Professional cyclist turned landscape photographer Michael Blann has found a way to combine his passions thanks to his spellbinding new photo book Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs. In order to realise his vision, the image-maker set out across Europe on bike, discovering both well-peddled and more remote routes and documenting the breathtaking destinations he encountered along the way. Serene, leafy green foothills morph into dramatic craggy rock formations followed by steep climbs with the reward of magnificent views across deserted valleys. Blann worked his way across mountain ranges – “from the Ardenne’s to the Alps” – where he enjoyed the locals’ simple and seasonal approach to life. These peaceful and harmonious landscapes serve as an almost utopian ideal of co-existence with nature – with an emphasis on the appreciation of outdoors and the personal narratives that stem from it.
The large format book sees Blann’s sublime, colour-drenched images presented alongside contributions from road racing cyclists and local experts, who share intimate memories and stories of life on the road, from the triumph of the climb to the less-well-documented brutality of the sport. Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs offers a rare glimpse into a world where nature forms the perfect challenge for the human body, and makes for particularly aspirational Monday morning viewing.