Maybe you saw videos from the Red Bull Rampage last month. The mountain bikers hucking gargantuan gap jumps and nail-bitingly steep descents in the Utah desert? It was sick, for sure. But did it inspire you to get out on your bike? For most of us, it’s thrilling to watch clips like those, but maybe a little unsatisfying.
As I scrolled through Facebook bombarded by Rampage videos, a photo from Joey Schusler appeared. A mountain biker, photographer and filmmaker for Yeti Cycles, he’s not exactly an everyday Joe, but what captures me about his photos is how he seems to always be exploring new adventures in his “backyard,” like bikepacking the Colorado Trail or exploring the Indian Peaks Wilderness west of his home in Boulder, Colo. The stuff he does is truly rad, but there’s something more accessible about the Instagram photos he posts—at least in my imagination—than the brain-bending shots from the Red Bull Rampage. They inspire me to get out. To think up new, fun adventures, fill up my backpack and hit the trail.
Here are a few of my favorite “real-life” inspirations on Instagram. Some of them are pro athletes, some are not. But the common theme is a spark of excitement for the landscape outside their doors, and the drive to get out and explore.