Local photographer, cyclist kicks off reading project | NevadaAppeal.com

Local photographer, cyclist kicks off reading project

Teri Vance

Capital City Reads kicks off this week with a multimedia presentation by Rick Gunn, who will share photos and stories from his three-year bicycle journey around the world.

Unlike Greg Mortenson – whose book “Three Cups of Tea” is the center of the citywide reading project and focuses on raising funds to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan – Gunn’s mission is more broad.

“What I hope is that people will be so moved by what they see and hear they will, first, investigate the problem, then find their own individual way to contribute,” Gunn said. “Each individual knows their best way to give. I think my job is to remind people that’s why we’re here – to be of service to others.”

Gunn, a South Lake Tahoe resident and former Nevada Appeal photographer, started his journey from the Golden Gate Bridge on July 1, 2005.

After 33 countries, 25,811 miles and 34 months, he returned home a year and a half ago. Since then, he has been hosting his “Soul Cycler: The Man Who Rode a Bicycle Around the World” presentation to share his experience.

“I made a promise to myself and I made a promise to the people when I was in these places, seeing what I saw, that for the rest of my time here I would do something,” he said.

He’s given his presentation at schools, senior centers, community auditoriums, anywhere people are interested, mostly in the West.

“All I can do is keep giving them,” he said. “I hope at some point I can reach a larger audience. As long as there are children starving and suffering, then I will share this message.”

He said he hopes to show people a truer picture of the world than clips of war and other atrocities shown on the news.

“I want to show them the world in the light of my own experiences,” he said, “instead of the five-second sound bites on CNN. Hopefully, they’ll recognize there’s a huge difference.”

He said he’s honored to be a part of the community read and to be involved with Mortenson.

“I think it’s good for Carson City,” he said. “For many people, this may be the first time they are able to look at cultures outside of their own. For the Carson City Library to bring that to people is a gift.”