The Paperback Gets Its Proppers

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 1.16.16 PMScreen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.54.18 AMWorld Literature Today calls The Coyote’s Bicycle “a landmark work.”

Lit Reactor says it “makes every reader feel affected by the plight of human trafficking.”

The paper back release finds a #1 in Latin America slot on Amazon.

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Photos from the reporting of “The Coyote’s Bicycle” #1

For most of my career, I’ve written for publications that are dominated by photography. While writing The Coyote’s Bicycle, I wanted to recreate the rarified worlds I’d discovered, in words only. I realize this can be a futile task, because we are such visual creatures. And in the end, it’s fun to see images of people and places behind the story. So I’ve decided to start publishing shots from the years of research it took to get this tale. I think people who’ve read the book will get more out of them, but hopefully the unique atmosphere of our southern border finds wider interest:

The phenomenon of thousands of care tires that wash across the Tijuana River, from Mexico into the United States, first brought me to the Tijuana River Valley.

The phenomenon of thousands of car tires that wash across the Tijuana River, from Mexico into the United States, first brought me to the Tijuana River Valley. The interesting thing about this migration is, these aren’t Mexican tires at all, but tires bought new and used by Americans. That is Los Laureles Canyon, Mexico, in the background. These are tires that came to rest in the U.S.

The Tijuana River Valley abuts the Pacific Ocean, where one broad beach is divided by the U.S. and Mexico. This fact causes all manner of strange things to wash up. (That's the bullring of Playas de Tijuana in the background. To the right of the frame can be found Tijuana Sloughs, the little-known birthplace of big-wave surfing.)

The Tijuana River Valley abuts the Pacific Ocean, where one broad beach is divided by the U.S. and Mexico. This fact causes all manner of strange things to wash up. (That’s the bullring of Playas de Tijuana in the background. To the right of the frame can be found Tijuana Sloughs, the little-known birthplace of big-wave surfing.)

This is the fence built under President Clinton's "Operation Gatekeeper" in the 1990s. It is constructed of temporary runway panels used in foreign conflicts. Migrants who cross over, under and through this boundary often etch their names and the date into the steel.

This is the fence built under President Clinton’s “Operation Gatekeeper” in the 1990s. It is constructed of temporary runway panels used in foreign conflicts. Migrants who cross over, under and through this boundary often etch their names and the date into the steel.

The Secure Fence Act of 2007 mandated multiple walls, fences and roads to be built next to the old one, which you can see to the right of Tijuana's International Road.

The Secure Fence Act of 2007 mandated multiple walls, fences and roads to be built next to the old one, which you can see to the right of Tijuana’s International Road.

The walls and fences are joined by Border Patrol agents in trucks, jeeps and on quads. Technology like drones, infrared cameras, laser trip-wires, and seismic sensors also aid to enforcement of the boundary.

The walls and fences are joined by Border Patrol agents in trucks, jeeps and on quads, who monitor everything that moves. Technology like drones, infrared cameras, laser trip-wires, and seismic sensors also aid to enforcement of the boundary.

So, you can see how I found it strange when I went to report on car tires, but discovered that locals were actually swamped with bicycles, bikes that were being used to cross the most fortified five-mile stretch of our 2000-mile border.

So, you can see how I found it strange when I went to report on car tires, but discovered that locals were actually swamped with bicycles, bikes that were being used to cross the most fortified five-mile stretch of our 2000-mile border.

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And these ownerless bikes were piling up . . .

. . . day after day.

. . . day after day.

The people who rode the bikes were nowhere to be seen.

The people who rode the bikes were nowhere to be seen.

But that doesn't mean, that they weren't watching . . .

But that doesn’t mean, that they weren’t watching . . .

 

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Learning “Me Like’em You” in Papua New Guinea

Last April, I traveled to Papua New Guinea to profile the work of Medevac pilot Mark Palm and his family. In an area with few permanent roads, great distances and lots of water, the Palms help patients from remote villages get to medical care. During the trip, tribal tensions ran high, revealing what’s at stake.

When someone in this riverside village requires medical attention, an aid worker must run for thirty minutes and then climb a tree before he can find cell phone reception. Hopefully, Medevac pilot Mark Palm can be found at the other end of the line. Photo Chachi

When someone in this riverside village requires medical attention, an aid worker must run for thirty minutes and then climb a tree before he can find cell phone reception. Hopefully, Medevac pilot Mark Palm can be found at the other end of the line. Photo Chachi

 

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The Big Dirty

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-44-18-amWest Coast cities do way too little to treat or effectively manage street runoff caused by average winter storms. As one source put it, we basically use the same technology for managing runoff that the Romans did: pipes and ditches that get polluted water to the ocean as fast as possible. This means gas, oil, heavy metals, insecticides, pesticides, viruses, and bacteria from animal and human waste are making their way to our beaches unabated. According to the Los Angeles Times, even super-bugs normally associated with hospitals are making their way into the system. Ocean use and tourism are some of the biggest economic drivers in the state of California. But swimmers and surfers are getting sick, some are even dying. As I found in my research, there are relatively cheap and effective infrastructure solutions that cities could put in place right now. The question is: why accept the current the 72 hour ban on ocean use after a storm? Why not work towards an ocean environment that is healthy most of the time? Read more about in my Surfer magazine article “Contagion Present.”

 

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Coyote Excerpt on Vice Media’s Motherboard

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.52.46 AMClick the image above to link to the excerpt

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Q&A with the Union-Tribune

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/21/kimball-taylor-coyotes-bicycle-interview/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/21/kimball-taylor-coyotes-bicycle-interview/

 

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The Coyote’s Bicycle in Hardcover

Picture 6

Available at Powells, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and wherever fine books are sold.

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Surfing Central Africa

A few months ago I traveled with crazy Basque surfer Kepa Acero and Californian Dane Gudauskas to surf the central African coast. Thanks to the hard work of conservationists like Mike Fey, in parts of Gabon, primal forest still laps up on white sand beaches. Elephants and hippos walk on the sand, and at times, the land seems more wild than the sea. Surfer magazine made a short clip about the trip:

 

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The Galleys Are Here!

Galleys for The Coyote's Bicycle are going out for review!

Galleys for The Coyote’s Bicycle are going out for review! The publication date is February 2016, and I’m tripping that it’s going out to the world after so many long yards!

“Kimball Taylor knows with love, no border is impermeable.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway: A True Story

It wasn’t surprising when the first abandoned bicycles were found along the dirt roads and farmland just across the border from Tijuana—the area’s residents were accustomed to all kinds of refuse and detritus—but the bikes kept coming: mountain bikes, touring bikes, BMXs, and beach cruisers, all piling up, day after day. They went from curiosity, to nuisance, to phenomenon. But until they caught the eye of journalist Kimball Taylor, only a small cadre of human smugglers—coyotes—and migrants could say how or why they’d gotten there. This is the true story of 7,000 bikes that made an incredible journey and one young man from Oaxaca who arrived at the border with nothing but the clothes on his back, built a small empire, and then vanished. Taylor follows the trail of the border bikes as they make their way through a surprisingly diverse spectrum of society’s most powerful institutions, and, with the help of an unlikely source, he reconstructs the rise of one of Tijuana’s most innovative coyotes. Touching on issues of immigration and globalization, as well as the history of the US/Mexico border, The Coyote’s Bicycle is at once an immersive investigation of an outrageous occurrence and a true-crime, rags-to-riches, coming-of-age story.

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Recent Publications

The tale of my growing radiation fear as I traipsed through North Eastern Japan—meeting and interviewing local surfers—is finally out in Surfer magazine’s big issue. All of the contamination paranoia on the West Coast of the United States got me pondering the plight of surfers closest to the Fukushima-Daiichi meltdown. What were they thinking, I wondered. Pick up a copy and find out.

IMG_1313This is the "wave splitting shrine." Standing on an average corner between a convenience store and a noodle shop, this shrine marks the place where tsunami waters have halted their inland march. The shrine lists tsunami events that stopped here as early as 800 A.D. I admonishes future generations not to build closer to the ocean than this point. It was a warning that wan not heeded.IMG_1231

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The annual Big Issue details the biggest challenges faced by today's surfers.

The annual Big Issue details the biggest challenges faced by today’s surfers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with Alex Gray and Pete Devries, cover boy Josh Mulcoy struck gold on their exploration of the Aluetian Islands. Also in the issue is my profile of Josh, a surf wander whose flare for extreme conditions was almost predetermined.

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I’d like to thank the good editors at The Surfer’s Journal for excerpting my essay “Margaritaville,” for issue 23.2. The piece details my visit with the Gulf Coast’s Sterling and Yancy Spencer during the B.P. Oil Spill of 2010. As soon as I arrived, a hurricane formed off of the Yucatan Peninsula, which meant unexpected waves but also that millions of gallons of crude oil could wash ashore with the swell. We surfed until it did. The story is printed in Drive Fast and Take Chances: Fair Warning from Surfers.

 

Excerpt from "Margaritaville," an essay in Drive Fast and Take Chances.

Excerpt from “Margaritaville,” an essay in Drive Fast and Take Chances.

TSJ Issue 23.2

TSJ Issue 23.2

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