I love this photo and for a while I couldn't work out why. It appeared the other day on the Rapha Continental section http://www.rapha.cc/onekama-mi accompanied by a succinct and insightful write up from Jeremy Dunn.
After chasing it round my head for a bit, and riding out with Duncan 'Here Come the Belgians', I pinpointed it: fellowship.
Robert Millar describes himself, perhaps ironically, as a sociable loner in the excellent 'In Search of Robert Millar' by Robert Moore. I instantly related to this, though hopefully I come across as less spikey than the Glaswegian enigma himself. Growing up, effectively as an only child (but with a learning disabled sister), I got used to amusing myself for long periods with a variety of past times. Those formative experiences have left me with a confidence in spending time with myself. However, when people come along for the ride then it is all for the better.
I still ride alone mostly, with some exceptions (http://crossjunkie.blogspot.com/2009/03/cheshire-cat.html) but the chance to ride in good company is one I increasingly err toward. Perhaps I am getting more gregarious as I get older, or just better at seeking out others to share the road with. Either way, a 3 hour hilly ride with Duncan (whom I had never previously been formally introduced to) passed in a blur of conversation, ideas, banter and shared experience as well as some serious physical effort. Thanks - here's to fruitful future collaborations.
The photo says it all really - effort showing on the faces, tough conditions leaving their mark, an intimate shot but showing a shared experience to be savoured for some time to come. Everything a good ride should be.