Beardy McBeard is a cycling enigma who knows his shutter speed from his shimano. On a global quest to capture the beauty of cycling, he’s driven by a thigh-burning passion and zest for life following a rough ride in 2014…
You’re beard is mind-bogglingly meaty. Hat’s off to you. Any tips for keeping the face rug in such good shape?
Thanks, I’ve had it for over 7 years. I keep it washed, conditioned and oiled.
Can you fill us in what you do to make a crust?
I’m a photographer that specialises in road, cyclocross and adventure riding. I document races such as the Tour de France but also photograph mates riding bikes and camping.
You haven’t had the smoothest of rides in recent years with your health. Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been through?
In 2014 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was a real shock to the system and I underwent chemotherapy and came out the other side unscathed. I never stopped riding even through the treatment. The bike was like my recovery therapy.
How has this altered the way you see the world and approach your working life?
Getting told you have cancer is a wake up call and I took it as a sign that if cycling photography was something I loved I just had to jump in and give it a real go.
As soon as I was well enough and had the doctors ok, I quit my job and headed off to Europe for 3 months to cover the worlds biggest cycling races.
The images you capture are so fresh and raw – they’re not just of the riders and dramatic scenery which you tend to see with cycle photography. What is your approach to cycling reportage and photography?
I want people to love cycling as much as I do so I’m always looking for the best angle of the interesting story. I’m never scared of foul conditions rain, snow, hail this is when you get the real essence of cycling. I think being a keen cyclist really helps plus I shoot from a bicycle as well which gives a glimpse for inside the cycling bunch.
Any standout highlights from your career to date?
Standing on the Champs Élysées after finishing photographing my first Tour de France was pretty amazing its such a massive undertaking covering every stage.
WAE think that blending adventure and cycling together can make for the perfect weekend away with your mates. How easy is it to blend lycra with camping?
I totally agree the bicycle is the perfect adventure mobile. Its so easy to get into all you need is a bike and a backpack and you can start to discover roads you couldn’t reach in a day ride. Getting off the beaten track is the perfect place for lycra, Its light quick drying and comfortable. Just jump in a river or wash your kit and it will be ready to go again the next day.
Do you have any trip suggestions for cycle microadventures near Sydney?
Sydney has so many options every direction you ride. North you have Wiseman’s Ferry, west the Blue Mountains and beyond and South the Southern Highlands. There are plenty of dirt roads, camping spots and adventures to have one days ride from Sydney.
What does the future hold for Beardy’s Caravan?
Beardy’s Caravan is starting up again this year and i’ll be covering more races so it will be bigger than ever including the Cobbled classics.