Timm turned cycling photography on its head and ignored the clichéd on-bike images. Instead he focused on portrait shots of the riders immediately after finishing a race. As a photographer, it’s the sort of thing I wish I’d thought of myself. The result is a photograph that strips the subject of some of the power and confidence that they are imbued with when on the bike. After the battle, the star gladiators are weak and broken, vulnerable even, and this makes for a much more interesting subject. Now this work is available as in a book.

Buy the new book from Rouleur Books. Price is £50 from This will be a really nice book and I sure as hell would love to own it.

Buy silver gelatin prints from Timm himself
See more of Timm’s photography in the Road to Roubaix film

Pic of the day: Timm Kölln – The Peloton

The pic of the day comes from Timm Kölln’s stunning The Peloton series of photographs. It’s a series of candid portraits of pro racers, shot just after they cross the finish line. This warts-and-all view of pro riders captures a range of emotions and sensations: from pain, exhaustion and resignation, to confidence and triumph.

Timm explains: “What was supposed to be a spontaneous approach to my favourite sport and its protagonists during the Giro D’Italia 2005 turned out to be one of my most challenging portrait series.

Since then I have been travelling to many important races, portraying the cyclists immediately after crossing the finishing line. Though they stand still, the race, in this moment, seems to continue on their faces.

These riders look pretty much how I feel after a winter club ride. I’m inspired to try this style of post-race portait, but I’m afraid how it might go down.

You can buy silver gelatin or inkjet prints on his website. Unsurprisingly, his work has been featured in Rouleur magazine and various other publications, and he was featured in the documentary The Road to Roubaix.

Thanks to @stumpyrider for lending me the DVD and pointing out this great series.

Irish Champion, an Anti-Drugs org, and copyright issues

Irish Champion Dan Martin- Garmin Chipotle rider and Bike-Pure affiliated rider

The pic above was taken on the 2008 tour of Britain, about half way up the Mennock Pass. Steve Cummings attacked the yellow jersey, and Geoffroy Lequatre, Dan Martin and others are pictured trying to stay in touch with him. Cummings was later reeled in on the other side of the hill, while Edvald Boassen Hagen (2009’s Gent-Wevelgem winner) won the stage at Drumlanrig Castle.

A not-for-profit anti-doping organisation, Bike Pure, contacted me through Flickr, asking permission to use the image for Dan Martin, their supported rider, and I said OK, cos I thought it was a good cause. No £££ in it for me, but they gave me appropriate credit on the Dan Martin gallery on their site.

Changing the subject momentarily, an online bicycle shop Chain Reaction Cycles, send out a weekly email promoting products, offers, etc. You know the style. A few weeks back, I got an email about about ‘rolling back prices on wheels’…

The link to Bike-Pure about half way down the email has a pic of Garmin rider Dan Martin in it- wait a minute, that’s my pic!

From misc

I posted about this on the forum of my local bike club, and got a few sympathetic replies, and then Andy at Bike Pure noticed my grumble. He got in contact with me and offered take it up on my behalf with CRC. As yet still no response from them though.


I will keep you ‘posted’