Kim Horgan: photographing Kansas from the seat of her bike

WE TALK to Kim Horgan about her passion for photography and adventures on her bike.


Kim Horgan is passionate about photography and biking and combines the two to capture breathtaking pictures available at www.kim-horgan.squarespace.com.


SOMETIMES in life the simplest things that give us pleasure can bring out our most creative sides. 


Step forward then Kim Horgan who escapes from the toils of daily life on her bicycle and explores the trails and paths of Kansas. She’s able to combine her love of photography with her daily rides and takes some truly breathtaking photos along the way.


We were delighted when Kim agreed to talk to us and share several of her photos with our readers. They are all available on her website www.kim-horgan.squarespace.com or for her latest shots find her on Instagram at kim_horgan.





What is life like in Kansas? 


I live less than a mile from the State Line, so life in Kansas is also life in Missouri. Kansas City is home to major sports teams, world class museums, amazing restaurants and pretty tree-lined streets. It’s a beautiful city with over 200 fountains and a great jazz scene. There’s really a lot to do here.


When did you get into biking and how often do you cycle and where? 


I rode my bike a lot as a kid. I grew up in rural Oklahoma and had plenty of space to explore. It wasn’t unusual for me to head out in the morning and not come home until dark.


I didn’t ride for years after college but got back into cycling about six years ago when I was in the middle of a very stressful divorce. At that point riding became my therapy, my exercise and my escape. I started back into it slowly, but before long, I was hooked. 


I am not much of a social rider now; I usually ride alone. It’s my way to work things out and clear my head, get some quiet time away (when I ride the trails) and to just ride, without a plan or a schedule.  





Where are some of the places the sport takes you? 


My favourite places to ride now are around Kansas City (a route that often includes the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Kemper Museum, the Kauffman Center, the West Bottoms and the Crossroads District). I enjoy the diverse architectural styles, colourful buildings, walls full of graffiti and interesting neighbourhoods. I try to get out a few times a week, and when I can, I commute to work. 


When not riding in the city, I like to get away from everything and ride one of the trails. A short drive away in Kansas we have the Prairie Spirit Trail and in Missouri we have the Katy Trail. Both are perfect for getting out into nature, away from traffic and just relaxing on the bike. 


Could you tell us more about the Katy Trail?


The Katy Trail is the nation’s longest rails-to-trails project, stretching from one side of the state to the other. There are tree-shaded areas, open fields, beautiful Missouri River bluffs and quaint communities along the trail. The trail is crushed limestone and car free, making it perfect for a slow, casual ride. 


I rode 150 miles of the trail by myself and it was a wonderful experience. I split the ride up over several days so that I could stop at B&B’s in the evening. 


After a long ride on the trail I spent the evening exploring the small towns I stayed in. Rocheport, Missouri, has a gorgeous hill top winery and restaurant that was the perfect dinner spot and is well known as the place to watch the sunset over the the Missouri River. 


Some of the towns are extremely small, often having only 100 or so residents. I ended my ride in Hermann, Missouri, which is home to numerous wineries and charming brick buildings that run along the river. When riding the Katy, be sure to bring your own food and water and spare tubes and tools. There are long stretches of trail where not only will you not pass any towns, but you most likely won’t pass any people either. My goal for next year is to do the entire 237 miles of the Katy. 





What have been your craziest moments on a bike? 


I’ve experienced a few slightly crazy moments on my bike: being chased and bitten by dogs, getting caught in sudden summer thunderstorms, riding across the museum lawn at night as the sprinklers come on, crashing on some ice, running over snakes, exploring abandoned buildings… and meeting a lot of interesting people along the way.


How does being on your bike give you the opportunity to add to your portfolio of breathtaking photos? 


Being on my bike allows me to see things I would never see if I was in a car. I am always turning down a new street or alleyway, seeing where the other path leads, climbing over fences and discovering new and interesting places. I have lived in Kansas City for years, but when I started riding around the city, I saw things I’d never noticed before. There’s no better way to see a city than by bike. 


bike in woods



How have biking and photography made you the person you are today? 


Riding my bike and taking pictures is a combination of two of the things I love the most. Biking has opened my eyes in so many ways. I enjoy the journey, take the long way, I stop often and, when I can, I ride until the sun sets. It’s given me patience and determination, and especially independence.


I feel like there’s a lot of support in the cycling community, both in Kansas City and online through Instagram, Twitter and Strava. People have been very supportive of both my riding and my photos. Some have mentioned that I’ve inspired them to get back out on their bikes and that’s always a great thing to hear. 


What are some of your favourite photos you’ve taken? 


Every photo I take on a ride represents a good memory. I do have a few favourites though. 


You can find Kim’s website at www.kim-horgan.squarespace.com and anyone interested in buying a print can contact her at kimhorganphotography@gmail.com

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