’20 in 20 Photo Annual

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While many of us are ready to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, we also recognize these last days as an opportunity to look back at the moments that made it unique, powerful, and memorable. As part of this process, we gathered 20 of our favorite and most inspiring photos we published this year. See them here…

This year has presented challenges for all of us on many different levels. In addition to tragedy and loss, the unprecedented physical and emotional isolation has taken its toll and tested each one of us in our own way. All the while, the world has witnessed countless events with meaningful impact. Along with these challenges comes the opportunity for growth. There’s no doubt that we’ve all learned a lot during this trying and atypical year, and we’re grateful for the chance to learn from our mistakes, confront new moments and viewpoints, and continue the evolution of our own voice.

We’re also thankful for our most productive year to date. So far in 2020, we’ve published 1,058 posts consisting of 351 original articles, 593 news Dispatches, 51 Reader’s Rigs, and 63 new routes, including a ton of great local overnighters. Not to mention, we also started a YouTube channel and made 43 original videos, as well as printed and shipped two issues of The Bikepacking Journal to our members around the world. Even more staggering, we uploaded over 16,000 photos in 2020. To commemorate this, we’re taking a look back on 2020 through 20 photos that inspired, anchored, and enchanted us. Photos that kept us going and dreaming about what comes next. And photos that capture the moments and mood of the year at its best.

Resolution Race, cargo bike tour

Resolutions

location Denmark camera James Robertson

To kick it off, this portrait was taken on January 1st of 2020, just after four women finished a 1,000-kilometer, self-supported ride on two cargo bikes from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Copenhagen, Denmark, before the clock struck midnight on the New Year. The Resolution Race was conceived to promote bike travel and a climate-neutral Edinburgh. See the story and more photos here.

Plains Perspective, Bikepacking Texas, Jerod Foster

Plains Perspective

location Texas camera Jerod Foster

Our Bikepacking Collective members might recognize this image from the back cover of issue 04 of The Bikepacking Journal, which was shot by Jerod Foster to accompany writer Brandon Weaver’s piece “Plains Perspective,” a story about the bonds forged through bikepacking, and proof that adventure can be found anywhere. Dig into the web version of their story here.

Alexandera Houchin Colorado Trail ITT

Aakozikwe: Alexandera Houchin

location Colorado Trail camera Eddie Clark

You probably saw this photo recently in our end-of-year awards, but when tasked with picking out photos that inspired and kept us going in 2020, this one jumps to the top of the list. Alexandera Houchin’s Aakozikwe is an honest and personal look at her attempt to set the new fastest known women’s time on the Colorado Trail this past summer, and this photo taken by Eddie Clark captures the spirit of positivity that we all needed this year.

Lian van Leeuwen, Jelle Mul, Amsterdam

Time Out Quarantine

location Amsterdam camera Jelle Mul

This photo captures the haunting stillness of an otherwise bustling city at the peak of COVID-19 quarantine over the summer and is one in a collection of images that are forever etched into our memory. In Time Out, photographers Jelle Mul and Lian van Leeuwen spent a day riding around an Amsterdam, and Lian later reflected on the lessons we can learn from this unique moment in time.

Gaelle Bojko, Lake Baikal

Frozen Lake Baikal

location Siberia, Russia camera Gaelle Bojko

Carried out just before the pandemic hit, Gaelle Bojko’s winter traverse across Siberia’s Lake Baikal was a harrowing solo effort. Her amazing set of images from this trip not only capture the stillness and isolation of the trip, but shots such as this one reflect the solitary tone that has become something of a new normal. Find the original story here.

Ali Jones, Australia Fires, Climate Crisis, Victoria Divide

Climate Reality

location Australia camera Ali Jones

In late February, Ali Jones and a group of friends took on the 550-kilometer Victoria Divide just as bushfires began ripping across Australia. What was intended to be a leisurely ride turned into a sobering, head-on confrontation with the climate crisis. Find their story here.

Bikepushing

location Nepal camera Chris Stubel and Jess Guatney

From issue 04 of The Bikepacking Journal, Chris Stubel and Jess Guatney’s piece offered a great set of photos from their trip through Nepal that reflects the story’s title. This particular photograph was something special that pretty well sums up the challenges and rewards faced by the couple during their trip.

2020 PEdALED Atlas Mountain Race, Morocco, Lian van Leeuwen

Atlas Mountain Race

location Morocco camera Lian van Leeuwen

The Atlas Mountain Race started in late February and was the last big ultra to take place before COVID-19 all but decimated the bikepacking race calendar for 2020. This image is one from another great set by photographer Lian van Leeuwen that helps us look forward to the next season. Find the original photoset and coverage here.

Huw Oliver, Bikepacking Greenland

Escape

location Greenland camera Huw Oliver

Huw Oliver and Annie Le arrived in Greenland for a bikepacking trip at the tail end of last winter, not long before COVID-19 lockdown measures went into effect. In “Slow and Precious,” Huw documents the beautiful Greenlandic landscapes and reflects on the lessons he’s still learning from a trip that was cut short when faced with the prospect of having to stay in Greenland indefinitely. Read it here.

bikepacking okanagan

Bikepacking Okanagan

location British Columbia camera Matthew Clark

Despite the smokey conditions they encountered in the route, the selection of images from Kristian Manietta and Matthew Clark’s weekend trip to BC’s Okanagan Lake have us dreaming of traveling there to see the area for ourselves when it’s safe to do so again. Find the full set of images here.

VTXL Bikepacking Route

VTXL

location Vermont camera Donalrey Nieva

We published a multitude of fantastic routes this year, mostly local adventures dreamed up and perfected by people in their own backyards. Joe Cruz’s VTXL is one such route that traverses Vermont and finishes near his home on the southwest corner of the state. This amazing shot by Donalrey Nieva was one of many great images in the photset for the route.

Ruta del Capitan Lemos, bikepacking route

Ruta del Capitan Lemos

location Argentina camera Mark Watson

As we’ve come to expect from regular contributor Mark Watson, his photographic documentation of the Ruta del Capitan Lemos is exceptionally well done, with a sprawling gallery of beautiful photos of the route, bursting with color and capturing the essence of the mountainous region between Argentina and Chile. See the full route guide here.

Ana Zamorano, Iranian Kurdistan

Not Only Mountains

location Iranian Kurdistan camera Ana Zamorano

As part of a larger journey around the world, photographer Ana Zamorano spent a month riding through Iranian Kurdistan, where she slowed down to connect with the locals in the unique and infrequently visited region. Her portraits of the families she spent time with during her stay are among the most memorable of the year. Find her story here.

Iohan Gueorguiev, Ruta de los Seis Miles

Iohan Gueorguiev on Ruta Seis Miles

location Chile/Argentina camera Iohan Gueorguiev

Solo adventurer Iohan Gueorguiev has been traveling by bike for nearly seven years, all the while creating an incredible collection of self-made films to document his journey. As Iohan drew near the finish line of his southbound trip from Alaska to Argentina, he took this self portrait that captures his pensive and positive demeanor in a remote place. Find the video and more photos from this particular segment of his trip here.

CAF Smoke n fire Film

Challenged Athletes Foundation: Smoke ‘n Fire

location Idaho camera Challenged Athletes Foundation

In September, four members of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) took on Idaho’s 400-mile Smoke’n’Fire bikepacking route, making them the first athletes with permanent physical disabilities to attempt the route. The foundation documented their journey with an excellent short film and set of photos. See it all here.

Migration Gravel Race Kenya, Sule Kangangi, Team AMANI

Migration Gravel

location Kenya camera Lian van Leeuwen

Earlier this year, Dutch photographer Lian van Leeuwen happened upon this enchanting sunset scene of a rider observing a pack of zebras while scouting the route for the upcoming Migration Gravel Race in Kenya. She put together a photo-heavy interview with the organizers to share the important story of the race and its mission. Read it here.

Antonio Gallardo Photography

Antonio Gallardo’s Portraits

location Italy camera Antonio Gallardo

Back in March, we shared a collection of Mexican photographer Antonio Gallardo’s images, mostly all shot while traveling around the world by bike. Among them were some fantastic portraits of people he met as he rode, including this one from Gallipoli, Italy. Find his full set of images here.

Slim Wonder, Rider's Lens

Slim Wonder

location Georgia, USA camera Slim Wonder

We put together a Rider’s Lens feature on enigmatic photographer and Instagram personality Slim Wonder back in May, who shared a glimpse into his daily life and his efforts to document the mundane in his own unique way. Take a look here.

Jordan Bike Trail, Axel Carion, Jonas Deichmann

The King’s Way

location Jordan camera David Styv

In the spring, ultra-endurance riders Jonas Deichmann and Axel Carion set a record time on the Jordan Bike Trail, traversing the spectacular 730km route from Umm Qais to Aqaba in just 120 hours. The photos of their attempt showcase Jordan’s unmistakable beauty. Read more here.

Bear Bones Bash Bikepacking

A Familiar Road

location United Kingdom camera Chris Goodman

The right angle, good light, and perfect timing are all key ingredients to a good photo. Chris Goodman nailed it in this and many others in Return and Rediscovery. What’s more is that the magic is all captured in a familiar place that Chris has ridden in time and time again. That’s something we can all relate to in a year of staying close to home.

Considering we wrangled over 16,000 photos in 2020, there are obviously many that deserve to be in this list but didn’t make it. A sincere thank you goes out to all the photographers and contributors who’ve made this site what it is. Cheers! Readers, if you have another favorite photo you’ve seen here in 2020, please make sure to leave it in the comments below…

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