Graveliers: Quarantine in Black & White with Josh Becker

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Quarantine: noun; a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.

Right now, we are living in a state of absolute uncertainty with COVID-19. In California, we have been required to “shelter in place” since March 17th. The initial shock of the lockdown created a feeling of being ungrounded, but as time passed, we’ve adjusted to the “new norm” as we know it. Out of all of the ways life has shifted, the one thing I just can't seem to get used to is going grocery shopping. From distancing myself from others while dodging people and their carts, to wearing a mask as my glasses fog up while trying not to touch my face, to getting in and out as quickly as possible. Grocery shopping used to be easy, now we come home and wash and sanitize the groceries we just bought. Hell, we’ve even been washing beer cans. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to all of this. 

Amidst all the chaos, I think it’s safe to say that I am ecstatic that cycling and bike shops were deemed “essential” in most of the US. As much as I like getting in a good workout, I’m not a big fan of riding a trainer indoors unless I have to, and I don’t mind riding alone either.

 It gives me plenty of time to detour my mind out of work mode and let it wander. 

Riding solo (or with my girlfriend) has given me plenty of time to roll out of the house on my bike armed with my camera and shoot the beautiful scenery of the place that I live.

When I think of the word “quarantine”, I cannot seem to think of life “in color”. Quarantine in and of itself, is rather black and white, and the rhetoric of the moment is rather black and white as well - stay home and flatten the curve, or don’t and spread the disease. Black, and white.

 Shooting everything in monochrome has made me look at the routes I normally ride a little differently. Instead of finding the bold bright blues of the ocean, and the dark rich greens and reds amongst the redwoods, I’ve been finding the beauty in the blacks of the shadows, accompanied by the different tones of grey that the colors give the images. 

Even though I terribly miss shooting the colorful good times and shenanigans of group rides with our friends, I’m stoked that we can still get outside and ride bikes! While the world goes through one of it’s heavier chapters in a generation, I’m finding solace in the ride, and appreciating the black and white nature of it all. 

If the current state of COVID had never arrived on the scene, I would be training my ass off for my first Dirty Kanza 200 right now. I’ve only rode a double century once, and it was both physically and mentally challenging, to say the least. From what I’ve heard about the Kanza course with the sharp baseball-sized rocks, and unpredictable Kansas winds and weather in late May, the whole notion is a little daunting to me. But since Kanza was rescheduled (along with every other race in 2020), I guess it will just give me more time to dwell on it. 

Whether you were affected by COVID personally by losing your job, by getting sick yourself, or by losing a friend or family member, my heart goes out to you. I also want to say THANK YOU to all the healthcare and frontline workers out there who are showing up every day during this. We’re all going to ride this one out together 

Words and Pictures By Josh Becker 

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