Category Archives: Mission Workshop China Bike Tour
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 06
Track cat.

After our ride yesterday, we all passed out early and woke up ready to spin our legs. There’s a nice climb around the corner from our lodge, so the track bike guys from Factory 5 and I headed out for a juant. Seeing those guys crush a Cat 3 climb on track bikes was once again, impressive. Meanwhile, I was shooting photos of them and the scenic roads. Short, sweet, 10 miles and 1,300′ that provided ample photo opportunities.

The only other thing on our agenda was to hike through the bamboo forest, which proved to be quite the experience. It was incredible seeing the farmers mark, harvest and load up the 30′ stalks in such efficient order. Even though the air here in Moganshan is clean, there’s still an eerie haze floating about the hills…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery and keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop), Factory 5 (@Factory5) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Apr 1, 2013 5 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 05
MW_PiNP_Bike_Tour-Day-04-1-2

There are some mornings when you just vibe with your bike. It’s like you’re one unit, working together. Your legs are loose and you can just go. We all had that moment this morning. After a late start, we all hit our course and just cranked away. Our destination was the bamboo forests, in Moganshan. You can check out more below…

(more…)

Mar 31, 2013 5 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 04
I'm really happy with this portrait and the kid was super friendly. He's studying English so he can go to school in the States.

Late last night, James Adamson, the videographer on the trip realized that he needed a solid day of shooting for Mission Workshop. So rather than wake up early and dashing to the next city, we revisited an area we came across yesterday for a video and photo session. Shooting video in China is a lot easier than you’d expect, except when you run into local politics. James really wanted to shoot up on the hill range that we rode late yesterday afternoon, but they never allowed bikes up before. We just so happened to miss the security guards yesterday. Today, not so much.

Security, the park officials, the local police and town official weren’t having it. After some bribing and a few phone calls, we made it into the park, bikes and all. But not before shooting some around town. When we finally finished up, it was time to head to Jiaxing, a Tier 3 city in China. Instead of 200+ riders, we were greeted with about 10 and to be honest, that was about all we could manage tonight, for it’s been a long trip thus far…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery and keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop), Factory 5 (@Factory5) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Mar 30, 2013 4 comments
Hypebeast Has my Essentials
JohnWatson_Hypebeast_Essentials

On this trip, I packed as lightly as I could, but I made sure I had my absolute essentials with me. Hypebeast has a profile up on their site, profiling these items, stating why I brought what and how each will be used as I travel through China. Head over and check it out!

Mar 29, 2013 32 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 03
climb_china

Rolling out of Suzhou was a lot easier than rolling out of Shanhai. Still, the AQI was much higher than the day before but even then, within 10 miles, we were in relatively rural areas. Surprisingly, industry still had a grip on the outer-lying cities. Before too long, we hit lake Taihu. The locals will tell you that it’s one of the more beautiful areas but visibility was very poor when we arrived. With not much to actually see, we had lunch and came out to find the sun shining and a wind had blown the smog out from the hills.

Wanting to mix it up a bit, we headed to the highest point on the “big island”, Piaosha Road. At a whopping 300m, it’s not much of a climb, but when you’ve been hammering on perfectly flat roads for a week, any elevation is welcome. This road is very scenic and parts spiked up over 20%, so I knew the guys on track bikes would have a problem. After making it past the pitches on 48×15 gearing, they were fine and I got some great photos of the dudes, smiling ear to ear down the switchbacks. It was also surprising to be told that no one rides bikes up into the hills here.

That one climb provided most of our elevation for the day, save for a few of the bridges and after regrouping at the base of the hill range, we rode inland into a horrendous headwind. I’m not used to riding flat terrain, so after blasting 25 mph all day, hitting a wind like this really tore my legs apart. Everyone was beat and it’s almost laughable to be tired after a 60 mile, 1400′ ride, but we’re all cooked. We made it to the base of the Qizi Mountain, where we treated ourselves to some hot tub time and herbal recovery potion.

Like the last riding day, I shot all film, but I managed to get this shot with my iPhone. For more frequent updates, keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop), Factory 5 (@Factory5) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day.

Mar 29, 2013 2 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 02
You just have to find a line, hold it and go.

Suzhou is a gorgeous city, once you look past the air quality. Today we woke up to a “sunny” sky and an AQI of only around 250. Riding around really takes it out of you, but a quick trip to the old town made us forget about our lungs. The architecture and infrastructure is very old. Many of the buildings have been here since the town’s founding, almost 2000 years ago. It’s like the Venice of China with canals snaking their way past temples.

Once we finished walking around the old town, we came back to the hotel to prepare for the group ride. About 200 kids showed up and we took a hot lap around the city. That’s when I began to feel like I huffed the exhaust from a school bus. Tired, coughing and with red eyes, we all returned to pack our bags and get ready for our ride tomorrow morning.

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery and keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop), Factory 5 (@Factory5) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Mar 28, 2013 10 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 01
IMG_0491

There was nothing pleasant about today, aside for the company. The things I saw on the road will forever change the way I view the world and globalization. Without going too much into the politics of it all, I’ll just say that I’m glad to have gotten the first leg of our ride out of the way. On paper, the route looks easy. 100k door to door, and about 90 meters of climbing.

These numbers are almost laughable, compared to other rides we’ve all completed, but those weren’t in an AQI of 350+ and through a toxic wasteland. To give you some perspective, Los Angeles has the highest AQI in the United States and today, it’s at 70. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.

The morning began early, as we checked out of our hotel and headed to Factory 5 to ready our bikes. At 10:30am, we put on masks (literally) and rode alongside a highway out of town. You’d think the air would be worse in the center city, but it was the opposite. Soon, it was like we were riding into a fog, rolling into San Francisco but there were no mountains, no iconic bridges or architecture, just smoke stacks and automotive factories.

Your face began to burn, eyes water and all you wanted to do was take off your mask to get some “fresh air”. Upon doing so, the smell of burnt plastic almost made you gag. It was literally hell and I can’t fathom the reality that people live in it everyday. The striking dichotomies were everywhere: a brand new VW dealership, next to a vacant lot with a pond, that was completely red with bacteria, or the canals and waterways turned black from factory waste next to a parking lot filled with brand new Buicks.

60 miles felt like 120. My lungs burn and my face is windburnt. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so hungover from a ride. There’s no gallery, since I shot all film today, but will leave you with the photo above to just say that I’m glad to be indoors for once. For more frequent updates, keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day.

Mar 27, 2013 30 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP in Taipei

Taipei was not at all what I expected but in a good way. From walking the market streets, to climbing and descending the surrounding mountain ranges, we had a rad time in Taiwan. Check out this video Adventure Refugee made for Mission Workshop during our stay. Vimeo is blocked here in China so I haven’t seen the final edit but the rough cut looked pretty damn good.

Mar 26, 2013 3 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Shanghai: Day 03
... Before spinning down the street to the bar.

There’s nothing like a recovery day. Not physically, but mentally. We have all been running at 100% since arriving in Shanghai and the guys from Factory 5 needed to catch up on things around the office. While they worked, I headed out around town with Lyle and James from Mission Workshop and took some photos with the Mamiya. When we got back, it was time to rock and roll.

Tuesday nights are the weekly group rides in Shanghai. They meet up at Factory 5 and roll through town at a moderate pace. Once the group leaves the center city, out towards the more industrial areas, the ride turns into a sprint as everyone puts out 100% for a few miles. It was a lot of fun chasing people down and shooting photos. Even in the complete darkness, I managed to get some rad shots! It was a great way to spend the last night before we leave for our 7 day tour around Shanghai…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery and keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Mar 26, 2013 9 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Shanghai: Day 02
I gave Tyler's Factory 5 track bike a lot of love today. It's a great looking ride.

This morning, after a night of coughing up pollution and desperately trying to catch up on sleep, I took to the streets of Shanghai on my bike. Seeing the city by foot yesterday was a completely different experience when compared to riding through the congested streets. Tyler and Drew from Factory 5 were Lyle from Mission Workshop and my guides for the day. We had an early morning agenda and since the sun was out, we were surely in for a warm ride. Shanghai is a beast that is best slain by two circles, two triangles and instincts…

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery and keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Mar 25, 2013 9 comments