Ty, thank you for joining us. Please tell us a little bit about you.
I live in a small sea side city called Swansea in South Wales where not much exciting ever happens but is home to A LOT of weirdos and is surrounded by amazing countryside so there is plenty to see and do if you’re willing to seek it out, which I am.
thefootdown.co.uk is your well known blog about cycling and bike culture. When and why did you start writing about cycling?
I grew up skateboarding and a few of my skate friends got fixed gear bikes so, naturally, I got one as well. I set up a blog for no real reason except to post about what we were up to and that morphed into The Foot Down after a year or so as I got more and more obsessed.
I have no idea why I blog, I question it all the time because it serves no real purpose whatsoever really. It’s pretty cool meeting people online and then hooking up with then at races and events though so that’s good.
Over the last year or so the blog has changed considerably, it was 100% fixed gear but I have developed a love for cycling in general and the content reflects that now which I regard as a positive, other people would call me a sell out but I don’t care.
The iPhone 4 changed everything I reckon. Now when I ride I have my phone in my pocket and the quality is so good that I know I can shoot anything along the way and it’ll be sharp and high enough quality for me to post.
I used to work as a freelance photographer and I had a load of L-series lenses, lights, stands, the whole deal and I enjoyed it but eventually it just made me lose my love of photography so I sold it all. Photography is all about capturing a moment in time and that’s not really possible in a pure sense when you have to set a load of equipment up.
Now I use a Panasonic GF2 to shoot some street stuff which I post at thecomebackalbum.tumblr.com and I have a Canon 60D which I use for shooting product reviews and stuff for The Foot Down.
I really am totally into shooting all day long with my iPhone 4S though, I never ever apply any stupid filters, I just use the contrast button in Instagram to make the pics a bit more punchy if need be. I also use Filterstorm for some light editing, cropping etc if I need to make some tweaks. I am a total perfectionist but at the same time I believe that content is king so if I shoot a photo of an oddball in the street (which I do a lot) it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit blurry. I’m working on a new technique to get super close ups of people in the street actually, keep an eye on my Instagram!
I got into Instagram quite late, the whole olde time filter thing is really sad if you ask me but for posting snippets of what I see around me it’s absolutely great. When I’m out on the road bike I post the scenery, around town I post weirdos, spelling mistakes and animals. It’s all stuff that would be lost forever without a good camera in a phone and God forbid I can’t show some of the local crazies to the world.
Cycling is your great passion. Do you have other passions?
Cycling changed my life, I had struggled with years of very serious depression through my early twenties and riding really did wipe that misery out within about 18 months, almost like a miracle. But I’d say that music is my real passion, I’m into cycling for cycling and not all the consumerism that goes with it but music is something I think about constantly and every day is a hunt for new stuff to listen to, it’s more of a disease than an obsession, haha.
I’m mostly into really miserable stuff, surprise surprise. Tindersticks, Morrissey, Stephin Merritt, CFTPA, WHY?, Nick Cave, Springsteen… You can see what I listen to at last.fm/user/deadjoe
**Inside your blog you have a shop for parts and merchandise products. How is the business going and do you have plans to increase this business? **
Yeah, that’s nothing special and I make hardly any money but I have a friend with screenprinting equipment so we print tees every few months, they sell and then I use the money to make more. I also sell a few other bits and pieces that are made in the UK to support the grassroots cycling scene.
I’m waiting on a big compensation payout from when I was hit by a car 3 years ago, when that hits my bank account things will change in the shop and I’ll take it a bit more seriously and start banging my desk shouting about ‘the bottom line!’ no doubt.
Last question, whom do you recommend to follow on Instagram or whom did you spot on Instagram recently?
I don’t follow many people actually, at the start I followed everyone back but I had to go through and delete them all because I really don’t need to know what 500 of my blog readers are having for breakfast. @tempster_returns is always good, @andyfuckingellis for bike stuff, um, that’s about it I think, I just follow my friends and when someone follows me I look at what they post and once in a blue moon I’ll add them back if they look interesting. I really don’t care what other people are up to though, I’m very self centred, ha!!