MG Thursday: Socially Acceptable Bragging Part III of III, Photos

If your only evidence of a ride is the memory you carry inside of you, that is simply not enough!   Further, memories fade over time, so here is where socially acceptable bragging can help.

Last week I provided a primer on socially acceptable bragging through ride reports.  However, if you are not willing to put the work into a ride report, there’s always the camera. Socially acceptable bragging is also frequently accomplished through flickr (or other popular online photo sites). The approach for finding your way into photos is similar to that of the ride report.

1.Bring your own camera and take pictures of the ride. When taking your own pictures, there are two important aspects to keep in mind: take pictures of yourself and pictures of other riders.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it, did it actually fall?  No way!  When taking your own pictures, it is imperative that you master the “panda portrait,” which is a photo you take of yourself while riding your bike.  Unless your face makes it into a shot there is no proof of you actually doing the ride.    (See for more information about the essential panda shot.)

After mastering the panda portrait, make sure your photos are not solely panda shots, as this moves into the socially inappropriate bragging arena. Take a few panda shots (four or so are acceptable), shoot some pics of the countryside, and make sure to get as many riders into as many photos as you can. Just as you want to brag about your ride in a socially acceptable way, so do your cycling comrades. This will also have the benefit of making you more popular among the randonneurs, thus leading to greater inclusion in future ride reports and pictures.

When you upload your photos, make sure to send a message to a couple of listservs with the link to your photos and a little message like, “Great ride. Thanks everybody!”

2.Try to make it into other people’s photos. Worried about weight and can’t take along a camera? Too uncoordinated to manage your bike and a gadget simultaneously? No problem! Get to know your fellow digital camera-toting randonneurs and ride along with them as much as possible.

Bill Beck rides too fast for you? You have multiple options—

  1. get faster;
  2. arrive really early to the ride start so that you can be seen in the “before the ride” photos;
  3. find a slower photographer to ride alongside; or
  4. spend extra time at the controls along the route in hopes that people will take a moment to snap some extra pics.

There is no excuse for not worming your way into a few photos.

After you receive the message from your randonneur photographer on the local listserv, make sure to find a photo where you appear and forward it to all your friends. And don’t forget to thank the photographer if you really like the photo(s) they took of you. This helps build goodwill and greater photo opportunities for future rides.

While the strategies shared over the past three weeks are not all-inclusive, they are among the most effective socially acceptable bragging techniques.

Remember, if a randonneur rides a ride and no one knows about it, then the ride experience has not been maximized. Medals cost you money, and bragging costs you nothing, especially when it’s done right. So what are you waiting for… get out there and ride!

6 thoughts on “MG Thursday: Socially Acceptable Bragging Part III of III, Photos

  1. Thanks, Mary. These “MG Thursday” posts are so much fun that they have even replaced the newsletter as my Thursday electronic highlight. I hope they are a continuing feature of TDR.

  2. I happened on a third way to get in the pictures–ride a tandem with a cute girl. Twice in as many weeks I have appeared in our local newspaper, first riding with my 12 year old daughter and then with my wife in the stoker seat. Worked like a charm. H’mm, there is a fundraiser coming up next weekend…

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