If you ever doubt such a thing as
kindness in strangers, hop on a bike. 

(Jim Quinlan)

About Miles of Portraits
By Annalisa van den Bergh

On my bike trip across the United States in 2008, I discovered bicycle touring is the best way to see the world. I have a long list of reasons but towards the top are the people: the campground owners in Montana who upon finding out that it was our leader’s birthday brought us a makeshift watermelon “cake” with a flower in it, the mother and daughter in Michigan who let us sleep in their treehouse, the couple who found us in 105° heat and decided to haul back a Costco pack of frozen ice pops. These are the people you are much less likely to meet in practically any other form of transportation because bicycling takes you through the backroads.

In the summer of 2017, I took on the feat again, following the iconic TransAmerica Trail from Virginia to Seattle. Inspired by the fond memories from my 2008 trip, I set out to photograph the people I met along the way. Their portraits and stories illustrate the kindness that exists across America. In the aftermath of the U.S. 2016 presidential election, it was reassuring to experience firsthand the generosity and warmth that fills this country. The series has become the perfect vehicle to get to know a place and celebrate the ways the bicycle brings people together which is why those 4,000 miles were just the beginning.

In the summer of 2018, I teamed up with my friend Erik Douds to take the series around the world. We Kickstarted it to Alaska where we rode 1,000 miles and produced a magazine and film series. We then rode from LA to Denver, stopping at REI locations along the way to screen the film and tell our story. Our next trip will be announced soon!

Denali National Park, AK / 2018 Photo by Chandler Abraham

Denali National Park, AK / 2018
Photo by Chandler Abraham

Annalisa van den Bergh is a graphic designer and visual journalist living with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Read her story and view her work at workfrombike.com.

Erik Douds is an endurance athlete and global traveler.
Also living with T1D, he strives to show that diabetics can go anywhere and do anything.