A do-gooder riding across California with a rather large camera

His name is Erik Mathy, he is a Bicycle Times contributor and awesome human. He says it best…

I am currently riding my bicycle, cameras in hand, 1200 miles along the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route (BOMR) to Tucson. Back in the late 1800’s, the BOMR was the main conduit for communications between St. Louis and California. As I was researching the route I was struck by how much has happened along it over the years. Japanese Internment and labor camps during WWII. Migrant labor camps from the Dust Bowl that are still in use today outside of Bakersfield. Indian reservations. Borders that have moved and shifted over time.

Gorman, California

Gorman, California

As I ride through all of these places I am conducting short interviews and taking portraits of people who are involved in all of this, both currently and historically. There are conversations we should be having as a country that we just aren’t. My goal is to collect as many voices as I can in one place to create more discussion. I am doing my best to not just present one side. I am currently in talks with the US Border Patrol, for example, to get an interview while I am Calexico.

Sharon Garrison was born in the Sunset Camp and lived there until she was 7 when it was shut down. Sunset Camp was a migrant labor camp during the Dust Bowl and the setting for the Grapes of Wrathe. The book itself leaned heavily on the camp administrators notes. She is my 4th portrait/interview of the trip. Sharon volunteering at her local polling station. Oh, and she is doing so with a broken hip. She's out doing her civic duty.

My fourth interview of the trip. Sharon Garrison was born in Sunset Camp, a migrant labor camp during the Dust Bowl and the setting for the Grapes of Wrath. Sharon was volunteering at her local polling station, doing so with a broken hip.

As usual, I am pairing my ride with a non-profit fundraiser. In this case, it’s Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). KIND is a legal non-profit that provides legal counsel to children in Immigration Courts. I’m a firm believer that we are all equal under the law. I don’t care how you got there, once you’re there, you should have all the rights anyone else has. Putting a toddler or a 6-year-old behind a desk to face off against a government attorney without legal representation is not “Equal under the law”.


KIND is also working to address the root of the cause, which is immigration policy as set by the Federal government. They have a policy arm in DC that talks to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle every day. If you feel moved, please donate to KIND. The link is below. I appreciate it greatly, and the children appreciate it even more!

Donate HERE!

Erik’s Instagram

Live Mapping of Erik’s ride with photos, FUN!

And a couple more photos…

Erik rides a Rawland

Erik is sponsored by Rawland, Huckleberry Bicycles, WTB, Klite, Revelate Designs and Whisky Components.




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