Across the California Desert in 30 Hours

Filmmaker Brian Vernor captures a beautiful and brutal bike trip spanning 192 miles and 24k vertical feet of desert terrain on 16mm and Super 8 film

Courtesy of your highly caffeinated and ever thankful editorial team at FM HQ

Just about a year ago we spent six days bikepacking across Oregon, covering 364 miles over six days with 14,000 feet of elevation gain in every type of weather. It was brutal. And beautiful. Now nearly double the required climbing, replace rain with triple digit heat, and cut the time to just 30 hours and you’ve got something akin to the route ridden by three friends in Hi Lo Cali, a new film by Brian Vernor.

The concept seems simple—bike from California’s lowest bike-accessible point to the highest bike-accessible point. The trip would be unsupported, with three caches of food and water strategically placed throughout the route to hydrate, replenish, and lift spirits. Riders Kenny Rule, Izzy Cohan, and Brian Vernor, on Cannondale bikes, would film themselves (in accordance with the whole “unsupported” concept).


In the moment, the original idea remained simple, though never easy. At the end 192 miles and 24k vertical feet were covered in just 30 hours, with 70 degree temperature swings throughout to top it off. From Badwater Basin to White Mt. Peak the trip was a success. And created one hell of a riveting short.

Published 04-04-2018