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There are a lot of things that you can say about track bike rider Patrick Seabase.
A polymath beyond dispute, he’s an affable creative who brings a multitude of ideas and energy to any project, whether it’s an outdoor shoot with us, an ancient 300km stage of the Tour de France on his fixed-gear bike for Red Bull, or one of his numerous fixed-gear-meets-mountain videos that would comfortably pass cinematic muster. It is these two elements — mountain and bike — that are at the center of what he does. They are what initially led us to championing this particular individual’s work and riding.
So to continue our #MyShortsMyRide stories, we sat down in Patrick’s town of Bern to get the inside line on what makes him, the lone wolf from the city of bears, tick.
ASSOS Of Switzerland — How has life been treating you up here in Bern over the winter?
Patrick Seabase — Good. I mean, here is not the easiest place in the world to train during the winter months, but I have been working hard and building up to some projects that I will be working on this year.
ASSOS — What exactly does that involve for you? We know that you’re not a rider who focuses on competition, but, nonetheless, you have to make sure you’re fit to deal with the rigors of riding a track bike over mountain passes.
PS — I tend to spend the worst of the winter training on the rollers, twice a day sometimes, and also working on my general fitness in the gym. The rollers are good because they allow me to keep the high cadence needed for riding a single-speed bike downhill, while the gym improves my strength for the climbs. I also have been to Nazaré in Portugal twice this winter to do some big wave surfing and ride around there in the warm weather. It is a cool place to ride. As there aren’t any mountains there, the surfing brings a different dynamic to what I can do to stay in shape during the winter, plus the aesthetic of the waves are pretty incredible—it is a place where I can find inspiration too.
ASSOS —Your projects go far beyond just riding your bike in unusual, high-altitude locations, and you’re often the driving (and directorial) force behind them. How do you come up with the ideas? Most of us would feel our knees breaking at just the thought of taking on some of the climbs that you’ve done on your track bike, let alone work through all the logistics behind each trip.
PS — Inspiration can come from anything, I’m really into my cycling, of course, but I tend not to really follow that world too closely, which means that I draw inspiration from absolutely anywhere. Books. Music. Architecture. I spend a lot of time looking at maps and searching the Internet for the most extreme roads, so that tends to be where I find out about the climbs. For my mood clips it can be anything: light, music, and art. It’s a process of finding the energy and the balance in what inspires me.
ASSOS — And once you’re inspired, what’s the process of progressing your idea into reality?
PS — That also depends on a lot of things: where is the project going to take place, what I’m aiming to create, and how big is the project. For example, #1910 was a long-running project that had many different moments within it. These are the toughest ideas to bring into reality, because even though I had thought about this ride many years ago, all of the logistics and preparation behind it took a lot of work and the project spiraled. With that one it was almost a relief and a sense of completion when I clipped in and started the ride. Often, it can be as simple as calling one of the photographers who I work with and getting them to follow me on a particular ride. I try to work more in this organic manner because this tends to capture something different and something that illustrates the aesthetic and minimalism that inspires me to ride. Right now I’m shooting a lot with a Samsung S9, which adds a new dimension to what I create. I mean, I have always been interested in the formats that I can shoot on so this new, compact medium is certainly something that I want to explore more.
ASSOS — Sounds amazing. We can’t wait to see what you publish next. So documentation of your rides aside, what are your tips to anyone wanting to take on an epic ride?
PS — Naturally, the starting point is to comprehend that epic is a relative term. Risk and reward mean something specific to everyone. What I call a low risk—like riding a certain mountain descent on my bike—someone else could call a high risk, whereas a wizened base jumper would equate it as something else completely. We are the only people who can determine the risk for us and also the consequence in taking those risks. Once you understand this then you’ll see that epic is simply pushing yourself to do something that you believe will be a challenge to achieve. Then you have to plan the logistics, where will you stay, what route exactly to ride and, naturally, what to wear. At the center of everything I do, especially in the mountains, is the fact that you’re at the mercy of the elements, so making sure you’re prepared both mentally, physically, and also in terms of equipment, is important. This spring I haven’t left for a ride without the Equipe RS Rain Jacket. I’ll be glad to leave it behind soon. A long-awaited luxury of emptier pockets, the minimalism of the summer, something that I am certainly looking forward to.
Follow Patrick on his next adventures here @patrickseabase
Share your #MyShortsMyRide story here @assosofswitzerland
Photos — Phil Gale @1_in_the_gutter