Burned Lines >> Meeting Room O >> Project #1

This project took a look at the effects of wild fires on mountain bike trails in California, how their disappearance upended people’s day to day lives and the amazing folks and organizations that are rebuilding them. We shot this project in November 2018, and although some of the partner brands (The Athletic, Blackburn, Kona Bikes, and others) have teased some of the story and images on social media, it is pending publication in printed catalogues, blog posts and the web.

How it worked

In November of 2018, we took a small crew on a 4 day road trip to three primary locations in Northern California that were affected by wildfires as recently that summer. The intent was to capture stark images that were visually stunning, but also to draw the viewer into the back story and offer content that had more depth than your usual brand work. Barry Wicks from Kona Bikes joined us as our trail muse, Brian Vernor snapped the stills, Jeremy Dunn on words (and drone operator!) and Robin Sansom produced as well as BTS stills/video. We met with land managers, advocacy groups and trail users themselves to understand the personal and communal impacts of the fires. Some of the trails were rideable and had reopened, while others will still under construction . . . including at our own hands as we bent our backs to the effort.

What Partners Got

  • The story will be featured by a major bike magazine in mid July 2019.

  • Exclusive images that highlighted specific products and/or features per the brand’s direction

  • 100+ shared images that spark the imagination and help tell a fantastic story 

  • Multiple written iterations of the story tailored to websites (blogs), and a catalogue feature story.

  • 60 second shared rough edit video + 4 x 15 second versions for Instagram stories

  • IG tagging by creatives + talent during shooting

  • 3-5 direct IG posts for each brand that elected to do so

Image Gallery

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Copy Sample

This is a sample of what the copy’s tone and content will be like . . . not necessarily the actual copy:

The trailhead was at the end of a residential road, complete with proper sidewalks and curbs, and within a few minutes drive of downtown Redding.  On the cul du sac, a house at our nine o’clock had a lush, bright green lawn.  The house at noon was notably dulled at the far corners, and there was a port-o-potty stationed at the end of the driveway, along with workers repairing damage.  At two and four o’clock there were not structures per se, only two separate squares of chain linked fence.  This fencing surrounded the pools of disappeared homes.  This scene marked the start of an exploration of several California trails that have been affected by powerful fires during recent years.  The randomness at which the Carr fire struck some and spared others, was a stark reminder that the biggest toll these disasters extract are on people’s immediate lives, livelihoods and homes. 


In the aftermath of these disasters, there are a myriad of stories of how people experienced loss, sadness, community, togetherness and hope.  The story of the trails seem to be similar:  Deciding which trails are best to restore and repair, and those that might be best to whisper a fond farewell.  Coping with the loss of pumping hearts and spinning wheels, and their healing abilities.  Building an appreciation that might not have been there before.  Coming together with community and putting hands and backs to work.  Understanding the underlying causes and learning how we can do better in the future.