Video: On Photography, Mountain Biking & Mental Health

Dec 5, 2020
by Yama Folk  


As worldwide Movember campaigns come to a close and we head into the last month of what has been a crazy year for all, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the simple moments in life that bring us joy and fulfillment. We're not talking about life changing experiences, rather the small moments we often overlook. I know for a lot of people viewing this; riding bikes is more than just a pastime, for many of us it's the best way to clear our often cluttered heads.

In previous years during the month of November, we've grown some seriously dirty/seedy moustaches. It needs to be added, it was all for good reason. As part of the Movember campaign, we'd don the mouth-brow to raise collective awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

This year, we decided to change gears in how we'd promote awareness; we've made a short film. There are many insightful stories out there, illustrating how individuals have overcome depression. We love these stories and what they do to deconstruct negative connotations surrounding mental health challenges. However we wanted to make a film through a slightly different lens in regards to mental health.

It's impressive how much mental health awareness has improved in recent years, things are certainly moving in the right direction. We wanted to add momentum to the more broader experience of the concept of mental health that is emerging. Rather than specifically associating the term 'mental health' with over-coming depression or moving from places of darkness to the light. Society is now seeing it as more holistic and all encompassing; in essence a continuum that journeys closely with our state of simply 'being'. The highs, the lows, and everything in between as well.

Whilst still valid and important, mental health awareness is not solely about sharing stories of overcoming challenges. It describes the simple maintenance of mindfulness and the recognition of our greater context.


We wouldn't say healthy eating and physical exercise is just for professional athletes... it's for all, and so is mental health. Maybe we pay more attention to it when things are hard, but it's still there (arguably even more) when they're not. It's the curious juxtaposition of a dynamically- evolving, constant-presence in our daily life.

With this film we wanted to focus on Alec and his unhurried enjoyment for photography and cycling. Two passions that he feels contributes positively to his life, and keeps him coming back to. He is grateful these things echo meaning for him, and have become steady, creative outlets for his sense of self amongst the pace of our modern world.

Let's celebrate simple things that bring us joy and honestly address things that don't. This is where mental health begins.



Alec has a 9-5 job as an engineer, this is one of the main reasons why we teamed up with him. We wanted to feature an everyday- creative. Someone who pursues their passions for nothing more than good old fashioned, humble enjoyment. Photography and cycling are true and authentic curiosities of his. We love that even if nobody knew Alec took photos and rode bikes, it would not stop him.

When we first stumbled across Alec's work on Instagram, we were instantly drawn in. He has a unique way of photographing cycling in particular. Focusing on the lifestyle aspect that encompasses the sport. Often capturing frames on solo rides, regularly taking photos that don't actually feature a subject riding a bike, as you would expect. His photos are beautiful. His ability to capture stunning, natural light allows us to share these quiet moments of unassuming joy, that could otherwise, quite easily be overlooked. It's also refreshing to notice his humble following. Which just goes to show that the amount of followers doesn't signify the quality of work at all. There is no doubting Alec's work; top shelf stuff.

Here are a a few of Alec's frames from the shoot. For more of Alec's work check out https://www.instagram.com/alecsuriyuth/ (@alecsuriyuth).






It takes a lot to change the perception of wider society. Here's to the hard work of campaigns such as Movember. There is no doubt that over the last 5-10 years general perceptions towards mental health have greatly improved. More people are talking about, seeking help and generally acknowledging the realness of it.

It's exciting and encouraging to see these positive attitudes towards this issue moving forward on such a large scale. Although, we must continue to remember the motivation behind this conversation by recognizing and giving light to alarming statistics that continue to exist. For example, the suicide rates, particularly amongst young males is concerning. It is the second most likely way Canadian males aged 15- 44 years will die.

Addressing such a complex issue happens over time with small, collective steps. Whilst our film doesn't directly address the issue of suicide, we're hoping that discussing mental health on a broader scale will contribute to the ongoing conversations and positive change we're seeing on perceptions towards mental health.

Next time you go for a spin soak it up, maybe even stop to take a photo every now and again and enjoy what those moments bring.













28 Comments

  • 32 0
 There is no doubt, in my mind; I haven't ridden my bike(s) in a lonnng time, and my mental health is suffering for it.
  • 14 0
 Hey man, I was there from May - October of this year and it was beyond shitty. I rededicated myself to the sport last month and am not looking back. I struggle with depression and anxiety every day and riding, my dog, and a few other things keep me going. Hang in there and get back in the saddle when that time comes!
  • 5 0
 I hear ya mate, thank goodness for bikes. They can’t fix all our problems, but they certainly do a good job.

Thanks for sharing, glad to hear your back on the bike ???? @extratalldirtrider:
  • 4 0
 @extratalldirtrider: ignore the question marks haha, tried to do a thumbs up emoji and it posted question marks
  • 3 0
 @YamaFolk: no problem man and thanks! It is amazing how mountain biking really improves our mental health.
  • 4 1
 I have ADHD and cycling, sports, physical demands, on my body keep me from doing some crappy shite. It keeps me wanting to be above ground. It lets my would breathe in a world we were not designed to exist. Peace out my distant brothers and Sisters
  • 5 0
 I hope you mean “peace out” like you are going to bed, or walking the dog, or something else light hearted and not giving up . Don’t give up the fight brother!
I too am an ADHD genXer and we are living in a world we weren’t designed for and bikes sports and physical demands are what keep me from doing crappy shite too. So keep doing them. If you can’t ride or hit the gym regularly then I challenge you to look into work in construction where you are out in the environment using your Brain and your Braun to create Beauty. Switch things up in life-No better time than the present. Done wonders for me

Keep up the good fight genXer!
  • 3 0
 Love the simple nature of the film. Ties in really well with the mental health message. And being an anxiety sufferer my bikes and love of photography definitely help keep me sane. I would go nuts without my outdoors in any capacity. Thanks for making this film and tying it together perfectly. Very true all the mental health points and glimpse into how we are as people. Great pics Alec! @Fusion95 @YamaFolk
  • 2 0
 Cheers! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your comment!
  • 3 0
 There is no doubt, in my mind; I haven't ridden my bike(s) in a lonnng time, and my mental health is suffering for it.
Alec really sets a good example. He's an excellent photographer, too.
  • 6 0
 really nice edit man , 1000 times bravo
  • 3 0
 Thanks mate, glad to hear you enjoyed it.
  • 3 0
 Hey Alec, amazing video and photos! Would you mind sharing your camera set up? I noticed the XT-2. What lenses do you have for it?
  • 4 0
 Cheers! Shooting on the XT2, and most photos for this project were with a Canon 50mm 1.4 LTM. I've also got a Fuji 16mm 2.8!
  • 1 0
 @Fusion95: the atmosphere you create in your pictures is so great. reminds of surf/lifestyle magazines. i sold my camera gear some time back including a fuji xt-1. certainly regret selling it now. I think the fuji cameras are something to keep for life.
  • 3 0
 See photographers own Knollys, they ARE beautiful and photogenic!
  • 1 0
 True that, good looking rigs for sure. Alec’s custom build is dope. The custom decals are pretty cool. Check his insta for more pics of the build.
  • 2 0
 I love the video! Sends a great message for a sensitive subject. Thank you for sharing your work!
  • 3 0
 Beautiful film and important message. Thank you.
  • 2 0
 Great Presentation. Love stuff like this - Thanks!
  • 3 0
 Thanks mate, a lot of time was put into this one. Was a true passion project. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.
  • 2 0
 I only get depressed when I’m honest about myself...
  • 1 0
 There is power in vulnerability and us men need to take that on more often. Awesome story.
  • 1 0
 really well done Tom. awesome work.
  • 1 0
 Brilliant! Chapeau!
  • 1 0
 Beautiful work!
  • 1 0
 god damn, that hit home.

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