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Catch Up With Documentary Filmmaker Ryan Le Garrec

At the back end of Summer 2019, Hunt Beyond Brand Manager and Ultra Distance Racer Josh Ibbett. Along with Documentary Film Maker friend and Photographer Ryan Le Garrec had a short filming trip planned in Spain and needed an E-Bike. At the time we did not really ask any questions but after the release of Tugende, Ryans latest film about this year's Race Across Rwanda and lockdown across Europe in full swing. We caught up with him to see how he was getting on and chat filming with E-Bikes.

CC - Firstly, How are you doing, healthy and well? How are you doing with the lockdown? What are you doing to keep busy?

RLG - Oh boy! Am struggling with it big time. I think we all are. Been in for 8 weeks. Not really a fan of the home trainer, so physically am turning a bit into jelly. We shouldn’t complain too much. I have watched refugees in my street walking around with suitcases and nowhere to go. I have two kids at home so I don’t need anything to keep busy. Trust me!

I have a four years old and a one-year-old, when they are not busy fighting each other, they unite to destroy everything else. I wish I had time to get bored. When this thing started I went: “Ok, I am going to try and make the most of it, no worries. I have plenty of work to do, editing, writing, updating…” One week later and I had got nothing done. 

CC - Wow, sounds like a busy house. How did you get to the point where you were happy to release 'Tugende' with all that going on? 

RLG - I tried to squeeze in two hours of work in the morning but id get disrupted and not the “daddy come to play with us” disruptions but more like “daddy Lily is hanging from the balcony!” kinda disruptions. I finished Tugende, a film on The Race Around Rwanda, at night. No energy left from the day. Stuck in a flat, with two kids, and most of this family are extroverts while am an introvert. A slightly autistic loner who needs silence, time on his own, very long rides out in the countryside. 

I was relieved to actually finish the film and felt like 'ok am late on everything but my wife and kids will go mad if I focus on work right now, even if I had left everything to evenings' but I find it really hard to be creative.

CC - We feel for you, I think that has been a struggled for everyone. Getting that work-life balance through the lockdown. Especially with kids that just want to go to the park.

RLG - I have zero energy and even less will. And I have understood one magical thing, life is not about work, we shall all fight our demons at some point, face ourselves, I am trying to be a better husband and father, that’s a work in progress, a big one. Plenty of room for progression there, been a beginner at it most of my life.

CC - Every day is a school day. So, have you got anything done other than good family time?

RLG - The only artistic project that sparks me and one I can actually do without forcing it is a series I have been doing on my Instagram called “isolation views” Its as simple as views from our flat. A project id wished I had never started. However, that flows quite naturally somehow.

CC - Looking back to last summer then, what were you filming and what prompted you to ask us for an E-bike? 

RLG - We were shooting with Josh Ibbett, he is an ok rider who won a few little races. Haha am kidding! Josh is a beast, he won TCR and Italy Divide, a bit of a cyclist! And the fun fact is that I don’t think I know anyone as modest and low key about it. If I had done just top thirty on my attempt at TCR I’d book two tickets on every ride to come along with my big fat ego.

The film that hasn’t been released yet, for a client am not allowed to talk about, but I’ll take the risk to say here that it was in the best European country for cycling and involved a lot of gravel.

CC - Haha, I am sure we can work it out when it is released, sounds amazing though. What about this project prompted you to need to do something different? What led you to need an E-Bike?

RLG - Because there was so much gravel, we wanted to keep close to Josh in as many situations as possible, we had to get out of the car and be able to move fast still. 

I have filmed aboard bikes before. To film well you need to be able to stop pedalling, you need to not have to worry about catching up or passing the rider, you need to be able to do this constantly. If the rider is as fast as Josh, you gonna need good legs and lungs. So an electric bike covers that, there was no way Lander Deldime and I would be able to follow Josh uphill otherwise.

Actually, Lander who had never been on an electric bike prior to this shoot went and followed Josh on a climb at the lowest possible assistance from the motor, straight away. He was out of breath a few times but had quite some fun!

CC - What did you really like about the Cairn, what about the bike made the shoot possible?

RLG - The E-Adventure 1.0 felt like a bike, I mean, it didn't feel any different to a normal bike. My legs just got massively more powerful and it seems I developed a third or fourth lung. The weight of the battery changes nothing in the handling, it is a great gravel bike. You just can not trust Josh when he says 'Gravel'. It will be anything from bedrocks to barbwires fences you’ll need to bunny hop too.

CC - Noted on Josh's route planning, we have been there a few times. Do you think you will be looking to use an E-Bike on future shoots?

RLG - Using E-Bikes on a shoot is a must for me now, filming from a bike allows you an angle that nothing else will match. You see the sights with no limitations, you feel the warmth, cold, humidity, you smell the landscapes and you feel what your subject/the rider is feeling, it’s a matter of respect almost. You don’t have to be a boxer to film boxing or a musician to film music but it sure will help.

CC - So what do you think you would need to change to make it work even better next time? 

RLG - I guess there is nothing I could or would want to change to the bike. I’d just add a few bags on it with easy fast access for my lenses and different gadgets but that has nothing to do with geometry or tech aspects. The battery life was also very impressive.

CC - In general then, what are your views on E-Bikes, where do you think they will go in the future?

RLG - I have different views on E-Bikes, depending on their purpose. I myself have a Cargo E-Bike, I use it to get the kids places, get vegetables back home from the market and sometimes take more gear with me on a local shoot. I am a fan of the freedom it gives me. I don't drive a car and don't really wish to own one. The cargo bike has made my life easier on many aspects of everyday life.

I think E-bikes have a potential to change our cities, change our lives, since the electric boom in Europe, short-distance commuters have far fewer excuses to take the car. You see the result when I was living in Brussels, we were what felt like a million parents on cargo electric bikes. Here in Lisbon, I have only seen two other cargo bikes, one parent and one messenger, people in the neighbourhood I live in have nicknamed me “big bike". 

When it comes to riding for pure riding, be it gravel, road or ultra distance, then it's a different thing to me, I need to rely on just myself. I need the endorphins. I naturally prefer my acoustic bikes.

You Can Follow Ryan Here