Welcome to Soulcycler, the home of Rick Gunn, writer, photographer, adventurer and public speaker.
I have just returned from an amazing cycling journey in Oman, and the Islamic Republic of Iran! Joining my good Iranian friend Mohammad Tajeran, the two of met in Iran’s southern Island of Quesham to complete our Wheels of Peace Children’s Art Project. The Wheels of Peace Project had us visiting classrooms in our respective countries to share with young students the story of our friendship, discuss the idea of non-violent conflict resolution through dialogue, respect, and mutual understanding. With that, we asked these young minds to create peace-based artwork and letters to be exchanged, and or displayed online.
Returning with an abundance of art and letters from the children of Oman and Iran, I will now revisit area schools to share those letters and artwork with local students. With that I will share with them the story of my journey, as well as a selection from the 10,000 photos I took along the way! Then I will create a larger public presentation on Oman and Iran. Stay tuned! For those interested in hiring me to deliver this presentation, or my classic “Soulcycler, 26,000-mile round-the-world bicycle presentation,” Please contact me to check availability. I have provided a promotional video that describes the show, as well as contact info below. Peace and Pedals, Rick.
ABOUT SOULCYCLER PRESENTATIONS
Are you ready for the world? Then get ready to join writer-photographer-adventurer Rick Gunn for his 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 email@example.com
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.