Eight easy tips to get you noticed.

For years I’ve been checking out pics of magazine riders thinking “I can do that, why can’t I be in magazines showing some form and having people recognize me on the street and buying me beers and…blah blah blah”.

It wasn’t until I actually saw some pics of myself riding that I realized that I look like a bit of a nonce on a bike and may as well have a basket on the front and my kids riding along behind me.

I practiced this turn for hours.       photo : Matt Wright    RockDrop, Mt. Victoria, Wellington

After many sleepless nights and some serious stalking of some really cool riders ( sorry JK, Fluffy, Rob M, Nathan G, T man etc…) I discovered a host of tricks to get me on my way, and hey…it must have worked because  I've been tweaking it for the legendary Spoke Magazine for years now (turns out I was the only muppet Spoke could find on short notice that would work many hours for free and put up with Calebs many photo stops on every ride).

Now the funny thing is….it made me a better rider so it really is a lesson in riding and in life too really.

Now…no matter how fast or well you ride, the camera freezes you in a split second, so you better be looking damn good and be in the middle of some serious “STYLING ACTION” ™.  Here’s how to do it.

You've got to learn some styling moves. I can't manual to save myself, so my go to rad move is a power wheelie.   photo : Mark Dangerfield    Vernon, B.C.


1. Appearance. you’ve got to stand apart from all the others. My fave is Simon Wi Rutene’s old skinsuit, guaranteed to get me published on the web (I still looked like a nonce though and got the worst dressed cyclist of the year award).

I thought I looked pretty good in Simon's suit actually. This aerodynamic second skin meant I could change my front chain ring from a 48 tooth to a 52 tooth and still spin it out (at 78 kph). unfortunately I got a blowout at 72 kph and ate shit. This is me limping back.    Mt. Ohau 1993? DH Nationals. Specialized Stumpjumper with v-brakes and 2.5" travel rear and 3" front. Just look at that 52 tooth ring. (This pic is reminiscent of that famous Big Foot pic huh?)

See what I mean?


Its no good throwing on some mismatched lycra, trail cred is what needed, loose fitting clothes billow out and give the illusion of speed, while studded belts will reflect the flash giving the photo that stand-out factor.

2. Muscle definition. Check out Kelly McGarry’s forearm pump-that’s why he was in all the mags  (oh and those big assed jumps too I suppose). If I know there’s a camera round the corner, I’ll stop and curl some big rocks for added bicep bulge. Or at least try and pull my gut in.

3. No eyewear. The camera needs to see that steely determination in your eyes (or fear, both work great).

4. Elbows... Stick them out. It gives you a more aggressive stance which the camera loves.

5. Get air. I try and always have at least one wheel off the ground, looks like your pinning it. Jumps, stoppies, wheelies, manuals, hops…this is the part that makes you a better rider.

6. Get it sideways. Dab that back brake for some rear wheel drift, kicking up some dust/dirt. Photographers love that sort of stuff.

7. Practice your face. You need a facial expression that screams” I’m bad”. Billy Idol has that wicked sneer. I thought I had a winner with my pursed lips thinking I looked a little bit Johnny Depp, but Caleb said I “looked like I was sucking…”( I didn’t hear the last word but I think he meant “a lemon”). Back to the mirror for me then.

8. And finally, RIDE HARDER and FASTER and go BIGGER than anyone else, win some races or competitions and you will get that coveted magazine cover shot that tells everyone that “YOU HAVE MADE IT”.

So that’s it. Get out there and get shot.

Rod “where’s the camera” Bardsley.

Winning a race and looking nonchalant on the podium gets photographers thinking you do this all the time and must be worthy of a cover.   Dirt merchants Enduro, Polhill, Wellington.