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Better riding through pictures: Emily Batty’s inspiring and active social media presence

Two-time Olympian's active social media gives insight into her riding and lifestyle

Photo: Adam Morka

The cycling industry has long used images to showcase not just the skill, but the lifestyle of riding. Social media has further focused the spotlight on athletes, providing the chance to look at a curated version of the day-to-day life of a professional.

Emily Batty (@emilybatty1 on Instagram, 179,000 followers) races cross country mountain bikes for Trek, and has twice represented Canada at the Olympics. Sponsored by Red Bull, and with a keen sense of how to connect with her audience, Batty runs a feed that is an illustration of not only her training and race program, but also her interest in cars, fashion and travel.

While the images are mostly shot and managed by Batty’s husband and coach, Adam Morka, the two collaborate on what sort of images to create. “We try to hit some key messages: inspiration and information, whether it be bike tech or training talk,” said Morka. “Posting photos that don’t directly stick on those key topics won’t resonate as well with the audience.”

The pair don’t typically scout locations for photos, but do put more planning into photos that show the lifestyle off the bike. Morka brings his camera on training rides, and the two look for good places to shoot as they ride. “Being aware of your setting is important in finding good places to shoot,” said Morka. “Taking a few photos during training doesn’t interfere with performance, so we will stop whenever we see something great.” The pair keep their eyes peeled for beautiful scenery, and try to shoot just after dawn or before sunset – the magic hours when daylight takes on a special quality.

Good images alone won’t suffice for Morka and Batty. They are also mindful of their key messages and concepts when they write captions. Overt mentions of sponsors can turn off fans, so being creative in placing product to be less obtrusive can help soften the messaging.