Video: Mountain-Biking Mongolia In 6 Minutes

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We’re really happy to be able to show off some of the video material we’ve been shooting during Ride Earth. Here’s a six-minute blast through Mongolia, kindly put together by our friends at Kona Bikes, also available in high-definition. There’s more on the way, so stay tuned!


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16 responses to “Video: Mountain-Biking Mongolia In 6 Minutes”

  1. Dylan Thomas avatar
    Dylan Thomas

    Thats grate Tom how did I miss it before?
    This is what I love about bikes in the world and I’m looking forward to try and match your video on my 8 year tour next year. 10/10

  2. Your video work is impressive and has no doubt inspired many traveling cyclists. How many batteries do you carry for your video camera and how do you recharge them when traveling through developing world locations? Also, how many video tapes do you find can be carried before they become too much of a burden?

    1. Thanks for the kind words Paul. In answer to your questions: 

      For the Sony A1E that I have used for most of these videos, I carried 2 batteries — a large NP-QM91D and a medium NP-QM71D. They’d give me 6–7 hours of shooting between charges. 

      In developing world countries, I charged the batteries the same way as I did at home — plugged the charger into a power outlet. Rule of thumb — wherever there are people, there’s electricity…

      1. Thanks for your prompt reply, Tom. I am surprised you get by with just 2 batteries. I had imagined AC power would be a scarce commodity for several days at a time or even longer in some areas. 6 — 7 hours of shooting time doesn’t sound like a lot but I guess that is made up of many short periods of seconds and minutes. I commend your encouragement of creative shooting. Technical competence is obviously fundamental but creativity and engaging content is the heart of great video. When I watch your videos I imagine how you executed the shots. You must have expended quite a lot of time and energy cycling up and down the same hill(s), with your camera on a tripod recording the proceedings. Any tips or reviews related to tripods? Also, do you have venues and dates for screenings of Janapar in Australia?

        1. Hey Paul,

          AC power was only hard to come by where there were large distances between settlements (rural Mongolia, northern Sudan). Generally I’ve found the idea that the whole ‘developing world’ lives without food/water/power etc to be a bit of a myth. 

          6–7 hours refers to recorded tape time (i.e. 6–7 MiniDV tapes) and if you’re selective enough as a self-shooting director between charging opportunities, this is plenty. I’ve never run out of battery with this setup — not yet, anyway!

          You’re absolutely right that engaging content — story and character development — is the key to good video. (The Mongolia clip above is definitely not the best example of that!) Once you’ve got that, you can dispense with all the extra stunning scenery/action shots that might look nice but ultimately won’t do much to drive the story forward, and save yourself a lot of battery and tape time.

          It’s a lot of time and energy to set up the tripod shots you mention, but they add a lot of context to a film and help to establish an appealing and interesting style of cinematography too. Time well spent! 

          Regarding tripods and heads, I’ve been through a number of cheap and cheerful plastic tripods and eventually picked up a Velbon FHD-52Q head with Sherpa Pro CF-537 carbon fibre legs in Tehran. It’s not the lightest setup but it’s very stable and pretty practical. No spirit level but having a good eye for a straight line is enough! Decent fluid heads are generally very pricey items for serious video work. Cheap ones usually aren’t worth the money — you can use a standard good-quality still tripod head with a bit of care and get perfectly good panning shots. 

          Vimeo have some really good ‘tripod tricks’ videos, such as

          I’m in the early stages of putting together screening tours of Janapar, so the best thing to do is to keep an eye on the newsletter/Facebook page and I’ll be posting news as and when. It might be a few months off, unless it gets into any of the film festivals down under.

          Hope that helps!


  3. michel bayard avatar
    michel bayard

    I can never understand why cyclist talk about the danger of cycling in big cities and carry their helmets on the back rack or front handlebar, why carry the extra weight at all…and they will always have an excuse why it was not on their head to protect them at that moment the photo or movie was taken.…your bike trip are magical, mickey

  4. Hee Tom

    Why don’t you add this to the WorldcyclerVideos on Vimeo?

    1. I’ve done this now — but look out for a longer version coming soon!

  5. Hey Tom, were the dogs barking at you in Mongolia like they do in Armenia? 😉
    Re: the vid — great editing, great shots, beautiful scenery but I found the music to be a bit much. For the world’s most sparsely populated country, there was a lot of “noise” in the film. With the sloping hills and wide open landscape, I expected more calming tunes and not so much of a staccato delivery, you know what I mean? In any case, that’s just my two cents! It was great to see a snapshot of your trip. Any video shot on this Europe-bound tour with Tenny?

    1. Hey Adrineh. I tend to agree with you about the music — this video was supposed to be a kind of ‘trailer’. I hope we will be able to edit a longer series of short videos telling the story of the trip in greater detail…


  7. Liz Allen avatar

    Brilliant — a wonderful record of your adventuring.

  8. This is an incredibly well shot and edited production. Really enjoyed watching it, definitely makes visualising your experiences a lot easier. You’d both love the back country of British Columbia, what I saw of this footage was — in part — extremely reminiscent of times I’ve spend in Canada’s great out doors this summer.

    Nice work Bro and Andy. See you at Christmas!

  9. I think this is great — you’re setting the bar high! Well done.

    1. Thanks Al! Looking forward to seeing your Iceland vid(s)…

    2. LIKED IT, really an adventure of the beaten track,

Something to add?