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.
In what I hope will be the first of many monthly(ish) articles, of varying lengths, Nikolai and I visited (in)famous bicycle designer Mike Burrows, who has been a constant in terms of support, inspiration and taking me down a peg or two when I need it (always). Nikolai filmed our trip on my Sony A7iii as part of an ongoing project, so I decided it would be especially fitting for Mike to document our trip on celluloid with my Mamiya C330, and a little Olympus rangefinder on Kodak Portra 800 film.
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.
“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.
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!
With the New Year comes new expectations, new expeditions, new journeys, new faces, new places and new stories to tell. From everyone here at the Radavist, we hope you spend these next few days with friends, on and off the bike. Bring a camera, too!
We’ll see you back on Monday!
I hope you’ll excuse our absence over here for the next few days as everyone has taken off time to spend with their family and friends. Hopefully you’re doing the same. We’ll be back next week with more stories, photos and a killer year-end recap, back-pedaling through our best year yet on this website.
Thanks for riding along and cheers!
It’s that time of year when I can rationalize escaping to the wilderness for two days. Everyone needs a break, right? We’ll be back, full throttle on Wednesday.
Hope your weekend has been jammin’!
Guys, gals. I’m beginning to make the move to Los Angeles. Today I left Austin at 4am and began to drive out West, planning to arrive in LA Friday night. Next week brings about a MTB jaunt, a few awesome galleries and Interbike coverage, as well as some Austin-ender photosets.
Thanks for coming here, commenting and sharing the stoke. I can’t wait to land in Los Angeles and share with you some more rad atavism.
Film, like a road can make for many great metaphors. Sometimes though, a photo itself resonates meaning to not only the creator but the audience. I just got back a bunch of film from my weekend getaway to Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley, but this is one of my favorites…
Don’t worry, if you don’t like this one, there are more to come.
Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm
Vacation. Holiday. 3-day weekends. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the road is wide open and the sun is putting in overtime. Taking advantage of those days is key to sucking the last drop from life and its possibilities.
Last summer, I bought a 4 banger Tacoma pickup in Portland and it kickstarted a whole series of road trips. Most of which centered around cycling-related themes or events but it was the interstitial spaces and moments that I remember vividly. Sunsets, sunrises, rain, fog, wind. All of these had a specific scent and sensation. Most of which were captured visually throughout those long summer months.
I carried my Mamiya 7ii with me on every trip, loaded with Portra 400 220 film. It wasn’t until recently that I finally sat and dug through it all, compiling a Gallery of these moments and vignettes. They’re mostly in the correct order, beginning in Portland and traveling down south.
A lot of these spots are well-known, others not so much but they all serve one purpose: to inspire you to travel to the West Coast and see what you’re missing. Pardon the succinct nature of this intro, but there’s not much to say. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
A few of us are camping and attempting to recreate last year’s Super Bro Weekend, even though the looks less than favorable. We’ll see you later this weekend. If you’re looking for some ride inspiration, check out: Super Bro Weekend.
You might have caught wind of this already, but this morning, I switched over from the @JohnProlly handle to @theRadavist. If you were previously following @JohnProlly on Instagram and Twitter, it’s already switched to @theRadavist. If you want to follow my personal accounts on Instagram and Twitter, do so at @JohnProlly.
My reasoning was I would be able to showcase more of the contributor’s work, allow “take-overs” during events and most importantly, grow the community surrounding the site. There are a lot of big projects in the works this year and I can’t wait to share them with you, not just through my lens, but through other’s as well.
Happy New Year.
If you’re not following Digital Still Sucks on Tumblr, you’re missing out on a lot of great, yep, you guessed it, film portraits. That one of Meredith Miller is amazing!
I’ve been trying to pull together a Gallery from all of the summer road trips (and rolls of film) shot this year, but am waiting for the weather to get much worse. Although, it seems everyone’s dealing with record lows.
Regardless, looking at photos like this make me miss sun burns and late sunsets…
Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm
Kodak Porta 400
Last summer, after Keith Bontrager spoke at Mission Workshop, I got to spend a few hours with him back in his home town of Santa Cruz, California. The intention was pretty simple, gather some ‘lifestyle’ photos for Trek and Bontrager to use in ads, magazines and their photo annual book.
This is the tenth layout of the Radavist 2014 Calendar, entitled “West Texas Roads”. The camera and location are noted on the bottom left of the document.
Our trip from Vegas to Austin in my pickup truck was a blur, except for moments like this. Oh and Sedona. Sedona was rad. Anyway… The thing that sucks about traveling by car is that you never want to stop when you see a great road. After 13 hours of driving that day, we definitely stopped for this one…
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2014 Calendar – October. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)