As I turned forty on the 24th of September, 2022, I decided to go cycling in a suit. For a long time I had this thought in my mind to do a professional photo shoot for myself and I chose to go ahead with it on this occasion and make it memorable.
Although it is much easier to take photos with a smartphone these days, it still can’t replace the creative thinking of a photographer. It is just like a smartphone shows time but people still like to wear a wrist watch. A specialized gadget with a human touch makes a lot of difference.
I teamed up with my cycling friend Rohit Mahadev who does photo shoots professionally. Being a cyclist and a trekker, Rohit has a great sense of the outdoors. A week prior, we collectively short listed a few locations of South Mumbai and studied a few reference images on the internet.
My idea of Cycling in a suit is to make it appear more elegant in the backdrop of Mumbai heritage and break the imagery of a typical cyclist. Because, whenever you try to picture a cyclist in your mind, you will see people in spandex and in aerodynamic position in a competition. For me, cycling is as much a transport as much as it is a sport. Hence, a slow paced leisurely outing wearing formals turned out to be a good plan.
Along with the suit, I used a few accessories like a scarf, a tie, a hat, sunglasses, suspenders, a messenger bag and a book to get some variations in the photographs. The pictures were shot from different angles with some candid poses at Fort and Ballard estate area while the accessories were used interchangeably. I wore a helmet while riding and to reach from one location to the other but skipped it while shooting for photos. So, safety wasn’t compromised.
To avoid a tedious journey of 22 kms one way- from my house to South Mumbai, I opted to travel by train and it made perfect sense to skip the route which is undergoing heavy engineering work for Mumbai metro. It was convenient to carry a folding bike in a train and reach the destination hassle free and fresh. Learning: when you intend to merge your multi-modal commute with cycling, then Brompton should be your go to bike.
While I boarded a train from Bandra station, Rohit started his journey from Borivali station with his DSLR camera and bicycle. We converged at the Churchgate station where the first photograph was clicked. For the rest of the morning, we pedaled together to identify the suitable spots to freeze the moment. Our journey was nothing short of cycle tourism – a concept most prevalent in European cities.
Riding a Brompton:
The charm of riding a Brompton is beyond imagination. You have to ride it to believe it. With its upright handles you are in a relaxed posture, with head straight making eye contact with the immediate surroundings. The lightweight and overall smoothness of the bike takes you to a different world and you draw a connection with yourself. The bike becomes a part of you. The Brompton is the ultimate folding bike and continues to be the quintessential machine reflecting the timeless design and class. Combining a legendary brand and an engineering marvel built in London with the British era architectural excellence for a photo shoot created a natural alliance of human genius from the past and the present.
My idea of cycling in a suit was not to seek attention but to make a style statement, set a new trend and convey a message that even cycling can be fashionable. To quote an example, the annual London ‘Tweed run’, which is a group bicycle ride; the cyclists dress in retro style traditional British cycling attire, particularly tweed suits. Men and Women retro cyclists pedal into the modern era with charm and style. Combined with vintage bicycles the event lifts the spirits of the bygone era. How about starting a similar event in India? Count me in as a participant if you are already convinced with the idea.
Contended and Happy:
I was elated while cycling in a suit. It made me look hottie at forty. A wonderful start to a new phase of my life. This is a novel idea of spending a birthday by going for a solo ride with a personal photographer around. What do you think of this sustainable lifestyle? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
You can contact Rohit Mahadev to avail his photography services –
Mobile: +91 9867985551
Enjoy the photo album:
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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai
10 thoughts on “CYCLING IN A SUIT ON MY BIRTHDAY”
Wonderful pics. If I may comment, your Brompton cycle looks more formal than your suit. 🙂
Thank you VG Abraham
Great pictures indeed!
Thank you Jeanne 💓
I think this is a brilliant idea for a photo shoot. The photos turned out great, but most importantly it is right in time. There are so many ways in which we could avoid driving a car every day.
Thank you 💞 Maria
Great photos and idea!! Zulu Delta http://coldbikefusion.net/2021/11/14/california-coast-classic-day-zero/