Born to Run: Whitney and Her 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
She sweats it out on the back roads of an American Dream, riding through the mountains on a life saving machine. Sprung from the city on a one way line, polished wheels moving her forward most of the time. Whitney let us in, we wanna be your friend. We’ll ride till we drop, and we’ll never look back again.
The above words are from a song Bruce Springsteen never wrote, but I’m almost positive he would if he ever met Whitney Ford-Terry. She is a woman so enthralled with hitting the road that I wasn’t sure she knew any other way of life until I read her profile on Adventure Cycling. A life revolving around art galleries, alternative education, artistic research, working at non-profits, and most importantly getting lost in the woods on her bicycle. Whitney is equally comfortable working in museums like the MoMa or shooting the shit and drinking the boys under the table at whatever local bike shop she happens upon in her travels.
I became acquainted with Whitney when she reached out to me to discuss routes for a tour she was planning. She needed to get from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree for an artist residency and wanted to make the journey fun. We bounced ideas off one another for awhile and the route Whitney ultimately mapped out was hard enough to make most people call her crazy and shake their heads in disbelief. She decided to go straight up the San Gabriel Mountains, along the ridge and then over Mt Baldy to the high desert. With her route settled Whitney shipped her bike to Golden Saddle Cyclery to be built up.
Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle Kalakala is purpose built and can be configured to handle just about any bicycle tour you could imagine. Complete with DFL Stitchworks bags. This bike has never had a place to call home, Whitney has been riding it around the world for the last couple years and with that in mind I had no question about its ability to make it over the mountains I call home and to the Southern California High Desert that I love. Since photographing this bike it’s changed only ever so slightly with the addition of one more National Park badge to the fender, Joshua Tree.
Next time we wanna go with you, Whitney we were born to run!
P.S. If you happen to meet Whitney someday, ask her what hobo tattoos and Bruce Springsteen mean to her.