The journal entry following my first bike trip reads: “Why does recording life events feel so vital? Because memories can’t be trusted to stay in place. Because in their wake remains the shadowy outlines of phantom feelings—forms so great and vague that we long to recall the experiences that gave them flesh and weight. Okay. Bike trip.” On the next page I taped five sheets of 3×5 pages, carefully ripped from the pocket journal that I carried with me on the bike. I did this for the sake of chronology in my journaling, so that all of my day-to-day reflections remained bound together, in order, but in leafing through the past, I enjoy the three-dimensional quality that my inserted notes lend to the entry.
My dream was to ride all of the major roads in Alaska and I did in 2017. I’m fourth-generation Alaskan. It’s where I got into endurance riding on my mom’s Specialized Ruby in between bartending shifts in 2014. Examining the map and fitting in the biggest rides I could on my two days off led me to the goal of riding them all, imagining what the 2D map could look like in real life and why the roads existed in the first place. Three years later, I had a wide open summer and I was ready for an open-ended adventure. Four thousand five hundred miles took me past Wiseman to the north slope at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean, through Chicken to Eagle on the Yukon River, to the three hot springs north of Fairbanks, into Denali National Park and across the Denali Highway to Paxson. I used The Milepost, the local guidebook that chronicles every mile of Alaskan road with conditions and services. If the road is listed in The Milepost, I had to ride it. About two-thirds were paved and a third, high-quality dirt.
The doorbell of the Alaska bike shop jingled shut as another khaki shorts cruise ship goer left, leaving me alone at the counter for a brief moment to contemplate my future. My job at the bike shop would end in mid-September, and I wanted to be riding the Baja Divide in mid-January. These things were clear, what lay between them was not.
When I went on my first bike tour in the summer of 2009 from Seattle back to California I had a decision to make, take my camera or take a tent. I grabbed my old Hasselblad 501CM and hit the road. I had never gone on a long-distance tour before and I hadn’t much thought about any of it, I had a copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast and some camping gear, I was gonna be fineeee. I had no plans for what to shoot along the ride, but when I got home I found that about 90% of the images I had shot were of the many people I encountered along the way. That was a moment of clarity for me and one that would define my photographic motivations for almost a decade afterward.
I arrived in Rwanda on the 26th of January and was greeted by a spooky line of doctors and nurses wearing masks, they were filtering us before border control, asking us to remain about two meters away from them while they would conduct a short interview.
The world was barely aware of the virus outbreak at that time, Corona was still a light Mexican beer, flying was no biggie and I was just happy I had managed to sneak in business class and have two dinners, champagne, and a screen to watch films.
My only concern was finding the next race I could cover. I hadn’t started enjoying that one and I was already thinking of the void after it.
To begin, it is important to say that I am not a doctor, a data analyst, or an economist. Am I an expert regarding the growing pandemic that is becoming one of the defining events of our lives? No, I am not. I am a bike mechanic who likes to take photos. There are smarter people out there who could (or should) be writing about this, but as it is, you have me. And I find it extremely difficult—even inappropriate—to talk about this year’s Mid South without acknowledging the massive elephant in the room. For some of you, these images or just the thought of a large group gathering may be upsetting. You would be right to feel that way, and I get it. If this were any other year, it would have been a widely celebrated event, filled with love and excitement from the greater cycling community. In a lot of ways, it still was. But given that upside-down is the new normal, here we are.
Disclaimer: This happened before the Covid-19 outbreak
I am a team manager/photographer for Deluxe, a skateboard company out of SF. It’s always a trip to say it out loud or write it down on paper but I have my dream job. The posters and stickers that adorned my childhood bedroom walls came from the very place that I commute to every morning.
“I never felt I belonged. I never belonged in my whole life, even as a little kid. I was just different and so I never really found my place till I moved to Nashville…” -Dolly Parton.
From the very first moment you step into Halcyon Bike Shop, you will feel at home. Although it’s not so much like being at a parent’s house. It is more like being at your favorite dive (that arty one on the edge of town), sitting in the booth you always sit. You know the one! It’s in the back corner next to the largest window in the joint with a couple of slashes in the red vinyl backrest. It’s a place where you immediately let your guard down and talk to whoever sits across from you for hours.
It has been a little more than 2 weeks since the start of The Atlas Mountain Race.
The proverbial dust has begun to settle and my friend Stefan Haehnel’s 35mm exposures have been developed.
He thought there would be a limit and that would stop him. He depended on that.
“An Atlas of the Difficult World – VIII” – Adrienne Rich
Before I left:
A month before I left, a bus hit me on the sidewalk as I avoided² the dangers of an indifferent suburb riding to the job I did as pittance-paid worker on a bike industry profit trawler. The night before I left, I couldn’t get the tire off, sobbed, exhausted. Six days before I left, I stopped having fun at a race and decided to bail, tired, beer softened, slowed wrong, ate gravel, wrist sprained. Before I left I destroyed my shell in the wash. Before I left I shook nothing down. I wasn’t ready but it didn’t matter. I had to go. How would I keep on otherwise?
Some of us are hoping for limits. There are reasons for that.
Up since the break of dawn, all day we’d been rolling on washboard roads. Yet it was hard to complain. We’d just spent a few days hiking around Ikara/Flinders Ranges National Park and it felt good to be headin’ north again. As the sun dropped toward the horizon I stopped for a bit of a feed. Dan rolled up beside me and we began to look for somewhere to camp. It was dead flat aside from the occasional patch of scrub. You could’ve pitched in anywhere but for some reason, it still felt good to choose a spot. It was then, with bikes stationary and no wind to speak of, that we were struck by the immense silence of our surroundings. This was our first proper encounter with the vastness of the Australian desert. The endless horizon. We had made it to the edge of the outback, and thousands of kilometers of dusty track lay in wait.
Sept 29th post-Grinduro California: As Nam and I packed up our secret van, preparing for the 2,500 mile cross country long haul to Ellijay GA, we couldn’t help but wonder what the hell we were doing. We had 4.5 days to make it in time for the 3rd annual Bikepacking Summit; an event we’ve been meaning to attend since it’s inception. Earlier in the summer Lael Wilcox and I had talked about presenting together, and we had to make it back east to visit family at some point anyway, so might as well just go for it in one shot. At least that was the thought process when planning months ago. We aren’t the types to be in a rush…time to hit the road.
FOREWORD: Back in May and into June, I had the pleasure of helping the crew at Angry Catfish for a couple of weeks as their summer season began to pick up. The following is a series of entries from a journal I kept during my time there. My hope is that through these vignettes you will get a glimpse of what it’s like to not only work at one of the most successful bike shops in the country, but be a bicycle salesperson and mechanic in the city of Minneappolis. Think of this as an extended shop visit, one where I get my hands dirty and experience the area and community the way those at Angry Catfish and other locals do. All photos are film, shot on 35mm and 120mm. Enjoy!
It has been a month since returning from the most recent trip to the US. That’s 4 weeks to digest all the colours, flavours, energy and emotions that come from every foray into the wild world of the United States of America. For this write up I am picking my favorite part – Soft time Tour d’Idaho w. Friends – Not the official name but rather what I recall it as. It was a modified version of the Idaho section of the newly formed Wild West Route. Pioneers of fresh route from Bikepacking Roots!
When I quit cycling for the first time in my life I was 21 years old. I´ve been loving it for some 18 years or so. But by that time, I was completely exhausted by a bicycle messenger scheme here in Germany that left me on the edge of homelessness. This was already ten years after I decided that the testosterone-fueled parental/official road cycling system of the same country was nothing for me…
This is the eighth layout of the Radavist 2019 Calendar, entitled “Eastern Pluton” shot with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 160 film in Big Pine, California.
“Located just a few miles east from the town of Big Pine, nestled amidst the White Mountains, off of Death Valley Road, is Papoose Flat. The Paiute occupied this area and most of the White Mountains into the 1930’s. They called this region Tovo-Wa-Ha and spent the warmer months gathering Tuva (Piñon nuts) to help the tribe survive the harsh winter. While it is a popular 4×4 OHV zone, it’s a crushing MTB ride with rocks, ruts, and deep sand. The steep grades are punishing but the vistas are an ultimate reward with high Sierra views and beautiful granite magma formations, unique to this pluton.”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2019 Calendar – August. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
The mobile background this month is an in-camera, triple exposure from the high Sierra. Click here to download August’s Mobile Wallpaper.
One year and a week ago, a vehicle’s faulty catalytic converter ignited roadside vegetation igniting a blaze that would consume 96,901 acres of Sierra and Sequoia National Forest, eventually closing Yosemite for the first time in the National Park’s history. This was the first “big” fire of the indomitable 2018 fire season that torched the Western U.S. and serving as an unwelcome backdrop to this 12-minute major motion picture.
Words by Coach Ronaldo Romance Jr. and photos by Team Brooks
(Gallery Photos are 95% disposable film cams that I handed out to the team. Felt like it captured the inner “race” pretty authentically; and the medium was pretty fun in a “trip to the water park” “safe grad night” sorta way)
Booming Billowing Blooping Blurping Gravel.
Even with DK getting as much coverage as the TDF, I trust the pace of the news these days has left your mind blank of such cognizance once again. That’s good, as my memory of competing in the event 2 years ago has also been selectively erased, perhaps that’s why I reluctantly agreed to participate in this particular edition.