When amazing and impossible collide… the Jamaican Fat Tire Festival
Words by Seb Kemp. Photos by Ian Hylands.
I’m kneeling down, with sponge in hand, attempting to scrub away the hard earned dirt and grime from my bike. Each patch of clay, dust, oil, mango juice and cow pat is a deliciously filthy reminder of the past week. Right now my bike is an agricultural time bomb waiting to be dropped upon the UK and the task to cleanse it for re–entry is taking time. The muck won’t shift easily and the stains require elbow grease to erase them, but this chore is a happy one. In each patch of mud and crud there’s a memory of the week’s riding and cleaning them gives me time to sit quietly alone to process the incredible sights and scenes I witnessed over the past week.
Until a year ago, the thought of this little island afloat in the Caribbean only conjured up images of sandy beaches, dreadlocks, and puffs of blue–grey smoke. However, in the two trips to Jamaica I have been fortunate to make in the past twelve months, I found it is so much more than just reggae and Rastas. Jamaica is rather small at only half the size of Wales, but because most Jamaicans live a very modest life in small abodes nestled and squeezed into whatever flat area they can find to build on it crams in the same population. You see, unlike some other Caribbean islands Jamaica doesn’t just sit upon the brilliant blue sea, it thrusts upwards from it.>>