WHAT WE CARRY IS WHO WE ARE
Bicycling South Africa|November/December 2020
A PHOTOGRAPHER DOCUMENTS LONG-DISTANCE BIKE RIDERS-AND ALL THE MEANING THINGS THEY TRAVEL
JAVIER RESENDIZ FERNANDEZ DE LARA

José Luis Osornio Ramírez, 29, San Luis Potosí, Mexico Rides a seven-speed urban bike

I got the idea to ride Mexico from end to end unsupported when I was on a ride in early 2019, and my rear cassette broke. It was Sunday afternoon, and there were no bike shops to save me. I had to go home pushing myself on a skateboard.

My holidays were approaching, and I had money saved and the support of my family. Four weeks later, I got off the plane in Tijuana. I couldn’t believe it! It seemed absurd and impossible. “What am I going to do now?”, I wondered. “I will pedal, until I become the sand that dries between the toes of Mexico.”

In all the forums I’d read, I saw the same advice: travel light. I decided to travel heavy, because I wanted to strengthen my legs. Everything was meticulously selected. I paid close attention to covering my skin; so as not to get sunburned, I wore two pairs of pants, clothes with UV50, gloves, glasses for hot days on the beach. I’d never used saddlebags, but they became a wonderful ally. My action camera was always at hand, even though I didn’t use it very often. What fascinated me the most to use was the drone – when you reach the end of a road, the drone takes you further.

I made it: 5 000km from Tijuana to Playa del Carmen, in four months.

Abril Georgina Morales Rodríguez (and Maku), 40, Oaxaca, Mexico

Rides a Giant Liv Tempt 29 V

Traveling with my dog, Maku has created a strong bond between us. It has been full of adventures that we have enjoyed and overcome together with patience, perseverance, and love. We started from Oaxaca, Mexico, in June 2018, and have traveled 2 500km so far. Our final goal is to reach Africa.

“I carry a photograph of me from when I learned to walk.”

As a woman travelling without the company of a man in this macho world, sometimes it can become the worst experience when unknown men see you as a sexual object and believe they have the right not only to comment on your body, but to decide what to do with it. Fortunately, Maku and my strength – not physical, but mental – have saved me in the most difficult situations. I’ve learned that I must never let my guard down.

Two very useful items for me as a woman are my female standing urinal device and my menstrual cup. I also carry a children’s book, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a green handkerchief tha’s a symbol of women’s right to decide on our bodies, a photograph of me from when I learned to walk, and three photos of infants that I had in my charge while I lived in Africa for 13 years.

Yì Qing Xú, 33, Zhongshan, China

Rides a Marin city bike

I’d been working in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and a co-worker said that he just finished a bicycle trip from Chiapas, which is a little more than 1 000km away. I was interested in going to Oaxaca, which is next to Chiapas, and travelling by bike seemed like an excellent option. So I bought a bike.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BICYCLING SOUTH AFRICAView All

WHAT WE CARRY IS WHO WE ARE

A PHOTOGRAPHER DOCUMENTS LONG-DISTANCE BIKE RIDERS-AND ALL THE MEANING THINGS THEY TRAVEL

8 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
November/December 2020

The Year That Wasn't But We Made It Happen Anyway

How did that happen? Will our grandchildren believe us? Filter out the almost overwhelming doom and gloom from the most miserable year in recent memory, and there’s actually quite a lot to be cheerful about – if you ride a bike.

9 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
November/December 2020

One-Gear Wonder

David Knee’s stripped-down single speed Niner SIR9.

5 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
November/December 2020

Build A Better Home Workshop

With bike ridership soaring, and shops backed up with repairs, now’s a great time to set up or improve your home workshop. Here’s some practical advice from Shannon Leigh, who teaches bike maintenance through her company, Radiant Wrench, and also breaks down common repairs regularly on Bicycling US’s YouTube channel.

1 min read
Bicycling South Africa
November/December 2020

I'm A Fat Cyclist – And I Don't Need To ‘Fix' My Body

My weight doesn’t need to change. But the bike world’s attitude towards me does.

3 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020

What Happens When Two Strangers Trust The Rides Of Their Lives To The Magic Of The Universe?

Once upon a road in Kazakhstan, two men converge in the desert. Strangers born an ocean apart, riding bicycles burdened like camels, they emerge from either horizon, slowly approaching a common point. Day by day, hour after hour, they make their way through the land as flat and featureless as a page without words. Thousands of kilometers spool out behind them. Thousands more lie ahead.

10+ mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020

14 Fun Tour De France Facts You Can Use To Impress Your Friends

How do riders pee on the bike? Why is there no women's tour? Why is the leader’s jersey yellow? We’ve got the answers.

6 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020

Red Devil

Alan Hatherly’s 2021 Specialized S-Works Epic

3 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020

The Way Home

Home was not a place I wanted to be. My dad had an unpredictable rage that often exploded at my older brother. Anytime he got hit, I felt it too. I was terrified, never knowing when the grenade might blow. I escaped by exploring the woods and creating imaginary worlds down by a slow-flowing stream. Inside, I felt treated differently as the only girl, made to clear supper dishes while my brothers played video games. Outside, I could be anything. Nature is a level playing field.

3 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020

The Selection

The last time I got better on a bike was when I decided I would never get any better at riding anymore, that my best days as a cyclist were behind me.

3 mins read
Bicycling South Africa
September/October 2020
RELATED STORIES

Mexico's Covid Codependency

U.S. stimulus flows to Mexico in the form of remittances and increased export demand

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 15, 2021

After a Grim Limbo, Hope

A migrant camp empties as Biden undoes Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 08, 2021

LESSONS FROM LUIS THE MONEY LAUNDERER

What drives one to cross continents the hard way? Is this what Overlanding is about? That persistent feeling that we'll never be caught if nothing can catch us? The optimist in me sure hoped that was the case. And after riding a battered old KLR650 35,000km from Canada to the southern tip of South America I'm still unsure what the purpose or motivation was. Worthwhile? Absolutely. Why? No idea.

4 mins read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
January - February 2021

What to Expect If You're Flying in 2021

Policies enacted by the airlines in 2020 may change air travel for the long haul.

3 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
March 2021

BEACH BOD: SECURED!

La Bella Vita

1 min read
Star
January 25, 2021

Ana Leovy – Confetti in Cancún

Ana Leovy’s glass is half full, effervescent with bubbles, ready to toast the day and share the good news. Maybe on a solo stroll, maybe with friends and neighbors, the message is clear in her ripe gouache and acrylic pictures. Follow the light like a sunflower, lounge proud with purpose. A tropical storm delayed our conversation, but didn’t dampen her spirits.

8 mins read
JUXTAPOZ
Winter 2021

Short hikes on the long PCT

Other than some extreme sports, one of the most agreed-upon measures of athletic physical endurance is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

1 min read
The Good Life
December 2020

Night Sky

Spend evenings under the stars in San Miguel de Allende.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
November 2020

Care and Convenience

Medical travelers find excellent options in nearby destinations.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
November 2020

FARTHER, FASTER

Installing ICON’s Stage 4 suspension system on a ’13 Ford SVT Raptor

2 mins read
Four Wheeler
December 2020