Why we ride – A cycle touring zine

Why would anyone travel by bicycle when we have planes, trains, and cars? They allow us to go further, faster, and explore more with a limited amount of effort in a limited amount of time. So why choose to go slower, to sweat, and to travel less distance? It’s a question to which I’ve never had a fully articulated answer. It just makes sense. But this is not satisfactory to baffled friends, family, and co-workers. I’ve tried many times to explain in more details.

‘I go cycle touring because…’

My voice normally trails off after those five words. Memories flood me, highlighting moments in time, bringing back heightened feelings, and it’s all too much. How can I bottle up all of this in one coherent sentence? I can’t. Instead, I chose to ask other cycle tourists why they do it. The Cycle Touring Festival in May was the evident place for it.

Armed with my film cameras and my audio recorder, I went around asking people their reasons to go touring. I also asked them to share one of their memory as I believe those are linked to why they travel this way.

The result of my investigation can be found in my new zine, Why we ride.
You can download it at this link for whatever amount of money you want (£0 is fine too).

It’s not perfect. I only spoke to 16 people, so this is by no means a scientific definitive answer to the question of why go cycle touring. I had only just fallen back in love with analog photography at the time and didn’t always know what I was doing. A roll of film came back blank and I ended up having to use my back up of expired film. But I like this zine nonetheless. It’s an exploration of a question I often think about, and it’s an experience of building a zine that I have enjoyed immensely.

If you’d like to read it, the download link is over at my website.

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Rediscovering film photography

Photographs used to be an art form. At least for me.
They were also a way to store holiday memories but that was a secondary meaning.

A single photo was a creative act.
First there was an active presence in a place to try to capture something of it.
Then there was intent in the choice of subject and angle.
After that came the forgetting and I would be back in the space outside.
And finally there was the excitement of getting a set of prints in my hands.

It was slow.
It was a little scary too.
But mostly it was fun, challenging, creative, and engaging.

It was a craft in which I was a full participant.

Getting a digital camera did not change much of that.
I was still full of intent, presence, and creativity. But it was less scary.

New doors opened and I explored a lot of avenues.
More than a decade later, I have lost my way a little bit.

I don’t create. I shoot, and it’s all too easy.

A month ago, I remembered the old SLR I found at my grand-parents house.
I was told I could keep it. So I did.
The camera was beautiful, an object that carried weight and memories.

I took care of it. I placed it on a shelve high above the ground and I kept it dusted and clean.

Until one Wednesday afternoon when I opened an old roll of film, loaded it in the camera and began shooting again.

Subject: Madrid, Spain

Camera: Minolta SRT 101 / Film: Lomography 400

Subject: Madrid, Spain

Camera: Olympus Pen EE2 / Film: Over ten years expired 200 film