Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the road's edge - Mermaids of Jejudo

one of the special things about traveling by bicycle is that movement takes places on the outside the places between the places.   it's not so much about machu picchu or angkor wat but the unexpected bits tucked between the folds of the journey.  over the years, I've met some of the most interesting people because i was moving at a pace that allowed for two-way observation.  

i've decided to share some of my encounters with the people I've met on the side of the road in a regular blog entry called the road's edge
First up--the living sea goddesses of South Korea's Jejudo Island--haenyeo.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Malheur Refuge Birds

I've been playing with my sound-recording kit today. Here's a recycled interview bit and photos from my 2008 Birds and the Beers cycling tour. This is from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Adventure Cycling Photo Contest

I've been hibernating in Olympia, WA this past week to work on my third article for Adventure Cycling Magazine.  Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to have my photography and writing published in their magazine, web site and catalogs.  With a number of larger-scale magazines producing bicycle photography this one...Adventure Cycling provides a pure venue for truly inspirational, "make ya wanna get out there" photography. This month, they're holding a reader contest for the "year's most inspiring bicycle travel photos".

Please check it out here...who knows, you may have the winning shot?


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Photos U forget but make you remember

My archive from the Colombian Amazon is around 10,000 photos or so. So when I'm hours deep into editing them and need a's kinda nice to stumble into forgotten the monkey lunch thieves. Hmmm...that was on Monkey Island in the Amazon which reminds me of...well, I have a feeling I'll be back there soon.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bike Friday Pocket Llama Review - With Rohloff Hub Option

Safety Concerns ***Updated 6/01/2011

It's been 2.5 years since I picked up my Pocket Llama from the
Bike Friday factory in Eugene, OR. Since then I've used it to cross the Rockies, Andes, and Alps on fully loaded cycling tours.  I've received enough email w/ questions regarding my thoughts about BF folding bikes that I've decided to post a's what I think about it.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cycling Saigon

There are 20 million mopeds in Vietnam. This is what it's like to bike in the middle of them.

--and the bikes are Salsa Fargos.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Article - The Ride Journal

The Ride Journal is a killer new cycling publication based in the UK. It showcases incredible writing and is as equally strong visually w/ work from talented artists, illustrators and photographers from around the globe. I was fortunate enough to be tapped to write a short essay about Bogota's cycling renaissance for this quarter's edition. You can order a copy of the Journal here.

Vote for Daveed Numero Uno

Daveed, Brook and I at the Tropico de Cancer in Mexico

I met Daveed Numero Uno for the first time on the side of the road in Camp Pendleton Military base in SoCal. He had just been robbed at a Jiffy Mart on the base. We were both cycling south through the Americas to Ushuaia, Argentina. I saw Daveed 1 again a few months later in Durango, Mexico (where he was dressed like a clown), then in Chiapas, Mexico (where he had convinced a Univision TV crew to follow him), and finally, nearly a year later in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile (where his front fork snapped in half and he crashed off the roadside).

He's a smart guy and I have a ton of respect for what he did during his cycling trip through the Americas -

Now, he's been selected as a finalist to be the citizen journalist rep in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference.

Go here to vote for him

He made a nifty little video about his background here

Daveed Uno, Brook and I, in the desert of northern Chile--about a year after the first picture was taken

Golden Gate Surf

If you're like me, you've probably heard the urban rumor that people can surf under the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point but have never seen it done. A big swell off the NorCal coast made it possible last week. Some locals were lucky enough to eat Turkey Day leftovers in their PJs and stroll down to the bridge for some evening sessions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finish Line Crossed - Asia

I left Asia last week to come to San Francisco and recover. Six weeks in Korea and SE Asia flew by, really, w/ a total of 12 flights and nearly as many overnight/long journeys on trains and boats...not to mention cutting a huge swath across Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia on a self-support touring bikes. At the end of the day, my first proper trip to Asia opened my eyes and curiosity to a whole new part of this planet.

Here's a short gallery of some photos that I made in Vietnam when I wasn't making photos of stuff that I was there to make photos of:


Vietnam - Images by Gregg Bleakney

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gregorio Blacklisted at the Border

The DMZ border of North and South Korea is the most heavily armed in the world and a strange place to boot. Gmack asked the wrong question...something like "how often do joint security forces do military this and that @ this that and other areas?" and had his camera taken away and passport re-checked (he got them back later).

The top picture is taken at the border--note Russian tourists on top of building in North Korea and the soldier checking us out with his binoculars. Second picture is Gregorio bonding with Korean army dude, and the bottom is the bus station in Seoul.

Friday, September 18, 2009

First Take, Korea - Personal Pictures

I'm in Korea for three weeks with my adventure buddy GMack. Though I'm focusing on assignment photo-cycling-stuff, I really can't resist making pictures of a sexy set of legs, stuffed animals, or Greg hammering an endless pot of cuttlefish stew. Here's a gallery of personal shots from our first few days in Korea.

우리는 한국의 주위에 자전거를 탄다!!!!!!!!!!


Korea - Images by Gregg Bleakney

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First of Colombia Work Published

Some of my work from Colombia is starting to make its way through the publishing cycle. First up: an 8 page feature article that I wrote and photographed for VeloNews. The magazine has posted an issue preview here. The print issue should be available on newsstands this week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back...Packing in Seattle

I've just made it back to Seattle after 6 months of South America and 1 month of California and a road trip to Grand Teton National Park. Strange however, that on my first morning back home, the first thing on my to do list was to buy tickets to leave again. It seems my time...this Seattle will mostly be spent packing and whittling that list down:)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

National Geographic Adventure Photo Video Series

Rich Clarkson discusses my pictures during second part of this video on new National Geographic web site for adventure photography. The Nat Geo Adventure Workshop series is in Jackson Hole again this year...strongly recommended!

*Link to National Geographic Video and workshop page*

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation from Colombia

I've been in Colombia for six months now and it continues to fascinate me--I feel like I've just scratched the surface. just when I think I got things figured out, or start to feel like I'm fitting in, something that's totally at odds with my "Leave it To Beaver Seattle suburb upbringing" happens and I'm put back in my place as the "Gringo Outsider". I call these my "HUH??? WTF" moments.

A quote from "Paul Theroux"book I just hammered out - "What was so strange about a man wearing bunches of garlic around his neck? Perhaps nothing, except the he would have not done it if he were not a Mexican and I would have not noticed if I hadn't been American."

NOW it's time to take a vacay from Colombia, go back to the US, visit friends, take care of personal biz, enjoy the end of summer in the PNW. take a rest, let my eyes reset so they can continue to notice the details--before the Salsa loses its sexiness...

So in what has continued to be life of contrasts, i'm leaving Colombia tomorrow--having spent the past few days working a story that's taking place 560 meters down a 1 meter diameter coal mine shaft w/ some of the most incredible people working in the toughest conditions i could imagine--make the jump from here into a tin can continental airplane and out the other end to the comforts of familiarity, friends and family in San Francisco and Seattle!

See you there!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bike Race is Over

After 15 days of traveling with Colombia es Pasion through several thousand miles of Colombia, the Vuelta a Colombia has come to an end. I wonder if this couple realizes it yet????

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Cycling Money Is On...Team Colombia es Pasion

Colombia es Pasion Cycling Team Bogota - Images by Gregg Bleakney

I love cycling, I love Italy and I especially love taking pictures of cyclists in Italy. However, I quickly loose my stoke if I have to stand next to a posse of other photographers doing the same thing I'm doing--taking pictures of cyclists in Italy:) Yesterday, while nearly every cycling photog and their mom is in Europe covering Lance Armstrong's big comeback at the Giro d' Italia, I was standing by myself, with a street slung Arepa in my left hand, Cafe con leche in right hand, at 5:30 am at a lonely gas station on the outskirts of Bogota waiting for a group of cyclists to show up.

What the hell am I doing???

I'm betting that a scrappy group of Colombian kids, --the U-23 Colombia es Pasion/Cafe Colombia cycling team, who just came back from Europe to train in their hometown (the third highest major city in the world)--is going to blow everyone away in the big European races over the next few years. I want to be here, by myself, as this story begins. For me it started yesterday during a 105 KM training ride that kicked off at 8,700 ft.--hitting 85 KM/HR on the flats and who knows on the descent of Altos del Vino.

Oh...and BTW - I'm liking the odds of my bet so far:) these guys just secured a #1 world ranking and cyclist Fabio Duarte already won the U 23 world Championship. They want it bad--and also happen to be a great group of people to work with.

I'll be with them in their training camps and during the toughest stage race in the world "La Vuelta a Colombia" over the next month or's going to be a wild ride.

Some pictures from yesterday with the Colombia es Pasion Cycling Team:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bogota - The Guitar Master - Shakira

"Shakira is not Colombia anymore--she is business"

- The Guitar Master of Bogota

Just one of the conversations I've had wondering around Bogota...snapping pictures of the interesting things and people I encounter along the way. I've started a gallery of Bogota photography where I'll keep droppin' shots as time goes by.

Bogota - Images by Gregg Bleakney

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

I ate Piranha head soup last week and it seemed quite normal--In fact, normal enough to get me thinkin' that I've become pretty used to being away from Seattle, WA. Well...maybe not quite yet...there's always something about a good ol' scary looking spider, snake, or whaterver else that gives you a nice chill up the spine. I've been to 3 very wild areas in Colombia during the past 2 months...and there has certainly been no shortage of critter sightings to keep me shaking my shoes out every morning and wonderin' "is that really my Croakie strap tickling the back of my neck again?"

Here are some of my favs and their given names (I included some not so scary things too):

A "holyshitthatthingisHUGE"-apede.

A classic Tarantula

A classic Tarantula that walks on water

A classic big spider that you think is a Tarantula and you don't see until after you walk through its web.

Cool lookin' really fast lizard

A centi-worm-ish thing

A really poisonous snake on the ground that the entire village summons "gringo gringo" to look at before they cut its head off and throw it in the Amazon

A really poisonous snake sleeping in a tree above you that you notice after your canoe gets stuck on a log--you hope will not fall on top of you

A cool bird with big eyes

A cute frogster

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pictures in the Candelaria

In-between trips to far-flung places in Colombia I always come back to Bogota.

Recently, I've been spending time in the Colonial district called the Candelaria. It's a pretty inspiring place to hang--I'm just two blocks away from the Botero Museum, a cobblestone's throw from Magnum Phtogorapher Rene Burri's exhibit, and a hop skip and a jump from new public library which hosts a series of concerts and conversations...the last as with National Geographic explorer Wade Davis paired with a photographic exhibit "Lost Amazon" by Richard Evans Schultes.

I wander around the new digs and shoot as much as possible--trying to make at least one interesting picture per day--here's 7 daily shots from my new basecamp.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

To the Orinoco

Tomorrow, I head out to the Orinoco River Delta along Colombia's remote border post with Venezuela. I'll be staying at Fundación Omacha's la Reserva Natural Bojonawi--a protected wildlife refuge. Omacha is well known for its programs that document and protect freshwater pink and grey dolphins throughout the Amazon and Orinoco ecosystem. The Bojonawi reserve is also near Parque Nacional Natural El Tuparro--which has just opened to visitors this past year.

Here's where it is:

View Larger Map

If you want to learn more about Omacha check out this video from the National Geographic Society:

So I'm saying goodbye to the Big's a few pictures of Bogota I took while cycling around:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Stock Archive

You may have noticed via some sneak peaks and other picture gallery posts--I've launched my new stock archive!!!! I still have a lot of work to do on this but the basic framework is now in place.

I call it the Gregg Bleakney Stock Archive--what is it?

For me, it's a place for editors and image buyers to search and tag a database of images I've shot over the past few years. This takes time because each photo needs to be captioned and key worded so that people can find what their looking for. For example, someone may want a photo of a cyclist in Peru in a mountain range...well they can now use a search function in my stock archive to find it. I also use this service behind the scenes to organize and share groups of recently photographed images to editors. In the future, I plan to make some of these photos available to download for personal use and as iPhone backgrounds.

I've split a base group of images into several categories for easy perusing.

1) Popular Images - These are photos that I sell frequently or consistently receive high hit rates.

2) Cycling - Journey, Adventure, Touring - Groups of bicycle touring photos from my tours and on assignment for people like the Adventure Cycling Association in different parts of the world.

3) Cycling - Races, Recreation, Culture - Photography from competitive events like the Paris Brest Paris and group charity rides like Climate Ride.

4) People - My latest personal work focus has been on cultural images...I've become fascinated with taking pictures of interesting people, especially photography in Colombia.

5) Outdoor Lifestyle and Adventure - Non-bicycle related playtime outdoor photography. Friends who I force into modeldome may find themselves in this gallery.

6) Travel - Still fleshing this one out but the space is devoted into non-adventuring travel pictures.

7) Landscapes - When I first started taking pictures, I'll I wanted to do was to make a record of my favorite landscapes...I still like to do landscape photography this and this is a space to showcase the work.

8) Fresh Images - I try to shoot everyday. This is where I load some of my favorite "fresh" imagery.

I also have a space to group sets of images under a common theme...For example, Bicycle Photography for specific tours or assignments or groups of photos from different PLACES I've been.

OK - Back to work on this.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Amazon

Or "go directly to my Amazon River Photography Gallery" if you do not see the image above.

Here's a group of some of my pictures from the Amazon. I tossed in a few travel but mostly cultural images of life along the river.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

End to End Amazon

I spent the past three weeks working in the Amazonas state of Colombia. My dream come true...I covered every inch of the Colombia's triple frontier from Brazil to Peru. My trip up the Amazon has been a life highlight. More photos and stories to come.

More to come.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Article PDFs Now Online

I now have a link on my portfolio site to full PDFs of some of the published writing and bicycle touring photography I've done for Adventure Cycling and others.

For example, last summer I took pictures of one of the Adventure Cycling Association's guided tours. "Guided" means that the tour comes with a humorous trip leader, fully loaded portable kitchen, mechanics, and a truck that transports all of your stuff.

The pictures I took turned into a story I wrote about the tour--published in this month's magazine. You can read the adventure cycling article here.

BTW - I think their tours are one of the best travel deals goin' right now. The price is worth it for the food alone!

Check this link to check em' out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ten Top Bicycling Tours Selected by Adventure Cycling

Adventure Cycling just came out with its second annual Top Ten Tours feature. If you're jonesin' to take a killer bicycle tour this summer then you should check the press release out HERE and full article HERE.

My favorite tour is the "Colorado High Country" route...but of course I'm biased because I wrote that one:)

Here's a shot from the trail of that tour with cycling companions Don Thomas and Doc Nords:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nature on the Lost Coast Pictures

Now that I have everything dried out and organized after my boat capsized in the Pacific...I've had a bit more time to sort my shots from the Lost Coast. Here's a sneak peak at some of the nature-ish stuff out there...Tarantulas, snakes, exotic flowers, birds, dolphins, whales, and amazing beaches...this place had it all. (the snakes were too fast for me to get on film).

*You can click on these to get big view*

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rain Gear Evaluation - Olympic National Park

Last month, writer Scott McCredie contacted me about testing some rain gear for cycling. The idea...let's test cycling gear in the rainiest place in the lower 48 at the rainiest time--the Quinault and Hoh rainforests in Olympic National Park. It was a blast--but likely the only time I've been out there when it didn't rain. Here's a sampling of shots:



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back in the World - and almost on Gilligan's Island

For 2009 I'm pursuing some personal and professional projects in South America. Rather than spend my time and cash flying back and forth from Seattle, I decided to base myself in Colombia and Argentina for the bulk of the year. So back in the world I is once again!

The route south:
For $100 I hopped a flight from Seattle to Miami and hung with pal Steve Gross and gal Dolleen for a few days before hitting Everglades National Park and another $104 dollar flight to Bogota. The $ catch...Delta airlines hosed me with over $200 worth of hidden baggage surcharges on my flight to Miami. From Bogota, I hooked up with my friend Carolina, who is starting an adventure travel company. We took a all-night bus (that didn't make one stop in 9 hours...not even for bathroom breaks) to Medellin and then a crop-duster to the Pacific Coast. From there we caught a boat to a tiny little village on the coast. Carolina was exploring new travel itinerary options in Colombia along this "Lost Coast", we hiked the entire stretch over 3 days.  

I must say, the potential in this part of Colombia is truly untapped...think Costa Rica with clutter free beaches, less...or I should say almost ZERO touristas, whale encounters, a largely unexplored National Park, never-ending wildlife, and an Afro-pacific vibe. The small hotel I crashed at in the main port town of Nuqui registered 3 foreigners in the past 3 years...2 Swiss and 1 American--a surfer who evidently broke his board and bailed on the next flight out.

I could write on and on about this place but you should just come down and see for yourself...or better yet, sign up for one of Carolina's tours. 

However, as this is a truly raw destination, the trip did have some pretty sketchy and raw moments.

After completing the 3-day coastal hike we decided to source a small fishing boat to return to the Aiport at Nuqui.  To make a long story short. The surf picked up and we were were struck by two huge waves which capsized and sunk the boat. I must now cross another 1 of my 9 vidas off the list. A group of fisherman from shore spotted us and somehow swam out through the surf break to save us and recover the boat. It was a day of mixed emotions but luck and good people prevailed in the end. Much of my gear was trashed. I manage to save my camera equipment and fired off a few shots during the moment (below). 

I did lose my beloved iPhone and Patagonia sandals to the sea. Those who know me well will understand this tragic loss of gadgetry and footwear. The good news is that my electric toothbrush vibrated back to life 3 days after the plunge.

Though I still have fun shooting landscapes and adventure stuff, my work focus in Colombia right now is cultural. Above is an embedded gallery of a few images from the rural fisherman and peasants that live along this coastline. I made some of these in black and white, my first time ever...which is kind of strange since I'm colorblind (thank you Nelson for the suggestion which I rejected at first but then reconsidered on the flight down).