A Cacophony of Whimsical Bike Illustrations

Nov 7, 2020
by Cy Whitling  
As a spring of uncertainty gave way to an unprecedented pandemic summer, I closed my laptop, picked up my paintbrush and shovel, and headed out to dig dirt jumps and paint the riding I wished I could be doing. This is the story of my season, mostly. Some of it happened, some of it will happen someday, and some of it is just what happens when my bike-addled brain wanders.

If you like this, there’s a whole lot more of it on my Instagram.



By April winter wears heavy and our ambitions turn to warmer pursuits. After all, we pay for the season's magic with the torture we inflict on our feet



And through it all, from the garage comes an insatiable song, bikes longing to be let free to feast on singletrack.


So it’s no surprise that we welcome the warmth of those first few sunny days, roll the bikes out, remember everything we meant to fix over the winter.


It’s too wet out to ride still, so we’re left thumbing through the same sacred texts, finding solace in old adventures.


We shovel snow out of the shady spots and clear trees


And encourage newcomers to invest back into the trails we love.


Slowly trails open back up, we shake the rust out of our limbs and remember lost skills, pushing harder, faster, smoother each ride.



These first few spring rides are rife with wildlife, the undergrowth is full of critters waking from a winter’s rest.


We’re glued to weather reports, waiting for other riding areas to open, ready to load up and road trip out as soon as trails dry.


We speculate as we drive, what’s the ultimate biking vehicle? A massive Sprinter loaded down with kitchen and bedding? An RV that chugs gas and has a more comfortable bed than the one at home? Or maybe some sort of built-out truck?


Soon I’m drowsing, imagining each curve of the freeway as a bike park berm waiting to be railed. Drop the outside foot, put in the clutch, countersteer, weight forward, and hang on.


We crank out lap after lap in the bike park, boosting each hit higher every time, laughing wildly as we skid out into the lift area.


We supplement dinner with some foraged fungi and fall asleep in the parking lot. Maybe it’s the mushrooms, maybe that cheese I added to my pizza was past its prime, maybe I’ve just hit my head too many times. Whatever the reason, my dreams are dark and troubled.


My nightmares are haunted by monsters stalking every ride. My legs are jelly, I can’t fight them, can't run, can't ride.


Some part of me knows I’m dreaming but can’t escape, instead, I just scream silently for some riding deity to save me.


I find her finally, my goddess, my savior. She’s serene in her temple, waiting patiently as I babble of the horrors threatening to engulf my bike.


She demands a tribute, of course, drivetrain parts from time to time, but I’ll do anything to find peace from these nightmares.


And when I’m granted that peace I float serene, time slows as I dream my way through each jump line, soaring above a tranquil earth.


I wake up sweaty. My bike is still in the rack, I’m still camping in the bike park parking lot. I head to the portajohn and my headlamp illuminates it with a supernatural glow.


In the morning we shuttle deep into the mountains, we drive until there’s no more road to follow. On the drive we share beers, wonder where our bikes came from, what stories they have to tell.



We pedal even higher, and at the top, I pause to take in the vista, my friends laugh at my too-big pack but it’s worth hauling if it helps me capture this view.



Then we plunge downhill, surrendering to gravity, exclaiming as each turn sucks us in harder than the last. We’re almost to the bottom when disaster strikes. A ping, a hiss, a torn sidewall, and broken spokes.


We limp out to the bottom and head off in search of a bike shop. It’s always a crapshoot entering a new shop. Will they take me seriously? Do they know what they’re talking about? The best wrenches are legends worthy of monuments, the worst are ignorant dicks.


We peruse posters for past events on the shop’s wall as the wrench digs through his spare parts. Soon we’ll be back on the trail, the trip is saved.


As soon as we’re home it’s off on another trip, bikepacking a couple of nights over the weekend


The leaves are changing and the nights are getting crisp, this might be the last trip of the year so we take our time, and soak in the experience.


We make up stories for every critter we see and swap tall tales as we share a beer at stream crossings. We dive deep, explaining the hypothetical history of an aspen grove.



Fireflies light the night as we relax by the fire, comfortable in the knowledge that the only thing we have to do tomorrow is to ride our bikes.


We’ll savor these last few rides of fall because soon enough the leaves will fall, the trails will fill with snow, and old man Winter will return again.




As I mentioned earlier, there's lots more where this came from on my Instagram.

Posted In:
Stories



97 Comments

  • 168 2
 Wasn't expecting to love the shit out of this, but it really hits a chord.
  • 9 1
 All the feels.
  • 3 1
 @nsmithbmx: love the illustrations buddy but those dreams phew!! Definitely lay off the foraged mushrooms. Pay attention to this ancient Chinese wisdom that I live by; "all mushrooms are edible... some only once" I find it helps if you say it in your head like a sage wizened old Chinese hermit, but maybe that's just me Beer
  • 88 1
 "Whimsical" may not be my favorite word, but a huge thanks to Pinbike for showing this to people, and you people for looking at it!
  • 11 0
 Well huge thanks to you for making theseSmile
  • 3 0
 I loved these, and i can't wait for more adventures with my bike.
  • 6 0
 You are seriously talented! Thanks for bringing these images to the world!
  • 3 0
 What a wonderful quality of light you've penciled.
Thanks for sharing your stories! @bemorestoked
  • 2 0
 Thank you for sharing, your work is beautiful
  • 2 0
 Awesome stuff, I favorited a bunch of these. Thanks for sharing!
  • 23 0
 Nice!
  • 17 0
 MR. Cy Whitling, your artwork is amazing! Absolutely love it.
  • 12 0
 Damn Eek

This might be the single greatest thing on Pinkbike this year. Outstanding.
  • 4 0
 Agreed!
  • 2 0
 That means a lot. Thanks!
  • 9 2
 Logged into PB for the first time in years just to say RAD! Love these. I scored one a while back and it's even better looking in real life. More bike art in this world, please.
  • 6 0
 Your recent activity says otherwise lol
  • 1 0
 @Grealdo: It's STILL only 2020?!?! Yeesh.
  • 1 0
 @KFuller: Tell me about it, bring on 2021!
  • 12 5
 Great work. Super interesting but one thing bugs me...
It's NEVER too wet to ride !
Smile
  • 10 1
 I wish that were true here! Come to the Tetons and fill your frame with peanut butter mud.
  • 9 1
 @bemorestoked: if it's raining your frame wont fill with mud - your problem is actually not enough wet weather,
Yours
North UK
  • 5 0
 @bemorestoked: Ditto here. Being caught in a rain storm means carrying your mud entombed bike out.
  • 6 0
 yo these are fucking rad with some of them I'm not sure I want what you were having at that time, but I love the art style and creativity
  • 22 0
 I promise I'm not as high as these make me seem! I just read too much Tolkien as a small child, and this is where I ended up.
  • 5 0
 Such a nice little journey. Enjoyed this very much, genuinely happy I found it! Really made my evening. I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside now and can't wait to go on a ride tomorrow.
  • 4 0
 Really impressed by the details and observations included in the art. Cy is obviously someone who gets after it, but still notices the details and patterns of nature. Followed.
  • 4 0
 Insane pictures! Any chance the chainsaw one, more jumps or astronaut are available on redbubble or anything similar? Would love a bit of wall art or a shirt or something
  • 1 0
 I actually sell many of my originals on my Instagram, for pretty affordable prices (just trying to make the world suck less this sucky year) and I have a website at www.bemorestoked.com where you can buy shirts and such. Thanks!
  • 7 0
 RIP BIKE MAG
  • 2 0
 Absolutely a great post! I kept looking and scrolling, and looking and scrolling until I was at the last pane. It took a (fun) while to view it all. Cheers to you Cy for sharing this huge collection of very creative art / fruits of your passion!!!
  • 2 0
 Even, my brain, addled as it is right now, was picked right up by your talent, Cy. I'm glad I saw some of your work, it's superb. Thank you and thank PB. They would do well to put up stuff like this in between the racer boy material.
  • 2 0
 Cy is humble and gracious as can be, makes art every day, has run our kids summer mountain bike program for the last three years here in the Tetons and is a huge part of the community. Plus, if you ride around here and have to visit a trailhead vault toilet pre or post-ride, you might get to poop while studying one of the many murals he was commissioned to paint on a few of their interior walls.
  • 4 0
 I love the juxtaposition of your wildlife illustrations with the mtb theme. These really speak to me and my passions. Lol
  • 4 0
 Very nice Cy. Really liked the life cycle of the can and Aspen tree series.
  • 2 0
 This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I may or may not have already raided your insta for a new phone background. I love every single one of these might have to pick up some socks and a shirt or two.
  • 5 0
 Thumb up
  • 4 0
 Love your work! A few of these will definitely be going to favorites.
  • 4 0
 These are awesome. Do you sell prints or posters?
  • 8 1
 I actually sell a whole bunch of affordable original paintings on my Instagram!
  • 2 0
 @bemorestoked: may wanna post that here, the link seems to take me back to the homepage
  • 1 0
 @Klainmeister: Weird, sorry. I'm @cywhitling
  • 5 0
 Such great work!
  • 4 0
 This is the best pinkbike article I've ever seen 10/10
  • 2 0
 this was amazing. Please make t-shirts. And large illustrations to be put on a large piece of paper with many small perforated squares.
  • 3 0
 Hmmm pretty sure I just read a great newschoolers post by you. Love the art!
  • 2 0
 Thanks! Yep, just trying to expand my horizons since I love bikes as much as skis!
  • 2 0
 A spoil of riches! This was wonderful to scroll through. I saw more than a few Transition depictions in there and Piper Down? Amazing work!
  • 1 0
 Yup! It's mostly bikes that I've owned, my friends own, or I want to own haha. And Transition ranks high in all of those categories. Not explicitly Piper Down, but a bunch of these were drawn because I wanted to be up in BC riding this summer but couldn't be....
  • 2 0
 Caught some vibes, this one in particular, "comfortable in the knowledge that the only thing we have to do tomorrow is to ride our bikes." Bliss.
  • 3 0
 Looks like I should get a sixer and build some trails with buds
  • 3 0
 Best post on PB in a while!

Really refreshing & beautifully done Smile
  • 3 0
 Perfect. I like very much.
  • 2 0
 Just followed you on Insta. Love this! Definitely made 2020 better. Thanks for sharing with us
  • 2 0
 bravo! wonderful paintings
  • 2 0
 Amazing work, keep it up!!
  • 2 0
 Really enjoyed this. Lovely work!
  • 2 0
 Beautiful work, love the one with the morel's.
  • 2 0
 Fourth one down was my experience today. So true though. Nice work.
  • 2 0
 These are sick. Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Wow it was a new funny adventure every picture! Loved all of these!
  • 2 0
 Wow! Amazing work man keep it up!!
  • 4 2
 Don’t have any tattoos yet but I think I found a source of inspiration!
  • 2 0
 It all looked pretty sketchy to me.
  • 2 0
 Great work, congrats and thanks for sharing!
  • 3 0
 Make a book!!
  • 1 0
 Working on it!
  • 2 0
 WOW... what an amazing talent
  • 2 0
 Nice work, you should do a monthly cartoon for pinkbike, ala Radical Rick.
  • 2 0
 That stagecoach western lay up is amazing...
  • 3 0
 I had him make this up into a shirt for me.
  • 1 0
 @wygator: epic...i want...
  • 2 0
 10/10 amazing content, beautiful work!!!
  • 1 0
 The story telling aspect is just fantastic, really felt I'd been there. The art tho!
  • 1 0
 @pinkbike hit up @sterlingmagnum if you want more content like this (and he's interested Wink
  • 2 0
 amazing!
  • 2 0
 Excellent stuff.
  • 2 0
 Sick
  • 2 0
 I like this!
  • 2 0
 These are really cool.
  • 2 0
 More of this, please.
  • 2 0
 Awesome art!
  • 2 0
 Really good stuff here
  • 2 0
 Beautiful!
  • 2 0
 Very cool!
  • 2 0
 Yeah!
  • 2 0
 Super rad!
  • 2 0
 Awesome
  • 1 0
 Wow, this is amazing! You're one talented SOB!
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of the old days Lib Tech Snowboard graphics. So cool.
  • 1 0
 Super cool!
  • 1 0
 Very well done, Cy.
  • 1 3
 Furries on bikes. Heck yes.
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