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Field Journal

Velo Iberia

Velo Iberia

A Love Letter to Cycling
Words & Photography by Jack Davies

‘You don’t find yourself on trips like this, you build yourself.’ Wise words uttered by Tim as we lugged our tired and sodden carcasses across the northern reaches of France.

The fourth in the Velo bikepacking series by Friction Collective, Velo Iberia, sees three mates and a guest appearance fly to Porto, Portugal and cycle the entire 2,700km back home to Bristol, UK. Crossing the soggy Portuguese hills, into the barren plains of northern Spain, and across the frankly daunting Pyrenees, the journey is fraught with mechanicals, lack of sleep, belly laughs, frozen bivvy spots, and incredible scenery. By far our hardest journey so far, this is Velo Iberia.

Too many times now we have watched films about pure human endeavour and our endless pursuit to better ourselves at the expense of the world around us. Flying to the ends of the earth to stretch our legs, testing our mind and bodies in environments where humans truly shouldn’t be able to survive.

Actually, now that I write that, it sounds like a great film… and I still love those epic adventure documentaries. But this film isn’t that. It’s a love letter to cycling, to the places, the people, the friendships, and the endless pursuit of betterment – not physical, but mental. Finding a place of comfort and capability within a constant level of discomfort.

Velo Iberia Velo Iberia

To cycle one of these very long rides is a pure privilege, and the Velo series is my way of hopefully sharing a little of the journey with those who choose not to sit on a bike saddle for 10 hours a day, 19 days in a row. Traversing a continent by bike is a truly visceral experience. In previous editions we’ve been battered by rain, baked in 45°C degree heat, ridden through puddles of blood expelled by roadkill ox, and thrown wildly into the cities of South-East Asia. But, alongside these beautifully grounding experiences, there are the sights and sounds and smells one could never experience travelling by car. You’re within the world – someone else’s world. You’re a guest on the road and you’re sitting at a table of ever-changing encounters.

Velo Iberia sets out to bring the viewer in, marvel at the ridiculousness, the fun, the highs and lows of crossing the Iberian Peninsula and beyond. And the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. Constant banter and great British sarcasm maintain a level of personality we hope to embody until we die.

Velo Iberia Velo Iberia Velo Iberia
You’re within the world – someone else’s world. You’re a guest on the road and you’re sitting at a table of ever-changing encounters.

A film by @frictioncollective
Supported by: @restrap
Featuring: @gurnstergram // @iamtimlages // @jacksebdavies // @samblanchard9
Shot & Edited: @jacksebdavies
Colour: @fin_dop_photo
Sound: @patrickhenchmanaudio
Photography: @jacksebdavies



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