What is "VELO VIDEO" project?

It's an effort to document a long bicycle trip on video. The trip starts in Brooklyn, New York on June 24, 2007. Maksim Kalashnikov and his partners -- Devin Mattson,Troy Richey and John Latin -- ride US Route 50 for almost two months until they reach San Francisco, California. We videotape interesting parts of their cross-country trip, compile short videos, and post them online.


Our goal

Our goal is to make at least two short (or one long) video(s) about the trip. Our videos are to show what it is like to pedal 8 hours a day for 50 days. We plan to capture interesting and unexpected encounters as well as riders' reflections on themselves. Has this adventure changed them in any way? Has it been as difficult and as much fun as they had anticipated? The physical aspect of this intense workout should not be neglected in our research. We ask the riders to give tips on physical and mental preparation as well as possible solutions to unexpected mechanical problems. Becoming a homeless on-the-go for 50 days poses obvious challenges. How can one take care of such basic necessities as food, place to sleep, and shower? We hope to shed light on accommodations that our riders found on their way. Cyclists often travel alone. Our four guys managed to stay together most of the time. Did team dynamics and interactions with other people play a big role? Last, but not least portion of our exploration will consist of funny stories from the road. We would like Devin, John, Troy and Maksim to share how sense of humor shortened those long days in the saddle and carried them across the United States on a bicycle.


Video and more

As if this wasn't enough, we would like to put this trip into context of riders' friends, families and careers. Why did they decide to suspend their lives for 2 months? What exactly did they put on hold? What decisions and trade-offs made this trip possible? Unfortunately, we are familiar with life of only one of the four riders, Maksim Kalashnikov, as we've known him since long before this trip. Consequently, we will concentrate on peculiarities of his life more than of those of Devin, John and Troy. We recognize and regret of this limitation of our research.

Needless to say, this is a lot to cover in a couple of short videos. Therefore, we will use our blog to share what we learn about the riders. The blog will also contain status updates, links to our latest videos, and other relevant content.


Why videotape this bicycle trip?

For many reasons. It's a rare opportunity to witness Maksim and his partners achieve an audacious goal. We hope to learn about bicycle touring, which has recently gone head-to-head with traveling by car. We want to break away from the monotony of our nine-to-five job. It's also an excuse to drive through parts of the United States at a pace slow enough to notice new places and meet people. It's a vehicle to fulfill our cinematic appetite while making videos for enjoyment of others. It's our small way to help fight cancer by promoting Maksim's efforts to raise funds for Lance Armstrong Foundation.


Film vs. video

Maksim's written diary of the trip is a fun read. It achieves a great level of detail that would be hard to outmatch. Nevertheless, we believe that moving images can add richness to his words. Nowadays, video is simply the most convenient way to capture and share experiences of a trip. Meaningful and exciting videos take more than pointing a camcorder at the action and pushing the "record" button. Some planning and involved post-production are necessary. Naturally, our project is likely to take up-to a year to complete. Due to high cost and lack of specialized equipment we decided not to use film, but rather work in popular and convenient video format. After all is said and done we hope that our work will help Devin, John, Maksim and Troy share their trip with more people than they could if our videos never existed. Our work may help others to embark on similar cycling and cinematographic journeys. While making these videos, we hope to collaborate with other video enthusiasts and learn about cinematography, editing and video equipment. Above all, we hope to have fun.


What does "VELO" mean?

Latin words veloc- and velox mean quick. However, in several languages, a shorthand word velo often denotes cycling. For example, words vélocipède (French) and ΧΕΜΟΣΙΠΕΔ (Russian) simply mean bicycle.