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2 February 2018

When we're walking around the city with a camera, we aren't particularly in hot pursuit of a theme. But over the years we've been unable to resist the odd window or the occasional bike.

Recently we scrolled through our collection to revisit a few of those bikes, culling about 43 images. These are 19 of them that we thought you'd enjoy.

They were taken with a variety of gear, some of it here for review just a few days. Among these were the Canon PowerShot SD550, A630; Casio H20G; Fujifilm FinePix S5200; iPhone 6 Plus; Nikon Coolpix P5000, I V1, D200, D300; Olympus E-PL1; Panasonic FZ35; Pentax Optio T30; and Sony S700, HX1.

Editing JPEGs from the Casio and Panasonic were more work than the JPEGs from the Canons. And the Raws were a lot more fun to work on. But with one or two exceptions, we don't think you'll notice.

Bikes are different.

That's because the bikes themselves are the stars of this show. Which is why we keep shooting them.

Americans, no question, love cars. They embody our love of freedom whether we're on the road with Jack Kerouac or Charles Kuralt or even Thelma and Louise taking one last ride.

We talk about their body lines with almost adolescent admiration and their power with adult awe.

And then we buy what we can afford that fits our style.

We may drive a BMW or a Mercedes or a Cadillac or a Chevy or a Toyota or a Subaru. It could be a pickup or a four-door sedan or a coupe. Maybe it's even electric. All that says something about us. We wouldn't be comfortable driving something else.

But we aren't much distinguished from anyone else driving the same vehicle.

We may love our silver Camry but there are parking lots full of them out there. We are indistinguishable from the crowd.

Bikes are different. Ignored (except by thieves). But they are often personalized in a way cars rarely are.

Maybe it's just a basket. Maybe it's a custom paint job with ironic flames. Maybe it's bumper stickers. Maybe it's flowers that would put a VW Bug to shame.

That's what attracts us to them. These shots are really portraits.

Which makes that first one a selfie.

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