Berliner Fahrradschau

Art & Culture: Carlos Fernandez Laser

Carlos Fernandez Laser is a Hamburg based photographer who loves being on the road. His photographic roots lie in BMX riding and at the edge of the stage for punk bands. Today he travels internationally for advertising and fashion clients or is globe-trotting himself by bike through foreign lands.

What will you show at the Fahrradschau and what is the story behind it?

“THE JAPANESE ODYSSEY – When it rains in Japan…” presents my trip with Philipp Lee Heidrich on the Japanese Odyssey, a long distance qualification – a stretch that goes right across Japan. We started off the first day with a beautiful sunrise and gorgeous weather… then came two typhoons and the rain began…

From Lisbon to Marrakesh, from Warsaw to Helsinki – and all of that on a fixie! And now right across Japan on a geared bike. What is the special appeal about traveling with a bike?

It’s faster than walking, but not as fast as by car, where, as a driver at the steering wheel, you don’t have much time to take in and enjoy your surroundings. On a bike, it is so wonderfully easy to encounter the many impressions and soak them in. And when you arrive at a place, you are usually very warmly welcomed. On trips with a bike, you can really immerse yourself deeply in other worlds.

Did you ever come up against your own limits?

At some point on the seventh day, Philipp said: “It’s just your head that limits you.” I think up to a certain degree, he’s right. Sure, at some point, it’s just brutal, being constantly wet and having to swim up mountains, but somehow we kept going… Up until the point when I tore off the derailleur… that was the end.

Let’s indulge in adjectives like intense, beautiful, impressive or unforgettable – what was the highlight of your trip?

Everything… every one of the trips, whether alone on the bike or in a support vehicle was wonderful. To explore a country at bicycle speed is just the best. But if I should recall a real highlight experience, then the climb to Mt. Norikura, our fifth checkpoint on the Japanese Odyssey. It was the fourth day of constant rain and at the end of the leg, a 38 kilometer long ascent to 2,900 meters above sea level. The last twelve kilometers were in the fog. That was the hardest stretch in Japan – but looking back, an amazing adventure.