My Top 12 Photos of 2021

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On a bike, in the studio or online, 2021 was way more fun than the year to forget 2020.

I take a lot of pictures in a year so it was difficult to cut down to just twelve, meaningful and story worthy images. What they may lack in visual design or impact, they make up for in personal meaning to me.  I hope you enjoy checking them out as much as I enjoyed living them.


This is a photo of my good friend Donald. He is a painter, but not like me, he’s a talented, hard working, useful painter. I took this in my home where he was working, he does really great work.


In February 2021, I was contacted by L’Equipe Magazine in France and nearly peed my pants! Come on now, I got to do a few images to be in the magazine that started the Tour de France. Right, this is a favorite to be sure.


I love riding outside as much as possible and with all the great trails in my area I can roll 100 miles without many streets. Public trails and bike paths have become my favorite rides when I’m alone, which seems to be more often these days. This was taken in Grant Park Woods.


Birdman! aka, Keith – my riding partner, my motorhome driver at the Tour de France. My friend. He’s just so much fun to draw too.


Veloist Group Rides were very rare for me this past year and I’ve missed them terribly. On the few occasions I did ride with the group, as usual the riding was great, the conversation lively and the friendships reconnected. Let’s hope there’s more of this in 2022.


Bender is BACK! All hands on deck for a ride with one of the Original Veloist Riders! When my friend Gary is back in town we all find time to ride. Gary lives and rides in Utah now and he was my travel companion during my 2018 TdF. He can fix a flat in minutes, bend a derailleur back in shape with his bare hands and ride a bike on a vertical incline. I’ve seen him do it all.


21 Days of Cycling Art – Tour de France – from the studio again! Not my favorite way to enjoy the Tour but Covid is not playing nice so we stay away. That said, it sure was fun watching all the stages while I drew pictures each day, just like in France. Mark Cavendish tying Merckx stage win record was a highlight.


I woke up one morning in August to find a Great Horned Owl in my back yard. So “Who, Who” did I call, you got it, Birdman was over in a flash with his giant camera in tow to grab some great pictures with me. A rare daylight sighting I’m told.


Kenosha, WI has long been a favorite turnaround and coffee stop for the Veloist CC, on this day I timed my solo trail ride to meet up with my favorite cycling friends.


Well with coffee on my mind, as it usually is, I painted this large canvas of a rider with his favorite beverage onboard.


As the weather started turning cooler and I was a bit under it myself, I found myself thinking about how much I love rides with my friends. Sharing what you love with others only adds to the enjoyment of it, enhances the act and cements it in your memory. Riding alone is fine, riding together is better.


Freedom. It all comes down to freedom. The feeling of flight, of rolling in a never-ending flow with no sense of time, not a care in the world, just free to fly. I’ve been drawing pictures like this for a few days now in December, must be time to get outside again and visit some friends.

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Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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