Earlier this year clothing maker Sportful sent a group of cycling photographers, storytellers, and adventurers out into the world by bike. The collective, dubbed Squadra Avventura, was tasked with exploring the roads & trails less travelled and sharing their stories. We’re seeing this approach more and more in the cycling industry, as brands get a few ambassadors with a creative eye to head out on tour, testing the newest gear, getting their brand seen both in the real world and across social media, and capturing the kind of imagery that inspires us to get out and ride (& buy) more.
Well, this is an idea that I can really get behind. As a cyclist open to pretty much anything on two wheels, seeing others take off on adventures really gets my wheels turning, literally and figuratively. The Adventure Squad has already shared their first few trips, but now they are giving back with a How-To feature on telling your own story through the photos you take. Embedded photojournalist Justin Balog offers some good tips to get us all started, and plenty of beautiful shots to handle the inspiration…
Blackburn’s Rangers were the first of the recent crop of brand ambassadors that came to mind, sending their riders on months long adventures for the past few years. More recently we’ve seen a bit of a crossover via 3T’s Xpdtn3 project, aiming to spread their aero gravel and road plus gospel, but also the idea that short multi-day bikepacking trips are within most peoples’ reach.
So far Sportful’s Squadra Avventura has already outlined a few trips near the forgotten northern California coast, the off-road rail trails of the Columbia River in Washington, or the Painted Hills of Oregon. So if you live near those, you’re in luck, but their blog style documentation seems as much about just inspiring us to ride more in general than following specific footsteps.
This latest entry in the log though is called Telling Your Story, and more clearly gives us three basic tips on how to take better photos of our adventures. I mean, if you’re gonna ‘Gram it, might as well make it good. Think about communicating a sense of place. Make time to explore. Remember the adventure continues beyond the bike.
The ideas target documenting your adventure rides, trying to express the feelings experienced when we leave our daily concerns behind and escape off the beaten path. But while there are useful take away lessons for the most epic rides, our daily feeds could benefit as well. As we spend more time connected to social media, dropping snapshots and tidbits of information on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, it’s important to take a broader look at why we ride. And what brings joy in our time on the bike. And, FWIW, in our opinion, what joy are those photos and words going to bring to those seeing them?
Not every ride has to end up on Instagram (or even Strava for that matter), but if you are going to share photos from your adventures, at least take some time to think about what makes them memorable.