Two Bicycles, Two Photographers, One 11,000 Mile Ride
by Morrigan McCarthy & Alan Winslow
October 29th, 2008
"We are sweaty, sticky, tired and sore but grinning ear to ear. Our bicycle odometers just ticked over 1000 miles. Only 10,000 more to go in our lap around the continental United States".
When we left for our 11,000 mile bicycle journey around the United States, neither of us were cyclists, nor had we ever dreamed of traveling by bicycle, let alone around the country, but we were compelled to document Americans and their opinions about the environment, and we decided that going by bicycle would be the most honest way to do that. We rode from Maine to Florida to California to Washington and zig-zagged our way back to New York. As we rode into small towns and big cities alike we asked the same, open-ended questions. We wanted the truth, so we refused to reveal our own opinions. We photographed what we saw and we interviewed pretty much anyone who had something to say, and some folks who didn't know they had something to say until they had said it.
We had many firsts on the journey: first flat tire, first time getting lost, first scary driver, first taste of grits, first time seeing redwoods and night spent sleeping under the desert stars. But a journey is not made up of firsts or lasts. The journey is what happens during the everyday and our everydays were full of routine. Wake. Pack. Find coffee and food. Ride. Interview. Photograph. Find somewhere to sleep. Set up camp. Cook. Journal. Blog. Sleep.
Our rhythm was steady through the nearly eleven months on the road and the pace was slow. We rolled past farms and through cities, through deserts and along coastline at ten miles per hour. We smelled the sweet pine of the southern forests and felt the sharp sting of hail through the plains, and though we set out to document what people thought about the environment, we also found ourselves also photographing the America that we saw daily: kind strangers, the warmth of new friends and the stunning and varied scenery that comprises this country.
In this collection our photographs share space with journal excepts and portraits, taking the reader down the same road we traveled- inviting you to see the America that rose to meet us on this journey, and the America that we fell in love with.