Welcome to Soulcycler, the home of Rick Gunn, writer, photographer, adventurer and public speaker.
Fall-winter 2013 has brought an exciting new children’s peace project that will have me cycling and speaking for 45 days across the Islamic Republic of Iran!!
The ”Wheels of Peace Iranian-American Children’s Art Project,” cofounded by myself and my good Iranian friend, World cyclist Mohammad Tajeran, begins this October. It will have the two of us visiting classrooms in our respective countries (both America and Iran,) so as to share with young students the story of our friendship and our symbolic 2007peace project in Malaysia that had us riding for peace between America and Iran.
More importantly we will also discuss the idea of non-violent conflict resolution through dialogue and mutual understanding. When we are done we will request of those who are willing to create artwork and exchange letters based upon these topics. Then, in late November 2013, I will carry those letters and that artwork to Iran. Then climbing atop our bicycles, the letters will be exchanged between American and Iranian students, andthe artwork will be digitized and enlarged and displayed in variety of public exhibition as we ride across Iran. The project have us pedaling 600-mile ride across the Islamic Republic, through Mashhad, to Isfahan, through Yazd, Shiraz and then return to Tehran. Riding along with Mohammad and I will be philanthropist Bob McKerrow of New Zealand. In addition Mohammad I will hold two speaking engagements in which we will speak before large audiences in Iran’s holiest city of Mashhad, then in Iran’s capitol, Tehran. This project has been a dream of mine for over a decade now. It is now time for our dream peace between our two countries to come true! Along with the Wheels of Peace project I have continued work on Soulcycler the Book! Joining with new editor Kim Wyatt of Bonafide Books! I havealso partnered with Videographer Jobe Pilgrim of Pilgrim Productions on the finishing edits on two Soulcycler videos
With my first TEDx Youth@Mt.Diablo talk under my belt, (see below) I am now waiting to hear of a new date for my second TEDxSouth Lake Tahoeevent.
For those who interested in having me bring my classic “Soulcycler” round-the-world bicycle presentation to their city, group or school, the information below gives a bit of information about that show, and how you can book it. Proceeds from these shows will be used to fund the Wheels of Peace project along with all the other vital Soulcycler projects all of which are created with intent upon enhancing the globe and this one human family.
Peace and pedals,RickABOUT SOULCYCLER SHOWS
Are you ready for the world? Then get ready to join writer-photographer-adventurer Rick Gunn for his 90-minute presentation “Soulcycler, Words And Images From a 25,811-Mile Bicycle Journey Around-The-World.” “Soulcycler” combines 350 breath-taking photos from 33 countries, set to music, accompanied by a selection of uniquely emotional stories from around the globe. Inspired by a series of formative experiences during his childhood, Gunn delivers a front-row seat to the pursuit of his lifelong dream of cycling the planet.
Ultimately transformed by scenes of war, poverty, and disease along the way, Gunn begins dedicating his journey to the greater good, expanding his defintion of what it means to care, to give, and to love. Whether reporting from an orphanage in Nepal, volunteering in an AIDS Hospice in Thailand, Covering Bomb extraction and mine victim rehabilitation in Laos and Vietnam, to simply planting trees in Borneo, “Soulcycler” delivers a first hand account the realization of a dream, the current state of the planet, and what it means to care. Heres what one viewer wrote about, “Soulcycler”: “What an honor it was to attend Rick Gunn’s presentation of his 26,000 mile bicycle journey at the Brewery Arts Center Thursday. The evening was emotionally filled with stories and photographs of his three year journey that simply took your breath away. Images of love, hate, poverty and oppression left one feeling like there was so much more to life than we even know. Gunn is truly a remarkable human being, full of passion for what he believes in. I can only hope we could all share this passion for life. I left feeling the desire to care more, do more, and yet at the same time, need and want so much less. Thank you Rick for a whole new insight.” TANJA MUSSELMAN Carson City For booking information, please call: 775-339-1344 or send an email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Below you will find my stories and photos from my recent bicycle journey across India.
“The one source of all-encompassing love knows nothing of boundaries; differing customs; geographic divisions; family splits; or differences in race, creed, sex, and so on — it only knows love for all.”
— Wayne Dyer
From out of the Laughter in Southern India
My return from India was disorienting.
Thrust back into modern Western civilization, 20 hours of plane flight had carried me between worlds. From the noise and chaos in the streets of Mumbai; to the quiet stillness of my small mountain cabin.
The silence proved overwhelming.
Switching on the radio, the newsman seem to pick up exactly where he’d left off. That was, with the same tired reports of bankruptcy, unemployment, foreclosures, deep-political divisions, xenophobia, intolerance — war.All of this had me wondering how the world would be different, should those in charge choose the power of love over the love of power.
I had little time to engage.
There were bills to pay, people to contact, work to tend to.
Not the least of which was an article due concluding my three-month bicycle journey across the Indian subcontinent.
So I sat down to write.
Three hours later I sat before an empty screen. A week passed and I’d produced more of the same. Nothing.
I was blocked.
It was as if I’d built some sort of emotional firewall. A type of selective amnesia protecting me from the harsh realities of the world I’d seen, and the comfortable world to which I had returned.
Determined to remove that block, I decided to employ a different strategy.
“All that I’ve hoarded is lost. All that I gave is mine.”
Near the center of Mumbai, between the sparkle of shopping malls, and the sprawl of a rolling slum, there is an intersection where a small girl dances. Perhaps 5 or even 6, she tumbles and twirls atop the pavement in an impossibly dirty dress. When she is done, she weaves quickly through the traffic, extending a small tin bowl toward each driver. As she does, a handful of Indian businessmen in late-model BMWs and Mercedes look upon her apathetically. She is invisible, a Dalit, one of India’s untouchables. When the light turns green, and the drivers race off–she is left empty-handed. This, until the light again turns red, and her audience is replaced anew.
As I pedaled away from that intersection, into the buzz-saw of Mumbai’s mid-town gridlock, any thoughts of that child’s future well-being were instantly replaced by that of my own.
We were pedaling for our lives.
Swept into an angry river of traffic–six lanes deep–we churned our pedals, choking on the chewable clouds of exhaust. Cycling with all our might through this vehicular doomsday, we’d spend the next 3 hours narrowly avoiding mad, swerving cars, motorcycle kamikazes, and the ever-closing canyons between buses and trucks. Looking entirely out of place riding two fully-loaded touring bikes down the middle of the expressway, we were nothing if not rolling roadkill. Damned if I would have my guts squished-out without the proper soundtrack, I pulled out my headset, dialed-in the band Metallica, cranked-up the volume, then prepared to meet my maker.
“From our perception of the world there follows acceptance…the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these.”
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
It was the last place I expected to find myself.
Face down, in the dirt, shimmying beneath a span of razor-wire.
But somehow, I’d become convinced I was nearing the exact spot where National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry shot one of his iconic images. Unclipping my camera bag, I drew my breath, then burrowed beneath a coil of concertina. Scrambling to my feet on the other side, I dashed across a troft of alluvial sand. Reaching the edge of the Yamuna River, I stood amidst the smell of decay and damp earth, awestruck by the scene before me. For there, above the coppery surface; bathed in a band of chartreuse light, soared the vast white domes of the Taj Mahal.
I raised my camera, framed an image, and fired the shutter.