2022 Bikepacking Awards: Film, Photography, Writing, and Art
In the second installment of our 2022 Bikepacking Awards, we honor creative endeavors by showcasing the work of talented individuals and teams with 30 awards spanning nine categories, including Best Feature Film, Best Trip Photography, Best Event Documentation, Best Writing, and more. Find them all here…
To recognize all that’s been accomplished in the bikepacking community this year, here’s our second of three retrospectives honoring the individuals, teams, brands, and products we believe had the biggest impact in 2022. Part one honored the gear and products that have impressed us, and part two looks at the films, photographs, writing, and creative visions that have inspired our community and kept the stoke alive throughout the year. We’re recognizing the efforts that have shown viewers magical parts of our world both near and far, encouraged folks to document their own rides, or simply allowed the rest of us to share in the journey.
Without further delay, here are the awards for what we consider to be the most inspiring films, photography, writing, and art of the year. Most categories feature three winners delineated by gold, silver, and bronze badges. These are ordered by vote count from seven of our editors and closest contributors who submitted blind ballots based on nearly 100 nominations. In addition, find a Collective Choice award for Best Film with votes from the Bikepacking Collective, our member community.
We won’t deny wrestling over each decision, and every entry deserves applause, so please take some time to admire and enjoy their efforts, just as we have.
This year offered a wealth of outstanding films, which made it particularly challenging when making a decision in this category. Here are our top three picks.
Stronger Together: Identity and Endurance with Alexandera Houchin
By Brandon Watts & Spencer Astra. Freehub Magazine’s film, “Stronger Together,” takes an intimate look at ultra-endurance athlete Alexandera Houchin’s life and explores concepts of identity, forgiveness, and more. This beautiful 20-minute film moved all of us. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to dig in on our original post here.
Next Top Picks
Truth & Dignity
By Hammerhead. Erick Cedeño recently finished a 41-day, 1,900-mile journey retracing the Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps’ historic 1897 expedition from Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri. This film follows that journey and exemplifies what makes bike travel an incredibly meaningful means of connection and education. Find our original coverage here.
By Joffrey Maluski. Joffrey Maluski and Loïc Forques used bikes to tow a boat made from plastic bottles and bamboo to the source of the Adour River in France, then paddled it to the ocean to retrace the journey of plastic waste. Kudos to them both for creating a unique project and a beautiful film to go along with it. Find the original coverage here.
Best Route Documentary
A new category this year, Best Route Documentary awards videos and films that showcase particular bikepacking routes and help inform and inspire folks interested in riding them.
Sheltowee Bikepacking Route
By Andrew Opila. Filmmaker and photographer Andrew Opila was a part of the crew that finalized the Sheltowee Bikepacking Route last spring. Along the way, he made a beautiful film documenting the route and interviewing all those involved in creating it, including folks from the Sheltowee Trail Association. Watch Andrew’s film and find a collection of his photos in our original coverage here.
Next Top Picks
How to Bikepack the Silk Road Mountain Race
By Brady Lawrence. Filmed in Kyrgyzstan last summer, “How to Bikepack the Silk Road Mountain Race” is a fantastic 30-minute film that offers a fresh perspective on how to approach one of the most challenging ultra-endurance bikepacking routes in the world. Find the original coverage here.
What would Mary Do?
By Maciek Tomiczek. “What Would Mary Do?” beautifully captures Scotland’s majestic and remote landscapes, natural heritage, and a trip taken by three women as they retrace 17-year-old Mary Harvie’s 1936 off-road bicycle tour from Glasgow to Skye. Accompanying a piece in The Bikepacking Journal, this is an excellent documentary on the trip and historic route. Find our original coverage here.
The Best Cinematography/Editing category recognizes films for their videography, editing, and style. In their own way, they’ve all helped define a new standard in the quality of filmmaking in the world of bikepacking.
By Mick Turnbull. Bursting with sights and sounds from the lush forests of Australia’s 1,000-kilometer Munda Biddi Trail, Mick Turnbull’s “Munda Biddi – Path Through the Forest” showcases his unique editing style and is well worth watching. Mick made two amazing videos this year and we were torn on which to highlight, so consider this a double award. See it here, and check out Kangaroo Island, too.
Next Top Picks
Tour Mont Blanc
By Jeanne Lepoix. One of filmmaker Jeanne Lepoix’s several releases this year offers a truly stunning look at the Tour du Mont Blanc bikepacking route through Italy, France, and Switzerland. The film provides an immersive sense of the route’s high-elevation vistas, diverse network of trails, and exceptional natural beauty. Find the original coverage here.
A Few Thousand Hours
By Thereabouts. “A Few Thousand Hours” is a 20-minute film from Thereabouts and EF Pro Cycling that follows Lachlan Morton’s recent return to the Colorado Trail for a second attempt at completing the 530-mile faster than anyone else. The film is done in an introspective style that embodies Lachlan’s effort on the trail. Find the original coverage here.
Collective Choice: Best Film of 2022
We asked our Bikepacking Collective members for their input again this year, sending them a list of 13 film finalists and putting it to a vote. The people spoke, and here are the top three winners of the Collective Choice award for Best Film of 2022. A warm thank you goes out to all of our members for their participation and continued support!
How to Bikepack The Silk Road
By Brady Lawrence. Out of the 13 films we sent in the survey, Brady Lawrence’s “How to Bikepack The Silk Road” was the favorite. Congrats, Brady! Excellent work, as always.
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By Brandon Watts & Spencer Astra. In a close second was our editor panel’s favorite of the year. Congratulations to the filmmakers and FreeHub Magazine for creating such a wonderful piece.
Along for the Ride
By RJ Sauer & Brady Lawrence. Another one for Brady Lawrence! “Along for the Ride” is a short film about pedal-powered parenting and a reflection on the positive impact of one family’s bikepacking experiences together. Check out our original coverage and follow RJ Sauer and his three-year-old son, Oliver, as they embark on a 320-kilometre gravel race together to honour their shared time on the trail.
Best Trip Photography
While trip photography is a broad topic, we reserve this category for those immersed in their travels, storytelling with their cameras as they go.
Committed to the Desert
By Johan Wahl. In his second installment from a long trip through South Africa and Nambia, photographer Johan Wahl wowed us with an expansive collection of unbelievable photos from an oft overlooked corner of the world. We had a hard time narrowing them down for the story in Issue 08 of The Bikepacking Journal.
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By Joffrey Maluski. As if the Joffrey Maluski’s video wasn’t enough, he also sent a jaw-dropping gallery of photos to accompany it. Iceland photos are always nice, but there was something special in the ones documenting his three-month, 3,000-kilometer around the island last summer. Find them all here.
A Week in Mexico City
By Cass Gilbert. Back in the spring, our own Cass Gilbert ventured over to Mexico City to meet some friends, old and new. While there, he captured the city’s vibrant bike scene and the local makers and shops that make it tick. Dig into part one and part two if you missed them.
GranGuanche Audax Gravel
By Stefan Haehnel. We’re always impressed by Stefan Haehnel’s event photos, especially because he shoots most of them from the saddle while still managing to keep up a lightning-fast pace. This spring, he followed former pro cyclists Henning Bommel and Paul Voss on the GranGuanche Audax Gravel and captured a dynamic gallery.
Best Event Documentation
We cover a lot of races, group rides, and other types of events here on the site. This category honors those the working tirelessly to capture all the moments that play out during such events.
By Evan Christenson. Photographer Evan Christenson took off to cover the 380-mile Stagecoach 400 bikepacking race in Southern California this year. He captured the event with a spectacular set of photos and a wild ride of an unconventional race report. Find his highly personal and gripping reportage here.
Next Top Picks
UNRAVELLING: A 2022 HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 STORY
By Huw Oliver and Annie Le. While not your typical race coverage, Huw Oliver penned a refreshing take on the Highland Trail 550. Instead of an outside look at the event, Huw dug deep, both literally and physically, to create an introspective look at the race as he experienced it. Accompanied by Annie’s photos, it turned into a really nice piece. Find it here.
By Matteo Manelli, etc. This is a multi-award for some incredible coverage of the GranGuanche Audax events throughout the year, all spearheaded by route creator Matteo Manelli. From the 2021 event recap that came in on January 5th to Stefan’s amazing images awarded above, and from the 2022 recap video to Katrien’s recent recap and the 2022 event, we all loved being transported to the Canary Islands by the images and words these folks created.
Best in Art/Multimedia
One of our favorite categories to judge, Best in Art/Multimedia pays tribute to those documenting trips or depicting bikepacking without a lens…
A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis
By David Paul Seymour. The piece de resistance of our collaboration with Burial Beer Co. was the artwork. Burial’s one-liner pretty well sums up the concept behind this masterpiece by artist David Paul Seymour. An intentional journey into the endless embrace of suffering. The Eastern Divide Trail is an epic route, to say the least. We wanted the visual to depict not only elements from the natural world along this incredibly diverse route, but also the suffering and reward that riders carry on such a journey. David nailed it, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Learn more about it here.
Next Top Picks
A Journey Ended
By Dean Liebau. Issue 07 of The Bikepacking Journal, which hit most mailboxes early this year, featured a story by Alex Cooper reflecting on the life of Iohan Gueorguiev and the legacy he left behind. To accompany this story, Vermont-based illustrator Dean Liebau created a lovely set of illustrations capturing Iohan at his best during his bike wanderings. It was a beautiful way of capturing the story. Stay tuned for more from Dean soon.
Atlas du Cycle
By Timothe Girard. Inspired by Daniel Rebour’s hand drawings in a René Herse catalog, French illustrator Timothé Girard created 26 bike illustrations, each representing a letter of the alphabet. This was such a cool project that we asked Timothé to create a few more for the fold-out poster that will be included in issue 09 of The Bikepacking Journal soon. Learn more about Timothé here.
Best Writing (Web)
Again this year, we’re recognizing the best community-contributed stories we’ve published on the site. These nominees reflect the most honest, gripping, and reflective examples of storytelling from the saddle.
What’s The Point?
By Jessica Shadduck. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has likely been written about more than almost any other bikepacking route the in world, but Jessica Shadduck’s What’s The Point? offers readers a particularly honest and thoughtful perspective on the route and her deeply personal experiences of riding it. Whether or not you’re someone with Tour Divide aspirations, this piece abounds with valuable insight on the emotional highs and lows of any journey. Read it here.
Next Top Picks
Slow and Sandy
By Dylan Kentch. Dylan Kentch’s unique voice shines through in his writing, making for a fun and dynamic read that’s quite unlike anything else. In Slow and Sandy, he shares the story of inching along the 1,300-kilometer Anne Beadell Highway in the Australian Outback. Find it here.
By Joshua Meissner. Blending his engineering background with his talents for creative expression, Joshua Meissner’s visit to Schmidt Maschinenbau in Tübingen, Germany, to get the inside scoop on SON dynamo hubs sets the standard for our Field Trips series. Who knew hubs could be so fascinating? Read it here.
To a Bikepacking Daughter
By Gavin Ireland. Reflecting on a summer of family bikepacking trips in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, Gavin Ireland’s To a Bikepacking Daughter is a heartfelt letter to his seven-year-old daughter that beautifully illuminates the bonds formed through bikepacking. Check it out here.
Best Writing (Print)
Although we think every story that makes it into our biannually printed publication, The Bikepacking Journal, represents the very best in pedal-powered writing and photography, we want to highlight a few of our favorites as we look back on this year’s issues.
Corridors for the Curious
By Emily Zebel. Written with a refreshingly real take on being in charge of planning and leading a trip, Emily Zebel’s Corridors for the Curious is equal parts hilarious and inspiring. A true adventure story unfolds as the mother-daughter team attempts to take on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), and our Bikepacking Collective members can read all about it shortly in the upcoming ninth issue of The Bikepacking Journal.
Next Top Picks
Burn by Bike
By Steven Mortinson. We appreciated Steven Mortinson’s Burn by Bike for its distinctive blend of history, storytelling, and discussion of conservation, and his lovely black-and-white film photos were the icing on the cake. Published in The Bikepacking Journal 08, this piece follows his group on a bikepacking trip through the area around the 1933 Tillamook Burn in Oregon and offers a wealth of food for thought.
By Isabel Del Real. Following the final leg of her 7,000-mile journey from France to Iran, Isabel Del Real’s Destination Tehran is a wonderfully illustrated piece that deals with the complicated subject of finishing a massive tour. In this story from The Bikepacking Journal 08, she tries to be fully immersed in the last stretch of her ride while simultaneously beginning to unpack what it all meant.
Stay tuned for part three of our 2022 Bikepacking Awards: People and Routes. You can also dig into #bikepacking-awards to find all of our annual awards roundups since 2015.
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