While I can’t recall when the seed of this idea was planted, by early spring our plan to escape the reality of 2020 by riding from San Francisco to San Diego was beginning to take root. The year had started upbeat as I’m sure is the case for most people at the beginning of most years, but before long it took a hard turn in the other direction. Starting with a whiplash-inducing breakup that led to moving back to my parents’ house outside of Denver; those events seem small now in the context of everything that followed. As Covid 19 swept the planet and most of humanity began to shelter in place, our collective grief and anxiety began to feel like the status quo. As the days passed at a glacial pace (that was somehow simultaneously lightning fast), the snow in Colorado melted and this idea began to sprout as the earth began to thaw. At the same time, my best friend was dealing with his own lockdown situation down in Baja. Lorenzo had moved down to Ensenada late in 2019 to open a Gelato place (appropriately named “El Gelato”) and was absolutely killing it in the gelato game, helped in no small part to being probably the only gelateria in all of Baja. But when Covid hit, it hit hard and the dusty little town he was calling home completely shut down. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I started receiving regular text messages from him about riding away from all this bullshit.
As someone who tends to spend seven months out of the year on the road, away from home, 2020 has been a welcomed change, albeit with some major adjustments. Stay at home orders in New Mexico are some of the strictest in the United States and this forced me to look to my new home state for rides and trips. Suddenly, I found myself living at the threshold of beautiful high-country riding with endless possibilities for bicycle touring and mountain biking. To put it mildly, my relocation to Santa Fe has opened up a whole world of opportunity.
It took me a while to adjust to living at 7,000′ and a big part of that adjustment has been facilitated by riding with my fast and fit friend, Bailey Newbrey. Bailey’s accolades need no introduction here and it should be no surprise to any of you that he is an incredible rider. He’s so fast that I jokingly refer to him as the “mountain trout on two wheels.”
HIGH STEEP BROKEN MOUNTAINS: Riding in Threatened Central California Coast Public Land that lost protection to drilling and fracking upon the moratorium lift in December 2019, routing through the Cuyama Valley and Sierra Madre Ridge through Bates Canyon, Santa Barbara Canyon, and Quatal Canyon.
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.
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.
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.
This is the third layout of the Radavist 2020 Calendar, entitled “Shell Ridge” shot with a Olympus Stylus 35mm film camera in Walnut Creek, CA.
“April’s calendar photo features the cover shot from today’s gallery, captured by Bram De Martelaere. See Bram’s full gallery here.”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right-click and save link as – The Radavist 2020 – April. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
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.
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.
Where do we even begin with this post? 2019 was a year that defies all previous efforts here at the Radavist. Never have the pages of this site been graced with more exceptional photography and words! While we’re known for our full-res galleries, we really made a push to include exceptional writing this year. While this isn’t a top ten list, we’ve highlighted some of the exceptional work below. Stories that really stood out from our normal, year-to-year Reportage. Or if you’re a nostalgist, simply flip through the mega-gallery. Keep in mind, this one will take a bit to load!
I speak for everyone here at the Radavist when I say I can’t wait for 2020! Your feedback last week really helped all of us hone our vision and where we should direct our pens and our lens glass.
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!
Shot during the 2002-2004 cyclocross seasons, Pure Sweet Hell is a film by Brian Vernor and Willie K. Bullion that looks at ‘cross racing’s roots in an era before web edits and Instagram. Check out more backstory at Metroactive.
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…
So glad this video is out!
“Music For Free” is a musical celebration of wild people and places on the Great Divide from Canada to Mexico. After half a decade of musical tours powered by a bicycle, musician and poet Ben Weaver will ride 2700 self-supported miles from Banff Canada to the US Mexico border carrying his banjo and guitar giving free concerts to the communities along the way. Following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route on its 20th anniversary year the objective of this journey, aptly titled Music for Free, was to celebrate the people who have supported this iconic route and its riders while dissecting the question “What is wildness?”.
Edited, Directed and Filmed by Keenan DesPlanques
(This film was filmed completely from the power of Keenan’s legs, he rode the entire length of the route with Ben)
Producer and musician: Ben Weaver ”
You can also catch screenings of the video at the following locations and dates:
9.19 – Bike Fun Fest, Missoula, Montana
9.21 – Whitefish Bike Retreat, Whitefish, Montana
9.22 – The Stray Bullet Cafe, Ovando, Montana
9.24 – Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, Idaho Falls, ID
9.25 – Saturday Cycles, Salt Lake City, UT
9.27 – Wolverine Farm, Fort Collins, CO
9.28 – Pedal, Litteton, Co
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.