Monday, December 20, 2010

Don Thomas Strikes Again - Nat

My charismatic, dirtbag, wind-energy salesman and adventure buddy, Don Thomas has had a nice little run @ modeling these past few months. This fall, he made his debut in the Patagonia catalog and last week his hard work pedaling across South America landed an image I made of him in National Geographic's bucket list of the 20 most extreme adventure on the planet

On a separate note, I'm excited to see bicycle touring expand beyond niche media outlets and gain exposure to larger audiences through mainstream publications like National Geographic.  One of my career missions is to inspire more people to consider using the bicycle as a tool for travel, even if it does require putting up with the likes of Don Thomas for weeks on end:)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Co-Motion 2011 Catalog Cover

Co-Motion Cycles is using a self-portrait I made with my trusted steed the "Geoduck,"  a tricked out Co-Motion Americano that delivered me 18,500 from Alaska to Argentina.  It's been a while since I reviewed images from this adventure and the Co-Motion cover takes me back to windy days in Southern Patagonia--my tripod blew over several times before I was able to make this picture.  Thank you Co-Motion, thank you Geoduck, thank you tripod!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Adventure Cycling Association Tours Catalog Cover

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up a 47-day bicycle journey along Adventure Cycling's new Sierra Cascades Route with adventure buddy gMack. Challenging, beautiful, and lucky...2,400 miles along the backroads of the Cascades and Sierra with only 2.5 days of the Fall...are ya kidding me?  I'll be writing some articles and guest blogs about the route over the next few months, but in the meantime, some images from the journey are starting to turn up online and in print.  

One of my favs., gMack taking a mid-day siesta over Crater Lake, OR was selected as the cover for the 2011 Adventure Cycling Association Tours Catalog.  I'm all about pimping these tours -- they are truly a great way to vacay...and a big reason why the Adventure Cycling Association has been killing it these past few years, even through the recession.  

If you're curious, here's a link to an article I wrote about the Adventure Cycling Association's Tour of Washington a few year back.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter 2010 Patagonia Mailer

Last week, Patagonia used one of my pictures from the RibbonofRoad collection for a promo emailer for their new windproof gear.  I'm always stoked when they use one of my cycling images b/c I'm a big advocate for using the bicycle as a tool for exploration and travel and think that Patagonia is a perfect company to help push this travelosophy.  In my high school years, before I had even the slightest interest in making pictures, I used to take the ferry to downtown Seattle from Bainbridge Island and ride my bike up to the Seattle Patagonia store just to grab a catalog and look at the pictures on the wall. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mountain Bike Magazine Feature - Colombia's Coal Miner Cyclist

I was bummed to hear that Rodale's Mountain Bike Magazine was shuttered last month. In a media age where top ten product lists (that suck in search engine eyes) dominate so much editorial content, it can be tough to get actual "out in the world" stories approved. So, I was really excited when the editors of Mountain Bike greenlighted a powerful story that I proposed--about real people in tough circumstances doing extraordinary things.

The story, featured in the September issue (written by Grace Bastidas) was about Colombia's coal mine cyclists. These guys are the most inspirational people I've ever worked with. Recently, 70 of their friends and peers lost their lives in an explosion in a neighboring mine, a tough blow to the resilient community of Amaga on the outskirts of Medellin, Colombia.

I've attached the article, video about what it's like to descend into some of the world's gnarliest mines, and a few more photos. I hope to get back to Amaga to cover this story in more depth at some point next year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Client - Patagonia

Don Thomas, libidinous progenitor of umpteen-ish misadventures during my RibbonOfRoad trip, has made his way into the early Fall 2010 Patagonia catalog via a photo I made of him mountain biking through a forest of Giant Rhubarb plants in austral Chile.

We had just left Pumalin National Park, and everything was clicking along in a clickless way as we passed this scene. But the peace was rudely interrupted by the snap crackle and pop of el Don's rear hub--fricasse a la Shimano XT. Don hitched a ride with a tour leader from Patagonia Clothing Company for 50 gravely miles to the next major town with a bike shop.  The car had just dropped several of their employees off for a week of volunteer work at the future Patagonia National Park site. So it's oddly fitting that my first image in print for Patagonia Clothing Company is one that they were serendipitously involved in producing. There's my metaphysical panhandling for the day.

For more, check out the Patagonia store on Pearl street in Boulder.  Rumor has it that Don Thomas has been spending quite a bit of time there lately--offering autographed catalogs to outdoorsy, ideally ultimate playing, MTBing, can camp in the rain without whining about it, enthusiastic about nude hot spring-ing, tequila swilling, brunette, good sense of humor, hiking boots in the mountains heels on the town all in the same day, smoke free, confident, not too into Yoga or at least doesn't talk about it all of the time, can hold their wine glass correctly, speaks more than one language, traveled outside of the US (Cancun or Cabo don't count. Whistler wins points but doesn't cut the mustard), has managed to work through most of the skeletons in their closet, saucy and petite but taller than 5'6", played a sport in high school, can squash a bug with their own hand, well educated at a liberal institution, handles bumfuzzlements in stride, curious about the world, not afraid to let their man get carried away with himself or sleep in an old musty sleeping bag in lieu of bedsheets from time to time, 26-32 y/o single (or with current relationship on the rocks) genus femininum.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Outside Magazine - August Parting Shot Backstory

Outside Magazine is featuring a photo from my "Portraits of a Indian Bike Company" collection as their back cover "Parting Shot" in the August 2010 issue. The odd thing about this image is that I never consciously knew that I made it until several days after the fact. You see, just minutes after making the photo, I was drugged (long story) with a triple dose of some sort of hallucinogenic. I spent the next 30 hours on a wild, vivid, and sometimes scary trip under the watchful eye of my guest house owner. A recurring theme during my hallucinations (amongst many other things) were flying monkeys who took pleasure in burning me with motorcycle exhaust pipes--so I simply assumed that the monkey running through air in this photo was only part of my imagination. But a week after recovering from my cranial phantasmagoria, I flipped through my photo edit from that day and realized that this image was made prior to being drugged, that the monkey was entirely real, and finally remembered that I circled back to that location several times that week to try to get this cyclist with "monkey runner" picture.
So there he is on the back page of Outside magazine--a seemingly cute little monkey who was actually the sinister inspiration for an incredibly torturous and searing drug-induced head trip.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Italian Wedding

I was asked to photograph a wedding for a fun Italian/American cycling family a few weeks ago. I've never formally made pictures of a wedding before (or even looked at wedding photos b/f now that I think about it) so I was a bit hesitant to accept the responsibility. But heck, my assignments this year have included crawling 600 meters down a 1 meter coal mine pit in one of the more dangerous mining areas in the world and in 120 degree nuclear heat in the Thar desert--I figured that I could probably pull this off. Plus, the wedding location, an 18th century farmhouse in Italy's culinary heartland + only a few miles away from a 5-star gelataria + totally chill world travelin' cyclist couple = yes please.

Here's a few photos from the day(s) (I'm a sucker for confetti and rice throwing):

Italian Wedding - Images by Gregg Bleakney

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Portfolio Galleries

I've managed to snatch a few minutes to upload some selected images from India into two new galleries on my portfolio site. Please have a look!

Portraits of and Indian Bike Company


Hawking 4x6s to Tourists at the Taj Majal

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You can crush yourself on the cobbles too!

Inspired by yesterday's wild Tour de France stage over the cobbles? Ams. can ride them too. Some of my photos of non-TDFers testing the pavé before the TDF.

Read more at my blog post @ National Geographic Adventure.

Paris Roubaix Cyclo - Images by Gregg Bleakney

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Espresso – Pasta – Climb Hard – Gelato - Repeat

For the past two weeks, I’ve been hanging in what I can only describe as a road cyclist’s Never Never Land—a cobbled village in the Italian Alps with 2 bakeries, 3 handmade pasta slingers and no internet.  With world-class climbs from the Giro out the front door in every direction, my toughest decision every morning has been “what next?”  The 48 hairpin turns of the 9,050 foot Stelvio Pass, the agonizingly steep Motirolo that spirals up 4,265 feet in just over 7 miles, the sublime tarmac that twists through crisp alpine vistas along Gavia Pass, or a rip roaring 50 mph descent off the backside of Paso Aprica.  At some stage I’ll be writing an article about this so I’ll cut off my words now and let a few images do the talking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Co-Motion Advertisement

Co-Motion introduced a 26 inch super-dope version of their Americano expedition touring bike called the "Pangea."  I'm psyched that they are using some of my images from Patagonia for the 2010 ad campaign.

Paris Roubaix Cyclo for Weekend Warriors

The Paris Roubaix is one of my fav. events in pro cycling.  Once every two years, the route opens to euro-weekend warriors who want to experience what the pros have dubbed "The Hell of the North." The 260 km route travels over 50-80 kms of arse-numbing cobblestones. 

I made photos of my buddy Horst and his Swiss cycling posse during the weekend warrior/Cyclo ride this past Sunday and think that I learned every four-letter word in the Spanish, German, French, Italian, etc, etc, dictionaries while shooting a famously cobbled Le Carrefour de l'Arbre section.  It was a great event to watch and something that I'd recommend highly to those who really want to beat the hell out of themselves on two-wheels.  Those cobbles put a serious hurt on participants.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salsa Touring Bike Advertising Campaign

A photo of G-Mack spinning through the hills of Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh Highway near the border of Laos and another off the coast of South Kroea are being used for Salsa Cycles advertising campaign for their new lineup of touring bikes...check these rides out--the Salsal Fargo and the Salsa Vaya. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Work in Print - Adventure Cyclist Magazine

Adventure Cyclist Magazine featured quite a bit of my photography in last month's issue.  Topics included: rain gear evaluation for touring cyclists written by Zen master of all things that are balance and rain (or balance in the rain in this particular feature), Scott McCredie--check out his killer book on human balance here), how to ship bicycles written by Dan d' Ambrosio, and a piece I wrote with some tips on how to photograph cycling and specifically bicycle tours.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

India - VeloNews Feature - The Bombay Project

The UCI's new race in Bombay, India is featured via an article I wrote in VeloNews Magazine's May issue.
In Bombay, I photographed the piece with some nice digs to retreat to @ the end of the day but nearly broke my worst hotel record a week later when I pulled an all-nighter to write the article in a rat infested, sewage seeping on the bathroom floor, ceiling fan dangling from exposed wires, crumbling walls, $3 per night room next to the New Delhi train station.
This assignment kicked off an amazing journey through India for which I've mused about in more detail as a guest on National Geographic's Adventure Blog and the back cover shot for Outside Magazine.
VeloNews also ran a double page photo-feature from the article I wrote on the Vuelta Colombia in last year's volume.

Here's a few clips: