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Photo: Rick Gunn
Technically, Rick Gunn’s journey began (and ended) on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Philosophically, it began much sooner, when his dad took the training wheels off his purple Schwinn Stingray, and he discovered the freedom of pedaling. “I found something in that simple act of motion, atop that simple machine of rubber and steel, that brought me back to myself,” Gunn told an audience of about 100 at Reno’s McKinley Arts Center in March. The center was one of many stops on a tour in which Gunn shared images from his recent three-year, 25,811-mile bicycle journey around the planet.
Dubbed “Soulcycler,” the presentation takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, following Gunn through 33 countries, including a grueling 1,200-mile stint over 12 passes in Tibet ranging from 15,000 to 18,000 feet. He spent time in an orphanage in Nepal, volunteered at an AIDS Hospice in Thailand, covered bomb extraction and mine victim rehabilitation in Laos and Vietnam, and planted trees in Borneo.
Gunn has 20 years of journalism experience, including tenures as a photographer for the Nevada Appeal and Tahoe Daily Tribune. What possessed the 45-year-old to cycle the world, risking his health and mental stability? “The purpose of my photos and writings are to move people into action,” he says.