FLOW STATE LIGHT PAINTING PHOTO & VIDEO PROJECT

“Think of bicycles as ridable art that can just about save the world”

(Grant Petersen — Bicycle Designer)

MTB FLOW STATE

Cyclist’s chase flow state “dragons” on asphalt, gravel and dirt, rock, sand and snow, no matter the heat or chill, gnats or nasty drivers.

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he wind, the speed and the margin of danger force you to remain sharply focused on the present moment and aware of every detail at close and distant range. Our lines of motion interweave with the wagon routes and deer paths that long preceded our trails and roads. Our skills are tested on root patterns and geological features that have been arranged and rearranged over millennia. Time seems to compress and three dimensions seem to expand, relative to changes in speed and the density of the tunnel of trees and forest growth around the trail.

I wanted to bring energy and animated color to what it feels like to be that six-year-old girl every time I set out on two wheels

I

have lost count of the thousands of miles I’ve spent in the saddle, from daily Brooklyn commutes to cresting glacier passes in Alaska, hammering down rock gardens in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate NY, fat biking on the ocean beaches of Fire Island to navigating Red Rock step-downs (and step-ups) in Sedona.

But none of these places will ever replace the moment I got that final push from my father as I made my first ride down the driveway on my sister’s hand-me-down banana seat bike. It was both exhilarating and terrifying. Hearing him coaching me on, “When you tip to one side, turn your wheel towards that side!” I peddled, I wobbled and I rolled straight towards my little daredevil self and tasted the independence, the adventures, moments of catching air and inevitably the miscalculations and chin stitches to come.

LIGHT PAINTING VIDEO PROJECT — EXTENDED CUT

As I was formulating ideas around this project, into my inbox appears an announcement about World Ride’s First Annual Women’s Mountain Biking Film Contest. I suddenly had a good reason to make real my ideas and I now had a deadline.

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he MTB FLOW STATE Light Painting project is an attempt to visually describe how cyclists experience these different terrains and distances as a convergence of physical endurance and agility, natural elements of dirt, trees, sun and wind and the high-tech gear that allows riders to not only ride over rocks and roots, but use them as gravity amplifiers.

And I wanted to speak from the perspective of being a woman in the sport and a relative early adaptor of mountain biking in the mid-90s. I was curious what the experiences were of other women in different parts of the world and of different ages and activity backgrounds.

I collected interviews with several women riders, one of whom grew up in Australia and now lives in Bend, Oregon.

I have grand plans to do a much more involved Light Painting video shoot with a cable system running through the trees along a winding trail so I can capture and transpose real-time video with Light Painting videos. Stay tuned…

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“The closest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”

(John Muir)