Over the years I've seen a lot of mountain biking photography.

It's easy to get a bit jaded - been there, done that, seen most combinations and permutations.

Then, one day, an image just pops. It can be spectacular riding or the sort of sensational landscape so much of our sport finds itself in.

Sometimes, it's simply jaw dropping. Today's image was a bit like that when it arrived on my Facebook and Instagram pages. A downhill tandem and not just in any setting. This is on the National Downhill/Taniwha trail in the Whakarewarewa Forest at the Altherm National Mountain Bike Championships in March. In competition.


The fearless pilot and stoker are Jackson and Rose Green. They've impressed on our trails before taking on various singlespeed events. However, downhill is another level.

Photographer, Alan Ofsoski, was as impressed as I am.

"It is one thing riding a tandem down a downhill course, but being on the back without any control?" he says. "Rose is one gutsy lady."

Alan's someone I've always enjoyed working with on singlespeed events, including New Zealand and World Championships, as well as the first four Rotorua Bike Festivals.

He's been mountain biking since 1992, photographing the sport since the early 2000s.

"My first steed was a Specialized Rockhopper - fully rigid…of course," Alan says. "I've been interested in photography for many years and started shooting mountain biking 'proper' at the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Champs here in Rotorua.

"My favourite events to photograph have been the various Single Speed champs, the 2010 World Champs being the highlight. More recently, Crankworx has been a lot of fun."

Alan was responsible for another eye popper in 2010. Best-dressed winner at the Singlespeed Worlds, Animal (from the Muppets) rolling down Rock Drop. It's an image that went worldwide and still gets an airing every so often. I used it, recently, to accompany a look back at the singlespeed story.

"The inspiration for me is that you are capturing a unique moment in time," Alan continues. "I try to capture the mood that I'm feeling and I recall some advice that Caleb Smith (Spoke magazine founding editor) once gave me - imagine the image without the rider and if the photo still looks good, then the composition is about right."

He loves the challenge of photographing action.

"MTB would be my first choice but I also like to photograph other action sports such as Motocross and kayaking. I love taking photos - all kinds."

The Whakarewarewa Forest is another great love for him.

"There's something very therapeutic just being in the forest and when you combine that with the physical and technical challenges and the camaraderie of riding with your mates, well, it's the perfect recreation and why I live in Rotorua."

Favourite trails?

"In Whakarewarewa, it's the Tihi o Tawa/BillyT combo. Outside of Rotorua? I rode the Old Ghost Road in the South Island last year and loved it."

And bikes?

"After some careful pruning I now have only two bikes - a full suspension Yeti SB5 which I ride most of the time and my titanium singlespeed Lynskey which I use when the conditions are very bad…or I fancy a change."