Reflections of Community

Gabe Neron | Route 66, Kamloops: Due to the fact that Kamloops is typically quite dry and dusty, I often find myself swooning over the dark and dank imagery that photographers produce in the Pacific Northwest. For a fleeting window of time, usually three to four weeks in June and July, Kamloops gets saturated with summer rains and deep shadows and greens that I can barely believe. I always feel a peak in creativity and my approach to capturing images during this window because everything is atypical...

Reflections of Community The Weightless Splendor of the World

When I first moved to Kamloops, British Columbia from Whitehorse, Yu-kon as a 17-year-old kid, I had no particular marker for what success might feel like.

Beyond a wholehearted desire to support a bike-centric lifestyle, I simply wanted to be in the mix of all the magic and mayhem that had positioned Kamloops as the center of the world, in my imagination.

I sank deep into a land of dead pine trees, sweeping sagebrush singletrack and a community of incredible variety. I was absolutely in love with all of it, and I was motivated to communicate this weightless splendor with the world around me.

I made it work. I found myself a gig at the Bicycle Cafe, with some sponsors and an increasingly hectic schedule that kept my days spinning swiftly through progression and sharing stories of passion with a growing bike community as the hub. The deeper I committed, the more I discovered Kamloops to be a place to write a unique story, no matter who you are, or how you ride.

By 2016, I’d been deep in the thrall of shred for nearly a decade. With little worry about my income and primarily concerned with my impact, it was a beautiful naiveté. I’d gone bigger and further than I’d ever hoped, but it had all begun to feel very self-centered. No aspect of those pursuits ever compared to the quiet rides around home and the chance to collaborate with talented photographers.

I’d spent most of that year feeling a wave of change rolling in. I knew I’d outgrown the persistent push, that perpetual reach for progression at any cost. That aspect of my riding was feeling rusted and even abrasive. Achieving amplitude no longer served me. Depth is what I desired.

In response to a series of interesting coincidences one week that summer, I finally succumbed to a lifelong curiosity of how life might feel on the other side of a camera, and I began examining the world around me more carefully from that position.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a fast track toward the opportunity of working with some of my favorite riders and brands in a capacity of deep trust and creative freedom. This affords me a more mellow schedule and a chance to behave as a careful observer of the scene around me. What I’ve been happy to rediscover in the Kamloops scene in recent years is unconditional love for the long, sweet shred that brings characters together across the gaps between competitive disciplines, recreational riders and industry veterans.

When I shifted my focus to photography, my entire being was filled with a new creative energy and curiosity. The answer to much of my wonder is woven in the flowing singletrack that circumnavigates the rolling hills of Kamloops, and it is written in the faces of the characters who build on, ride in, and call those hills their home.

Kamloops riders simply love riding. And I feel a responsibility to represent our trails and unique feelings of weightless flow from that space of love. In a community that’s always growing, and among a culture that’s still unfolding, I trust that staying anchored in a scene that set my soul on fire will always lead me on a wonderful ride and allow me to capture incredible moments.

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