Directed by
Jason Reid
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Archive for the ‘camera corner’ Category

The Game of Death: The art of crossing a street in China!

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
The Game of Death!

Step right up and play The Game of Death!

I saw my opening. I pedaled hard and weaved left, then back to the right…Hard on the brakes as a scooter wiped by, then back on the pedal hard. Plenty of room as a car passes behind me. Well the left is done…now for the right. A couple of mopeds, a three-wheeled bike, and a red car. Piece of cake.

Just another day in China!

Just another day on the crazy streets of China!

I roll out as the mopedsĀ  go by, then hard on the pedal again. I have tons of time as I go in front of the red car….Then I see him pop out from behind the red car. I’m looking down the barrel of a late model VW taxi and he has his foot in it. I smile and think, “He’s got me…Well played sir, well played.” I pedal hard out of the seat. It’s a race for the sidewalk and he’s drifting my way with his horn blaring. One final pedal and a little lean. He misses me by inches…and I think he’s laughing! Pretty standard really. There is definitely an art to crossing the street here. It’s a game of inches and timing. I honestly don’t think they want to hit you, but they want to see how close they can get.



As a 6’2 skinny white guy, I stand out a little bit over here (as we all do) and not to mention riding a bike with big red panniers.I think they just want to welcome you by scaring the crap out you with a huge truck. But you find yourself getting used to it and embracing it….It becomes a game to see how close you come or you see a hole in traffic and you say, “I can make that.”

In the beginning a rule to live by was do what the Chinese do. If you are crossing the street on foot and you see a Chinese person crossing the same street, get in that person’s pocket. However, after awhile you get the timing down. As the intersections get crazier, stay with the Chinese. They play this game everyday!

Reidster crossing the street.

Reidster crossing the street.

1 in 1.3 Billion!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
The welder cuts the baseplate for the mount as Doven and Reidster watch.

The welder cuts the base plate for the mount as Doven and Reidster watch.

It was a good day for the camera department. After a pretty major setback, compliments of China Post, I found myself looking at a broken camera mount on the bicycle. It must have taken a major hit in transit from Qinghuangdao to Yantai because the piece that broke was almost an inch thick. So since then I had been struggling with rigging the bike camera with the remaining pieces of the mount for a couple of days. Needless to say, I was pissed.

Then after another broken spoke stop on our way down to Jimon, we happened upon a little welding shop. The man agreed to try and weld the broken pieces back together.

The weathered face of a master craftsman.

The weathered face of a master craftsman.

His face had so much character and this gave me a great opportunity to get some shots of him welding. At first he tried to just fuse the broken piece together, but it caught fire and he said it wasn’t possible. He then started rummaging through his piles of stuff, pulling out random pieces like valves and tractor parts to try and fashion something that would work.

Ian documents the experience.

Ian documents the experience.

We were just about to give up when he found this rod of steel with a metal ball welded to the top. The ball was a perfect fit for the mount. What were the odds? He then went on to make a bottom bracket that would attach to the bike. This only took about 20 minutes and cost 20 yuan, which is approximately 3 dollars.

I thanked him repeatedly and his wife looked at it and commented that it was very strong, but not very beautiful. I told them that to me it was very beautiful…

So we’re back in business…What were the chances…About 1 in 1.3 billion!

Another satisfied customer!

Another satisfied customer!

Lessons learned: “the free right turn”

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

So there I was in the middle of the craziest intersection I’ve ever seen and I’m looking down the barrel of a huge bus full of people. The free right turn. In China, cars have always have a free right turn. They don’t even have to slow down…and as far as pedestrians go, you need to be ready and alert at all times because cars will just materialize out of nowhere. Lesson learned from our “fixer”…stay behind the Chinese people while crossing the street.

The ride up to now has been amazing. The mountains are amazingly steep and beautiful. Some of the toughest cycling I’ve done. The shooting has been great as I feel as though I can point the camera anywhere and create really great images. The people have been kind and welcoming. They notice us as a passing oddity and then seem to go right back to their work. This is great for getting the more candid shots I need. So far, I usually work a small section of town at lunch and get some nice b-roll of the small villages at work. Today, I saw this guy just squatting (as they do) and smoking on the side of the road. He watched me for a little while, but really just let me be. I think in the long run…people are people, wherever you go. Another lesson learned.

On a bike note, I may not have been as prepared as I should have been. The second day in the mountains was really hard and bit of a blow to the ego. I’m happy to say that today was way better and my legs are starting to get the idea that I will be doing this for awhile. On a not so good note…I’m the dude that has had two flats already. Huge chunks of glass in the rear tire. Not so good, and then a split tube. I have never had 2 flat in 2 weeks…let alone 2 days. But I have found that in the long run I may just have to give myself to this ride and this country, because they are going to win every time.

Lesson learned….

The top of the world or at least the top of the mountain we rode up

The top of the world...or at least the top of the mountain we rode up

My first flat....

My first flat....

Shiny new bikes

Friday, August 29th, 2008

There is something about a new bike, the look, the smell….something. First, you give it a once over looking at all the new gadgets and shiny new parts, second the urge takes over and you jump on… you want to see what this baby can do! Every new bike has a wow factor, like wow, this rides nice or wow, it handles great. Then it happens… you want to see how fast you can go on it… the wind whipping in your hair ( or the lack of it ), speed tears running down your cheeks, you are tucked low to the handle bars. Your mind is totally present, your senses are heightened and you are trying to feel every little thing about the bike. How does it react when I do this or what about if I give this much brake here? Everything looks and feels different. You are totally in the moment.

We all recently received new bikes for our trip. Pete at Norco bikes in Canada hooked us up with new VFR2 touring style bikes and a full array of all the Axiom bags and all the other goodies we could eat. Pete seemed to know exactly what we needed. The bikes are really beautiful and it was quite hard to keep our cool when they wheeled them out fully loaded with bright red Axiom bags and jet black frames. It also didn’t help that with in seconds Jason and Sean where hooting and hollering as they road around the parking lot. But that is just what happens with shiny new bikes…. Thanks Pete.

The VFR2 really handles nice

The VFR2 really handles nice

For more pics, click below:


Man Zou is a common phrase in Mandarin. It is more of a philosophy than anything. Man Zou literally translates to "Walk Slow."

"Slow and steady wins the race," they say. This is at the heart of the meaning of Man Zou. Walk slowly and you won't fall. Act carefully and you won't go wrong. A slow walker is faster than someone who walks fast but always has to stop and rest. Persistence is important in learning or doing anything.

To explain a little more in depth, read this quote from The Challenge of Trekking in China by Kyle Acierno:

"I recently underwent the most thorny, intricate, and demanding trek of my life. China is no walk in the park. The county is extremely diverse, and with diversity comes complexity. There is no smooth road laid for backpackers and attempting to do anything or get anywhere can be incredibly arduous...I really needed a break and I didn't know where I would be next. I sat down to a plate of rice noodles and peanuts. A hardy meal for a hardy man. A giant of a woman served me, but with her giant body came a giant heart. With a quick phrase that I have become accustomed to, she filled me with self-assurance that I needed for the rest of my trip. ?Man Zou!? she shouted with a big smile on her face. This literally translates to ?Walk Slow?. To me this means more then just ?be careful.? To me this means take the time to see the wonders of life. The power it gave me changed the rest of my trip. From then on everything went smoothly...I learned a lot from this Trek. I learned the beauty that exists just off the beaten track. I learned that anything amazing takes time. I learned just how much you could learn from people without even using language...By taking the time to notice all the small things in life you can really appreciate who, where, and what you are. Patience, persistence, and practice makes perfect."