Chris Lanaway is a professional photographer as well as a keen angler and mountain biker. Originally from the UK, he is now based in Sweden but his work takes him all over Europe. Stowed away with with camera kit on shoots, Chris almost always finds space for his fishing equipment too. In this short film, get an insight into how he escapes the constant buzz of every day life by combining his passions for both cycling and fishing.
Reading time: 4 min
Adventure is a term often reserved for moments of significance that take place well beyond the every-day routine and repetition of our daily lives. But the rise in popularity of smartphones and the compulsion to always share our experiences and adventures has led to a somewhat limited narrative of what exactly can be defined as ‘adventure’.
Speaking to Chris about the recent coming together of his hobbies: MTB and fishing, it became clear that by rethinking these definitions, he was able to create a new experience for himself that allowed for truly accessible, unique and rewarding experiences in the woodlands and lakes of Sweden, where that he calls home.
“Modern society is overloaded with the buzz of smartphones and the rush that is the daily hustle to live up to the life expectations projected onto us through social media and reality TV, it can be hard to find moments of calm and switch off. We are addicted to our phones and social media and I am guilty of this myself. However, in more recent years I’ve found some distance from the constant connection and living life through my phone, overall feeling all the more better for it.
“I had the pleasure of working with the legend Mike Hall a few years back. He had an abundance of captivating views and opinions on adventure, bike packing and wild camping – but one quote from my time with him really stood out to me.
Adventure is not necessarily about roughing it, it’s not about being out with the bears in the trees in the woods. It’s whatever scares you a little bit you know, people can have adventure in their daily lives
“This resonated with me hugely at the time and to this day, it still does. Combining mountain biking with fishing, it’s an almost perfect combination when you consider the quote from Mike.
“I will often head out my door with no real agenda in mind when it comes to riding, I’ll have an idea to hit a few spots but no real plan on how to link them. I’ll find a trail and just follow it to see what lies ahead. I live in Southern Sweden in an area with steep rocky valleys, and sometimes you find gold in the form of a loamy snake winding down the hillside back towards the river. Other times you get spat out onto the top of large cliffs created through historic mining operations – safe to say they are not ridable. It’s that sense of unknown, it scares you a little making you feel alive in that moment.
“The same goes for fishing, you can head to a river or lake but you have no idea what lies beneath. Sweden is renowned for its enormous pike, essentially a type of freshwater shark. An alpha predator that is highly camouflaged and attacks its prey with pinpoint accuracy and lightning speed! It’s worth noting that they’re not all big and scary, though, as you might spot in the film, that said it’s the sense of the unknown.
“You cast your lure out and suddenly the rod lurches around, you wait a moment to see what you might be attached to and ponder if it’s a “big one”. I’ve fished for pike for many years but even today, when a bigger one slips into the net, there is always a sense of nervousness and fear due to the reputation of these impressive fish.
“Now I say it’s an almost perfect combination as we’re talking about wild animals and riding out into the wilderness, sometimes you hit a dead end or maybe you won’t catch a fish. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, I feel there is no better way to connect with nature. Riding a bike is an emotional experience, we become connected to our bikes and they connect us to the terrain beneath us.
“Bikes are generally quiet and so I’ve had some incredible chance encounters with wildlife I never imagined I could be so close to, the same goes for fishing. To catch a fish you need to be quiet, one time I was quietly sitting beside the bank and was able to watch a young otter play mere meters from me. No high-tech outdoor equipment will create these kinds of experiences, keeping it simple and getting out there is the only way to really be amongst nature and see it in unadulterated Instagram form.
“Keeping it simple for me is loading my Backcountry Frame Pack with a jacket, my reel and some lures. I use a pair of Velcro straps to attach my rod to the frame alongside the Frame Pack and use my Backcountry Hydration Backpack to carry sustenance and other essentials like tools to safely handle the fish. It’s a simple and lightweight solution that, given the time pressures of modern life, allows me to capitalise on those short moments of spare time to escape and disconnect. I Set my phone to “Do Not Disturb” and head out to reconnect with the wilderness embracing the experience, which is unique every single time.”