2017 Bikepacking Awards: Film, Photography & Art

In celebration of another great year for the bikepacking community, we’re happy to announce our 2017 bikepacking awards. Part One of three honors the creative arts, showcasing talented bikepackers with 24 awards in 6 categories, including ‘Best Short Film’, ‘Best Trip Photography’, and best art…

In an effort to recognize all that’s been accomplished in the bikepacking community, here is the first of three presentations honoring the people, teams, brands, and products who we think have impacted 2017 the most. Part One focuses on photography, bikepacking videos, and creative expression that’s helped spread the stoke; efforts that have taught others about parts of the world both near and far, encouraged them to document their own rides expressively, or simply allowed us all to share adventures undertaken by others.

So without further delay, here are our awards for what we what our judges consider to be the best, most impactful, and/or original photography, video, artwork, and creative documentation from 2017. Each category features four items – one top winner and three honorable mentions. We won’t deny wrestling over each decision… each entry deserves applause, so please take the time to admire and enjoy their creative efforts, just as we have.

Best Short Film

Al Hajar Traverse

By Tyler Allyn and Cooper Lambla. The Al Hajar Traverse has all the makings for a great bikepacking video – excellent camera work, good music, a sense of story and place, as well as ‘Plan B’ adventure. See our original full coverage here and stay tuned for more.

Honorable Mentions

Lee Craigie’s Inner Journey

by Lee Craigie and Kirk F Watson. Lee Craigie, co-founder of the Adventure Syndicate, explores her mind while bikepacking the Caledonia Way in Scotland. This film perfectly captures the essence of riding a bike over long distances. See our original coverage here.

Instruments of Adventure

by Bjørn Olson. Five friends traverse a large swath of southern Alaska by sea kayak, fat-bike, and packraft. Through interviews and footage shot along the way, the adventurers share their experiences and reflections about their journey and what it means to traverse through our natural world. Great pace, nice technique and excellent message. See our full coverage here.

Ramble Ride Series

by New Belgium. The Ramble Ride is a series of group rides that took place in Oregon, Colorado, and North Carolina over the summer. At the Steamboat Ramble, filmmakers followed three riders over the three-day ride, experiencing the pain, joy and excitement through their eyes. The one above was ‘Day 2’… See all three here.

Best Indie Film

Nature is Purposeless

By Emil Börner and Daniel Gustafsson. It was Emil’s first bikepacking trip in a year and a half after suffering a terrible tragedy during a transcontinental bike tour. Daniel shot the trip and the two turned it into beautiful short film that captures the whirlwind of pain and joy of this outing … Read the backstory and see the full piece here.

Honorable Mentions

Remote Encounters

by Jimmy Purtill Jimmy and Pia realized the main thing that kept them in the saddle and out exploring the world was the intimate way in which they connected with people they met along the way. So they decided to start a film project about just that. The second episode of ‘Remote Encounters’ in Austria is a great example. See our the full story here.

Given by Mountains

by Joe Cruz Four riders set out on a 23 day trip across Kyrgyzstan. They rode fat bikes over marshes, through valleys, and atop high passes. This is a film about the beauty of this place and how it remains with them. As Joe puts it, it’s ‘one old GoPro Low-Fi’ film, yet it captures a lot. See the full story here.

White Roads and Red Wines

by Gianluca Ricceri follows his partner on the 2017 Tuscany Trail in Italy. It was shot on a single Lumix LX100 (with final scenes on an iPhone after it broke). The result is a beautifully shot short film that shows just what can be done with minimal equipment. See our original coverage here.

Best Cinematography/Editing


By Montanus. It’s kind of difficult to describe this film without including the words ‘assault on the senses’. However, once you watch it, it’s easy to see why it takes the top spot in our category for excellence in cinematography and creative editing. See more about the film, photos and original coverage here.

Honorable Mentions

Not Far From Home II

by Joonas Vinnari/Kona Bikes Just released at the beginning of December, the second film in Kona’s series featuring Erkki Punttila is in the great north backdrop of Finland’s Lapland. This one is just as enchanting as the first (which took an award in last year’s Cinematography category). See our original coverage here.

Waiau-Toa Odyssey

by Simon Waterhouse. Waiau-Toa Odyssey is all about big New Zealand whitewater and incredibly scenic South Island backcountry. This isn’t the first award it’s won, and with a quality edit, excellent whitewater bikerafting footage, and a compelling pace, there are good reasons. See our original coverage here.

Baja Divide

by Jona Riechmann, Franziska Wernsing, and OSM Films. One camera, two bikes, a lot of time, and a pile of footage ultimately turned into a stunning film that perfectly captures an incredible route and one couple’s experience on the trip of a lifetime. See our original coverage here.

Best Trip Photography

Alaska to Argentina

By Mark Watson. Starting in July of 2016, Mark Watson and Hana Black began their transcontinental journey through the length of the Americas from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. Just through Panama now, Mark has already amassed an in incredible collection of photography that colorfully captures every aspect of the couple’s trip. Be forewarned, it’s easy to lose time admiring their travel blog. More at highlux.co.nz.

Mark Watson, bikepacking

Honorable Mentions

Iditarod Trail Invitational, Fat Bike Race, RJ Sauer

When The Trail Goes Cold

by RJ Sauer. RJ’s epic account of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational race from Knik to Nome, Alaska is as big as they come. The photoset was all shot on a point and shoot RX100, which makes it all the more impressive and allows RJ’s talent to shine through. See the full story here.

End of The Road, Tales on Tyres, Trans-Ecuador, Bikepacking

End of The Road

by Franzi Wernsig. As Franzi and Jona’s five year trip came to a close, Franzi capped it off with a nice finale while in South America. Check out the story The End of The Road and make sure to see this wonderful closing gallery over on their site.

Solstice Campout, Ryan Wilson

Exploring the Andes

by Ryan Wilson. Last year, Ryan enchanted us with his dirt road landscapes in portrait format. This year he has continued through the Bolivian Andes producing photos that are equally as enchanting. Check out his recent “Death Road” gallery over at The Radavist and follow Ryan on Instagram @RMDub.

Best Themed Photo Series

Night Shots

By Daniel Gangur. Daniel started capturing his bike in a new light during the Cloud Ride 1000 in remote Canberra, Australia. His perfectly executed night sky images caught our eye, to say the least. Stay tuned for a Rider’s Lens featuring his work and how it’s made… and in the meantime dig through his Instagram @gippslandimages.

Daniel Gangur Night shots, bikepacking

Honorable Mentions

Double Vision by Locke Hassett

Double Vision

by Locke Hassett is a “product of dirt, light, stupidity and celluloid,” according to the artist. But sometimes good art just happens in a seemingly effortless act of happenstance. See the full gallery over at The Radavist.

Federico Cabrera, Their Only Portrait

Their Only Portrait

by Federico Cabrera. Fede sets out on bikepacking trips through remote areas in South America carrying a small portable photography studio. While out riding he captures portraits of families and people who don’t have such a photo and leaves it as a gift. See the Rider’s Lens here.

Spencer Harding Wilderness Parking

Wilderness Parking

by Spencer Harding is far from your typical set of bike tour snapshots. Instead, this series, captured while roaming various National Parks in the western US, is a thought-provoking commentary on access to places and our relationship with wilderness. See more and read Spencer’s statement at Aint-Bad.com.

Best in Art/Multimedia

Ring of Fire

By Kim McNett, Bjørn Olson, Salsa Cycles. The Ring of Fire story site is as multimedia as they come. The layered and textured story, recounting a summer fat bike expedition in Alaska, is made up of photography, drawing, graphic design, video, and oral storytelling. If you missed it, go see it, if you saw it, dig in again. You’re sure to find something you didn’t before. Here’s the link.

Bikepacking Awards Art, Ring of Fire

Honorable Mentions

Chris McNally, Ramble Ride Journal

Ramble Ride Journal

by Chris McNally Chris rode the new Ibis Hakka MX in the Asheville Ramble group ride this past October, all the while drawing and painting places and sights along the way. Check out his full journal from the trip over at IbisCycles.com.

Passing Place, Whitney Ford-Terry

Passing Place

by Whitney Ford-Terry was a summer installation at the Missoula Art Park in an exhibition titled “By the Bike”. Whitney recorded audio from voices in the bikepacking community (Lael Wilcox, Lee Craigie, etc) and set up hammocks – created by Randi Jo Fabrications, DFL Stitchworks, and local framebuilder Marlana Kosky — in which visitors could relax and go on an audio bike tour. Learn more here and listen to the audio here.

cielito lindo bikepacking book

Cielito Lindo (poems from Baja Divide)

by by Liza Burkin, Illustrations by Ally Mabry While we haven’t seen this book in person, it gets a ringing endorsement from those who have. Judging from photos, and the poetry and illustrations found on the website it looks like an incredibly creative way to document a bike journey. Also find more photos of the book by Chris Goodman here.

Continue on to see part 2 of our 2017 Bikepacking Awards: Gear of The Year.





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