Category Archives: China
Recent Roll: Not All of China Was Terrible to Ride In

Here’s a photo of Jeff from Factory 5 riding down an open road somewhere west of Shanghai. After all the smog (which is still visible in the background), trash and shitty roads, sections like this were a gem… I’m ramping up to my book release and gallery show in SF on June 15th. More details to come.

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4
Neopan 400

May 31, 2013 2 comments
James’ Ibis Hakkalügi Disc Cross

James Adamson from Adventure Refugee has a long-time relationship with Ibis Cycles, so when the time came to prep for the Mission Workshop trip to China, he contacted them about a bike. Their Hakkalügi Disc Cross made the most sense for this tour.

Shown here, completely stock with cross tires or as it appeared in my post photos with Fyxation tires. The Hakkalügi retails with an Ultegra kit for $3699. Unfortunately, these are the last photos this bike will ever have taken of it because China Airlines crushed it in transport. Bummer! Check out more in the Gallery.

Apr 10, 2013 4 comments
Tyler’s Factory 5 Low Pro Track

Another one of the Factory 5 track bikes that was on the bike tour was Tyler’s. This 61cm frame has quite the component kit on it. Most interestingly, one of five pairs of H+Son carbon fiber wrapped Formation Face rims. The aluminum rims were thinner, to compensate for the wrap, resulting in a lighter rim. They’ll never see full production, because they were a pain to fabricate, but they look great laced to Dura Ace 7600 36h single side track hubs. Tyler’s also riding Paul Royal Flush cranks, which he’s had for over four years in China with no issues.

This is the third prototype of the forthcoming Factory 5 aluminum low pro frame, with smoother welds. The final version will still have a few revisions. Factory 5 has been working on this particular model frame for over a year, revisiting the geometry before making the final version. It makes their motto “We Build. We Ride” even more fitting.

I wanted to photograph his bike after the tour, muddy and all, as a recording of how fucking dirty his bike got riding through China. I’m going to miss hanging out with Tyler. He’s like my metal brother in China…

Check out Factory 5’s current frame offerings here and more photos in the Gallery.

Apr 9, 2013 16 comments
Zài Jiàn Shanghai!

These past few weeks have been absolutely incredible. Our bike tour was easily one of the most exhilarating rides I’ve ever been on. To be concise, it was an eye-opening experience. I really thought that I knew what China was all about but almost immediately, I realized my preconceptions vastly polarized. My anxieties about some situations subsided, as the harsh reality of globalization’s effect on a ancient land settled in.

There’s nothing that can prepare you for the realities that hide on the outskirts of the city. As my film gets processed and scanned, I’ll begin think about how I’ll present my experience on paper. Right now, I feel like I’ve been nursing a two week long hangover. My body aches, my head is pounding and my lungs need some recovery time. So would I do it again? Of course.

When it’s all said and done, I’ve met some truly amazing people and had the opportunity to share all these experiences on bikes with them. I’ll say in confidence that we all will walk away from this trip with some great memories and for that, I’ll always be thankful to the communities that we rode with, the towns we stayed in and the guys at Factory 5.

Until next time, Shanghai, zài jiàn.

Apr 7, 2013 5 comments
The Mission Workshop Factory 5 Shanghai Party

As the culmination of the Mission Workshop China Bike Tour with Factory 5, we threw a huge party last night. 700 bottles of beer, 2 Pocari Sweats and a few 2 liters of Sprite brought in around 400 people throughout the evening. Shanghai’s bike scene is a mix of ex-pats and local Chinese riders, so the crowd was quite interesting from a westerner’s point of view. I had a mini-photo show from some photos I posted on the site, James played some rough-cuts of the Mission Workshop videos and Shanghai brought the fun.

Tomorrow morning we all leave China and I still haven’t even begun to process this trip. I’ll share with you some thoughts later on, but for now check out some narrated photos from the party in the Gallery!

Apr 7, 2013 3 comments
Subject and Subjected

Photo by Hou Jue

Photos by Jeff Liu

In recent months, I’ve started to find myself in front of a lens almost as much as behind it, especially on this recent tour. Riding through China was overwhelming  from a photography standpoint. Everything was rich in texture and as a foreigner, the everyday was visually engaging. When I could, I’d stop and shoot, or ask one of the riders to pause for a portrait.

Just about everything was natural and that’s something James from Adventure Refugee tried to capture in his video pieces for Mission Workshop. We’d leave with no plans, or script and would point out shots, or spaces when we came across them. In a land like China, nothing is predictable, you’ve just got to go with your instincts.  That applies to the subject and the subjected.

Apr 5, 2013 2 comments
We’re Back in Shanghai

Last night, we arrived in Shanghai, where we’ll stay until Monday night. Saturday night is the Mission Workshop party at Factory 5 where I’ll be displaying some of my favorite digital photos from the trip. There will be mountains of free beer, good music and great people. If you’re in Shanghai, roll through!

Unfortunately, Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and even Gmail (sometimes I can load it up) is blocked in China, so regular blog posting won’t commence until I’m in Australia on Tuesday (your Monday). Thanks for understanding and if you sent an email, there’s no need to forward it again and again, I received it…

Expect some more Shanghai-related posts to go up periodically over the next few days, including bike portraits, so stay tuned.

Apr 4, 2013 9 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 08

I think I speak for the whole gang when I say that we’re all very happy to be done with the bike tour of China. It wasn’t so much the distance, because on paper, it’s not that much, totaling around 300 miles. But when you consider everything we encountered, it was one of the most sobering experiences of my life.

One of the things I did look forward to each night were the group rides. For me, it’s rad to see what and how people are riding in each city. Hangzhou was no different from the other cities. Most of the riders were young, most had cheap “rainbow fixies” but some had insane track bikes, ready for the boards…

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 3, 2013 9 comments
Mission Workshop _ PiNP Bike Tour: Day 07

We all woke up this morning knowing that we only had 70k to go on our trip and most of it was downhill from the bamboo forest. I really wanted to mob some trails on the Geekhouse Mudville, so James and I headed into the bamboo forest to shoot some video. When we got back to the lodge, we ate lunch, packed and headed out.

The ride today was hellish. Even though it was downhill for the first 15 miles, the wind was blowing hard. Then, when we got on the main road, it was filled with potholes and giant trucks spitting exhaust into our faces. Hangzhou was our final destination so we just put our heads down and pushed forward.

Finally, we were in the outskirts, but had to go through four tunnels to make it to the hostel where we were staying. Four tunnels that were so disgusting that the sissy Americans nearly puked after passing through them (myself included). To give you an estimate, the AQI in the tunnels were over 1000 and I forgot my mask.

Tomorrow, we have a day off before heading back to Shanghai, via a bullet train. We’re all nice and tipsy from post-ride beer and are about to head out into town… May the Necronomicog have mercy on our souls.

Keep an eye on Mission Workshop’s (@MissionWorkshop), Factory 5 (@Factory5) and my Instagram (@JohnProlly) during the day for updates.

Apr 2, 2013 12 comments
The 2013 PiNP Calendar: April

This is the fourth layout of the 2013 PiNP Calendar, entitled “Easy Street”. The camera, lens used and location are noted on the bottom left of the document.

After any climb, sometimes it just feels right to unclip and coast on a track bike. Here, Jeff from Factory 5 in Shanghai shows us how it’s done.

Right Click and Save Link As – 2013 PiNP Calendar: April

Sorry for this being a bit late, I don’t have InDesign on my laptop and had to farm the design work out to Austin. Thanks Lauren!

Apr 1, 2013 1 comment