Last week I had the chance to visit with Carlos Ibarra, news photographer for El Mural and one of the founders of Camara Rodante (literally, “rolling camera”.)
This intrepid group of biking photographers is dedicated to promoting biking in a variety of ways. Besides their weekly outings, which traverse a variety of rural terrains around Guadalajara and further afield, they’ve organized get-out-the-vote campaigns, children’s outings, first aid workshops, bicycle repair workshops, and a fundraiser for Haiti – all aboard the seat of a bicycle.
Founded by Carlos and other local photographers about two years ago, the group has grown to include non-photographers, as well, and works to initiate beginners into the biker’s life.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, or a child, or even if you’ve never been on a bicycle,” Ibarra said. “The idea is to get out there and start pedaling, and we want to help with that. We’ve even had some riders who want to go faster, and they’ve gone on to form their own groups because we’re too slow – that’s ok. There’s room for everybody.”
That said, the group does some pretty heavy trekking, by a beginner’s standards. A recent fundraising ride for Haiti went 100 kilometers. And the off-trail mountain biking in Jalisco’s rugged countryside can be a challenge, especially when a storm comes up – as it did on a recent campout in Juan Rulfo country, from San Gabriel to Tapalpa.
“It was cool,” Ibarra enthused, showing photographs of dripping, smiling bikers. “It was an adventure.”
And indeed, this must be the most documented biking group of all time, with as many photographers as there are among its ranks. Here’s a slide show of the highlights from the group’s last two years.
Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.
The group provides plenty of fun for the younger set, as well. A recent bicycle fiesta for the children, neices, nephews and young friends of Camara Rodante featured piñatas in the shape of cars.
“We were playing a little with the idea: Get rid of the cars!” said Ibarra, chuckling. “que no son muchos. It was something symbolic, and the kids loved it. Others didn’t want to because they liked the little car. But we were reinforcing the idea of using the bike – that it’s good for your health, that it doesn’t pollute, that you can move yourself quickly and easily.”