Bunyan Velo Issue No. 03 and an Interview with Its Maker
The third edition of Bunyan Velo—A quarterly collection of photographs, essays, and stories celebrating the simple pleasures of traveling by bicycle—is now available! Within its pages you will find memoirs from 15 riders traveling everywhere from the Kenai Peninsula to the West Australian desert. I was honored to have my own article, An Impromptu Journey, and photography included in this issue.
Bunyan Velo is a visually stunning collection of writing and photography carefully curated and elegantly assembled by the magazine’s founder, Lucas Winzenburg. The latest issue is brimming with 11 hearty tales and over 80 photos from real cyclists sharing transportive stories. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two issues, I was stoked when Lucas invited me to include a piece in the third publication. Check out Issue No. 03.
The free, independent magazine has minimal ads (6 within 148 pages for issue 3) and lives and breathes through Lucas’ hard work and ability to wrangle a global community of readers, riders and writers. I thought I’d dig a little deeper and find out what inspired Lucas to create this tableau of two-wheeled adventure. Here is what Lucas had to say:
What inspired you to start the magazine?
Above all else, I’m passionate about riding bikes, especially as a way to experience new places, and I wanted to share that emotion with others. I had a blog or two of my own at first, but I quickly realized that there are far more interesting and articulate people doing incredible things on bicycles out there, so I decided to use my editing and design knowledge to put together a hand-picked collection of bicycle stories that I felt were beautiful and inspiring. And that was it, really. I started making phone calls and sending emails. It took surprisingly little effort to convince the original contributors to devote their time and energy to writing a story for a stranger with absolutely no connections or credentials, and with no promise that anyone would ever read the final product. I’ll always be grateful for that.
How do you find and choose contributors?
In a given issue of Bunyan Velo, the group of writers and photographers consists of a mix of personal friends, people I found through the wonders of the Internet, and people who approached me with their story. I have a theme in mind for each issue, and I try to choose passionate, thoughtful people to help convey that theme, loose as it may be. At this point I’ve already identified enough people to fill another 10 issues, it’s just a matter of finding what I consider to be the right balance within each group.
What do you do when you aren’t working on Bunyan Velo?
Something completely unrelated: I work at a small research center that provides satellite imagery and maps for scientists working in the Arctic and Antarctic, and I’m also a full-time graduate student. Bunyan Velo is a passion project that keeps me up late at night after I’ve finished work and school. Outside of that, I love spending my time going for long runs and getting out into nature. Drinking beers around a bonfire is up there, too.
What’s the best adventure you’ve had on a bicycle?
I don’t think I’ve ever gone off on a bicycle trip and not enjoyed myself. If I had to pick a favorite trip, I’d say it was riding through the Scottish Highlands with my friend Aaron this summer. It kicked our asses and we had a ton of fun. Something about the emptiness of the Highlands made me feel particularly free and at ease. In addition, the people we met were tremendously welcoming, and everyone was excited to tell us about the best trails and routes to ride. Thanks to a tip we ended up camping along the West Highland Way in Glen Coe, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Oh, and the sun didn’t stop shining the entire time we were in Scotland, which apparently never happens.
Are you planning any big trips in the near future?
Riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has appealed to me for a long time, and I think it’s finally going to happen next summer. I thru-hiked the Colorado Trail a few years ago and that part of the country has been close to my heart ever since. As much as I savored the opportunity to hike for an entire month, I remember being envious of the mountain bikers who’d roll past with relative ease, covering two or three times as much ground as we would in a day, while still being able to fully appreciate the sights and sounds of the Rocky Mountains. Beyond that, I have a few other trips to more remote and exotic places in the works, and I’ll be treating a tour along the Great Divide as a trial run. In the meantime, though, I’m trying to bring friends out for as many one-night and weekend-long bike camping trips as I can.
What’s in your bike stable?
Fewer bikes than you might expect, as my stable is also my small apartment. My day-to-day ride is a well-loved Bianchi Rita single-speed 29er. I’d say I ride that about 90% of the time. I built up a Surly Trucker DeLuxe for my ride across Europe and I’m completely in love with it. I also own a Surly Karate Monkey, though it’s currently in a pretty sad state of disrepair. I can probably squeeze one more bike in here, and I’m in the market for a handbuilt 29er for mountain touring, but I haven’t been able to decide on a frame builder just yet.