The Bikes

It’s not about the bike.

That’s the famous, pre-doping allegation from Lance Armstrong. Winning the Tour de France time and time again, asked about his equipment and eventually saying that his victories had nothing to with his bike. It was all him.

It’s not about the bike.

Until it is.

A few years ago my wife was really into road cycling. Her then-employer participated in a charity ride in the high mountains. She did it for a few years, then took up riding as a weekend hobby until the day she returned from a ride – windburned, bug bitten, with two flat tires – swearing she would never ride again.

I don’t blame her. It’s not about the bike until you’re on the wrong bike. Tires run flat; chains are broken. Rust and grime build up. Eventually, a new material comes out that is stronger and lighter than the last one and less ambitious athletes are running circles around you purely because of the gear they have.

So, sometimes, it’s the bike.

The first camera I bought for myself was a Sony Cybershot. A small little point and shoot that stored everything on a memory stick and a battery that lasted for YEARS. After college, doing some professional work, I bumped up to a Pentax K10D to join the SLR family. The Pentax was fine for what I needed 10+ years ago. I used the hell out of it until the internal chip corrupted. Pentax offered to fix it for $600 bucks. Instead, I took a photographic break, eventually sold it for scrap, and bought the latest iPhone.

The bike may have left, but the desire to ride it never changed. I got back into the game on a slim budget, picked up the Nikon D3400. It is a solid little camera for the price and got me well on the way. Loads of photos were shot, edited, sold and shared with that thing. I’d recommend that camera to anyone looking to get their first dSLR.

I went mirrorless. I wanted something with a richer background. I needed a smaller profile for the travel I was doing. I sold the Nikon and traded some components to go straight-across, price wise, to the a6000 and was immediately disappointed. The size was great, everything else kinda sucked.

The a6000 drained batteries like crazy. I had numerous data cards get corrupted while formatting. Every lens on this thing was a cumbersome thing. I eventually stopped using it; I stopped taking photos. At that point, everything just sorta …stopped.

I wrote previously about how my diving back into photography kickstarted my creative mindset for everything else I was up to. I wrote more, I reached out more, I wanted to get to know more people and be more places. It was a high and it was great and EVERYTHING was moving forward for me. When the photos stopped, so did that energy. My personal growth stopped, the growth of my client book slowed, the stagnation was starting to manifest as depression.

I was on the wrong bike. Fortunately, I believe in serendipitous events.

The local camera store had screaming rebates on Sony cameras, AND they were offering a trade-in event. So I dropped everything of the a6000 and bumped up to the a7ii without having to surrender my shirt.

It is a heavier camera. The profile is bigger. It’s a hulk of a thing. But it is friendly with batteries, it is nice to my data cards, and it makes a statement. It is fast and a joy to use and creates fantastic images.

Everything comes to life again. Everything is growing again.

It’s not about the bike – unless you’re on the wrong bike.

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