Editor's letter

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Editor’s Letter

By Ryan Snelson - 1m
Originally printed in Motoveli Issue 1

Somewhere up the street, circa 1986, I crashed a minibike into the curb and flipped over the handlebars. I was 7 or maybe 10, and had no idea what I was doing. What happened? How did I get here so fast? All I knew for sure was that I needed to go again.

Scraped and bruised, I pulled the pull start and got back on, this time coasting back down the street to the group of kids who were watching. One of the older kids owned the minibike, and he got mad that his bike appeared broken. I thought maybe the handlebars were just bent a little, but he pushed me, and so I pushed back—then we got into a mini fight. Later, the kid apologized, and we shook hands. Everything was fine—except now I was obsessed with motorcycles.

Riding continued through adolescence, where I pedaled bicycles around the neighborhood with friends, and jumped curbs along the way. At some point, it made sense to grab the point-and-shoot camera and a camcorder. Friends would jump over stuff on makeshift ramps, or see how long someone could pedal a wheelie. I learned photography as a result of shooting bicycles and dirtbikes— developing photos in a darkroom and editing riding videos with a VCR.

Ever since then, I became an obsessive documenter of riding. Back then, it was just about recording jumps and tricks to prove how big you went. Nowadays, it's the little things, like simply going for a ride and not dying. I take photos on and off the bike wherever I go. To me, even the smallest riding moments feel important and accomplished.

It's 2018 now, and I love and hate technology equally. I remember what it means to not be connected, but I also appreciate what being connected means now. As a designer, I’ve always wanted to do a proper motorcycle project. My initial thought was to invent an app or do something else with hardware. But, after a while, I realized that the problem isn’t about riding itself or finding new ways to help us ride better. The problem lies in capturing what happens after the ride… more.

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Ryan Snelson