While many of the sites and vistas here are fairly well known, we will not be providing names and furthering keywording the area for the Internets. We encourage you to find a Canyonlands map, a cup of tea, and a good reading lamp and enjoy letting your mind wander the nooks, grottos, bends, and spires on the map unfolded before you.
The beauty of bikes is in the people who ride them—and how they all have a story. I have little doubt that everyone—serious riders, aeroed and grimaced, and carefree cruisers alike—have experienced that epiphanous fresh-air feeling of freedom that accompanies spinning your legs astride two wheels. Sometimes we just enjoy it at the moment—letting the short-lived wave of release and clarity wash over us during a weeknight burrito run, or a trip to the coffee shop. Other times we chase that feeling down with the hope that, somehow, it might change our life.
What first intrigued me about Josh Uhl was, however, not his history with bikes but his podcast Here For Now, which he started in February of 2021. Josh uses this platform to have intentional and intimate conversations with his guests about motivation, struggle, and the big whys of life. Listening to an early episode with Peter Hogan, where the recovering addict asserts that “Bikes aren’t God,” and to a later episode where the writer Zoe Röm reflects on the delusion of “authenticity” on social media, I found myself frequently nodding along. Yes, exactly.
This series is a look at the women pushing gravel cycling to be better than it already is. I photograph them to share their stories, their outlooks, their experiences.
With my hatchback stuffed with cameras and stands, camping gear, more cycling kit than I could wear, and my bike on the back I created this project. I put 3000 miles on my car over a month traveling around the country, connecting with these women in parking lots and trailheads, trekking through woods and up mountains. When I pulled up at the start line of SBT GRVL for my first bike race it was with many of them toeing the line as well.
Through every conversation, I learned more about them and the world of gravel that I’m falling so deeply into. I shot against a backdrop to single out, raise up, and celebrate these icons of the sport. Our time shared in this space I created sacred because of its intention.
What is more special than to create a moment, and then capture it?
“We have four kilometers to go with six hundred meters of climbing.” “Well, we can always walk.”
Self-named French “Team Tourist” is sitting cross-legged on a patch of gravel. Regardless of the weather or terrain, Mathias, Sophie, and Elise are smiling and calm, ready to take on anything.
Rue finds a tick behind her knee and Sophie lends us a tiny pair of plastic pliers to get it out. Then, she gives them to us as a gift.
“My hope is that we’ll all regroup here.”
Gaby’s phone rings.
“Okay. Well, that sounds like a good plan. How much is it? Okay. That’ll work.”
It’s day one and Sami is onto her second e-bike of the trip. She burned through the first one near Samoëns. She’s getting ahead and shooting from behind to make a video about our trip. E-bikes are incredible tools for media projects. Ali, the local expert, took her to a bike shop there to see if they could get a new battery and they said for some reason, it was so fried it wouldn’t charge. Instead, she’ll rent a new one with bigger tires, more suspension, and better brakes. With one camera enclosed in a scuba diving protective case, another strapped to a carabiner on her waist, a full backpack, and a drone in her hip pack, she looks like Lara Croft. On the new rig, she’s ready to rip.
I don’t consider myself an avid bikepacker. Yet, neither I think nor talk about riding my enduro bike (which I don’t have). Terminology in general has lost meaning for me in the past years in the bike world. I guess at the same time as many of us, I got overwhelmed with all the new kinds of everything, and the speed of development and diversity the market has achieved in such a short time. I tried to back off a little and find a short of safe place from where I can observe it all. And at the same time, the kind of biking I try to practice more is also quite determined by the act of observing.
I like to shoot the first frame on a roll of film no matter how carefully I load the roll I always end up getting something kinda strange and wonderful out of that first exposure – an effect yielded by the film’s interaction with light coming from two separate moments in time and space – the exposure of the film through the camera’s shutter, but also the light leaked onto the frame during the loading of the roll. One of my favorite photos ever is of my 17-year-old beagle/spaniel mix, Bucky, where he looks like he’s peeking out from behind a cascading sheet of liquid sun. The first exposure on this roll is of my friend, podcast co-host, and riding partner, Sarah rifling through overstuffed bikepacking bags outside of a country store in Damascus, Virginia about 15 miles into our 550-mile bikepacking trip through the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. The image of her trying to squeeze a snack bar into a nonexistent empty space in the top tube bag is itself neatly constrained into the 2/3rds of the frame not devoured by light exposure obtained while the roll was being loaded.
Bicycle tourists are some of my favorite subjects to document. Especially ones that ride by their own rules. When a fella named Beau Walters dropped me a line on Instagram on Sunday, asking if I was free to meet up in Santa Fe as it was on his touring route from Boulder to Mexico City, I naturally obliged. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!
This video documents a couple on a road tour through southwest Colorado and southern Utah in 1982. That’s prior to the internet, mobile phones, and GoPro. All images within were captured on Kodachrome slide film and were just recently scanned and uploaded to YouTube. Videos like this have all the bicycle touring vibes!
This video is embedded in today’s Reportage.
With $12,000 e-MTBs on the market, we asked ourselves, “what is the minimum you need in a bike to have fun?”… This is a wild ride, presented by Cjell Moné’s writing and Joshua Weinberg’s vision. Enjoy!
Swipe, BMX video, swipe, oh, nice curved top tube, super-sharp photo of a gorgeous frame sitting on OSB, @sklarbikes. Swipe, snowboard video, swipe, oh, (pulls phone away and back in toward the eye), brain knots and unknots, those seat stays are hard to comprehend @oddity_cycles.
Swipe, surf video, swipe…AD for an OG Klunker from State. Swipe, swipe, swipe, backswipe backswipe backswipe….$399?! Shut up. The lines on that thing aren’t half bad. Swipe, swipe… Backswipe backswipe… I can’t stop looking at this affordable klunker from State. It comes with Kenda chunky 27.5 x 2.2 tires, a 1 1/8 threadless fork, and pretty decent lines. Not a huge fan of the chrome riser bars, but hey those Vans grips…hmm hmmm. $399?!
We embedded this feature in today’s Reportage but are posting it in our Radar as well…
Cyclist Erik Mathy rides from San Francisco to Tucson along the historic Butterfield Overland Trail. Lugging his large-format camera, handmade ‘dollar bill’ lenses, and shooting on X-Ray film, Erik documents his interactions with a variety of people — from artists and activists to the border patrol — as he explores the subject of migration against the landscape of a politically divided American southwest.
On November 1st, 2018 I rolled out to cover 1200 miles of the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route from San Francisco to Tucson, AZ. For almost a year prior the headlines had been dominated by news of things happening along America’s southern border. Child Separations. Immigration Caravans. National Guard deployments. On social media channels the rhetoric from all sides, which had already been getting increasingly strident, ramped up to a fever pitch. Normal conversations spiraled completely out of control. I found myself caught up in it all, furious at family members, friends, and strangers alike.
As though they’d joined a cult and made some kind of suicide pact, having seen none during the five hours of driving previous, perhaps thirty pheasants lay dead in the road over a quarter-mile3 stretch. What had happened on this quarter-mile stretch? Why here? It made me regret buying the rabbit, but without screeching to a halt on a frozen dual carriageway it wouldn’t have been practical to stop and collect them. Even at 70mph I could tell some were past their best and it’s rude to turn up empty-handed. I was on my way to visit Ted, so turning up with roadkill seemed to make sense. I was running late though and didn’t want to rely on road gifts so I picked up a wild rabbit wrapped in paper from our local butchers. It was a relief they had it because plan B was the pet shop.
I’d debated not going to visit Ted of Ted James Design and just compiling the stories people tell about him. The chronicles of SuperTed! The stories people tell can seem fairly fantastic, however, worryingly most of the time they’re true. I sometimes wonder how Ted is even alive? If I were more superstitious, I’d say his spirit was too big for his body and so it spends all of its time trying to get out. There’s something in his eyes like the sort of superintelligence and frustration a sheepdog has about being domesticated, as though any room that he’s in is somehow too small, so his eyes dance about searching for exits.
You know how a hashtag can fuck you? Well maybe not, but a few years ago my good friend Nic and I had this idea … we’d always been intrigued by the pans – or mud flats – of the Northern Cape here in South Africa. At the time we were really getting into riding fixed gear bikes and one day it hit us – let’s take our fixed gear bikes onto the pan! Why not? Surreal landscapes, super smooth surfaces good enough for world speed records! Sounds like a good adventure right? We did some research and found out that that year there was a South African Speedweek planned in September 2014 on the Hakskeenpan, coinciding with the launch of a planned rocket-propelled car land speed record attempt – the Bloodhound SSC. We decided to travel up in Nic’s old 1963 Porsche 356 – it seemed appropriate. Bikes on the roof, gear in the back.
Today on the Radavist, we’re featuring a bit of unobtainium. Those of you who might have heard about this brand before know that the first batch of frames already sold out. For those of you unfamiliar with Rangefinder, it’s a collaboration be Adam Sklar of Sklar Bikes, Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication, and the painter Jonathan Pucci from Cicli Pucci. While the frames are gone, the process is what’s important and that process was documented with 35mm rangefinder cameras. We’re featuring the Mystic Project book which has over 100 images, slides, project text from Nicholas Haig-Arack, and final bike photos in a really special Reportage, so enjoy.
I got my first bike in 2010 and a few years later I was moving around four different cities, racing alleycats, road, cyclocross, MTB. I rode ultra distances along Route 66 and Translabrador Highway – the bike took me so many places, yet I began to realize I was looking for something I couldn’t find.
Coming off a week of downtime after one of the most tumultuous years of our lives has brought clarity to this annual retrospective. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect as Covid-19 gripped the global community and changed life as we know it. We looked to our new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the surrounding areas for inspiration, pinged our good friends for their penmanship, and listened to communities that have been underrepresented in cycling. What resulted were a lot of articles that tackled some big issues and the realization that we still have a lot of work to do.
I’ve spent the past few weeks mulling over our content and have compiled a list of some of the most meaningful and fun pieces from the past twelve months. Read on below for a selection of memorable moments from 2020, in chronological order…