It’s like a switch. Clicking “book flight” gives me knots in my stomach; fear of the unknown, of being a woman traveling by bike in the southern part of India – a country literally halfway around the world. Most of this fear though, is bullshit. As German solo female cyclist Heike Pirngruber puts it, “Fear happens in your mind – fear is hardly ever a reality.”
That fear finds it’s way into our minds in large part via the media’s focus on bad news rather than good. A skewed projection of a world on fire, rampant with rapists, serial killers, and terrorists makes for an overload of well-meaning concerns by friends, family, and strangers.
“I am starting to think that seeing a woman riding alone can ignite a sense of fear in others. When they are telling me I can’t do something, they’re actually projecting their own fears onto me. If they feel that they can’t do something, then surely I can’t do it either—because I’m a woman and I’m small and I’m alone.” (Lael Wilcox)
Miles of Portraits eases this fear and showcases all the ways the bicycle brings people together. The series is a celebration of goodwill and the stories we all hold. It stands as a counteraction to all the bad news we’ve been hearing –– through the stories we tell about kindness
After a successful 2018 Kickstarter, a combined 20,000+ miles across and around the United States – including Alaska, an Adventure Cyclist cover story (download PDF here), and an 18-stop bike/speaking tour, we are asking you to Kickstart our round-the-world goal by pre-ordering the magazine and film of the first international Miles of Portraits installment – INDIA!
On our bike travels, we’ve realized that the people are by far the best part. Their photographs and stories make up each of these 40-page magazines and are what guide you through each bike trip.
Note that the photograph used for the India magazine is for mock purposes only. Photo credit goes to Mondo79 on Flickr.
Spreads from previous magazines:
The trailer for Miles of Portraits: Alaska
The trailer for Miles of Portraits: Southwest
While the magazines tell the story of our bike travels through the people we meet, the film series equally focuses on the stories of our own adventures – both riding with type 1 diabetes, getting over my city girl fears, rejoicing in the miracles that happen when we miss the ferry, and sharing the deeper reasons we ride.
Watch the full Alaska film series at milesofportraits.com/film.
Next up, India!
Sparked by a wedding invitation in Calicut, we’re cycling through South India in January of 2020. Our ~700-mile, 3–4-week trip will take us on a loop out of Kochi into the tropical, lush hills of Kerala and then along the southwestern coast of India down to Nagercoil in the state of Tamil Nadu. After having ridden the majority of our rides in the United States, we are so excited to finally get out of North America and out of our comfort zones.
We are still open to route recommendations so please do send them our way!
Erik and I know each other because we both have type 1 diabetes (T1D). Having it means that we have to do all the work for our non-functioning pancreases –– virtually a full-time job! It’s a huge pain but it’s also one of the main reasons we’re out here, to show that despite our disabilities, we can live our dreams.
In the same way that our T1D has reminded us that our health is not a guarantee, my mother’s death five years ago was the biggest wake-up call I’ve had in my life. Flashbacks of her bedridden ICU days encouraged me to leave office life and find a sustainable way to do what makes me the happiest –– ride my bicycle.
That’s why when you back this project, you are not just backing Miles of Portraits.
In chronological order
One of the biggest challenges is makings sure all of our content – videos, photos, etc. are backed up properly throughout the trip. We’ll be using a few external hard drives as well as the cloud.