Jake Dean’s Photo Contest Entry

Jake Dean

Serving in a war on the other side of the world, the word “freedom” gets thrown around quite a bit. It is usually used to describe the basis for contingency or in other abstractions. Eventually, the word loses its meaning and becomes just another catchphrase. However, the most concrete definition of freedom I can think of is the ability to be able to go where I need to, when I need to, and powered solely by myself. Whether here in a deployed location in the midst of a war, or back at home, I can attain that feeling of freedom simply- and exclusively- from riding my bike. In spite of hostile fire, adverse conditions, and the general sense of being so far from home, I am comforted by the child-like sensation of getting behind a set of handlebars and pedaling away to my destination.

Jake Dean

[Entry #240]

30 Responses to “Jake Dean’s Photo Contest Entry”

  • RDW says:

    Wow. I’m trying to imagine riding in body armor. By the way, thanks.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I vote for this one.
    And what a superbly written paragraph.

  • Ari Hornick says:

    Perfect! Awesome! Amazing!

  • Billi says:

    I say winner! Extremely well written. I’ll think about that the next time I’m on a ride. That someone on the other side of the world is riding in a flak jacket. that is hard core cyclist. My opinion about the politics of these wars doesn’t matter at all, what does matter is our servicemen and women serving our nation, and the world. I served in the military during a conflict, and I did have some issues with the politics behind it, but I put those aside and did my duty to my country. I am proud of our military. I’m glad to see people honoring our servicemembers. Now we just need to support them better when they come do home. Sorry if I made this something else.
    Jake, I’m glad you have some opportunity to ride and experience the freedom and joy of being on a bike. Happy Pedaling!

  • Kelly M says:

    Winner! A++

  • Jeff Johnson says:

    Jake, thanks for serving our country.

    May God bless you and those you have left behind in our service.


  • Gaff says:

    Winner. No doubt.

  • Bobby John says:

    Brave Soldier
    Brave Man
    Brave Cyclist
    God Bless You

  • randomray says:

    I say winner , this has my vote . With all the great photos and essays this is the best . It speaks of things all cyclists experience and far , far more . Good luck and come home safely .

  • John says:

    This gentleman needs to be profiled! I am curious as to what others think of his bicycle in times of war? Or what the natives think of it? So many questions….

  • Adam says:

    Thank you for your service Jake. Excellently written. My vote to you.

  • Saddle Up says:


  • Dan says:

    Jake, thank you for your service. It might be trite, but you service so that we can have the freedom to ride. Again thank you and our prayers are with your and all that service with you.

  • John says:

    Thank you, Jake, for your service and your thoughtful, articulate reflection.

  • Zen says:

    Thank you for your service to our country and excellent post! You just made my day! Safe travels!

  • Ken says:

    Jake your photo and paragraph have touched a nerve in me.

    Here in Portland, I ride my bicycle to duck away from the grind of a desk job. I am warm, safe and comfortable, just mildly annoyed. Riding my bike is indeed just as fun and freeing now as it was when I was eight years old. But when I think that my bike represents personal freedom and I then look at your photo, I know it is time for me to measure personal freedom using a different yardstick. By simply riding a bike in a dusty, war-torn country, you are performing a courageous act with dangers I cannot imagine. May riding your bike bring you catharsis for a very long time! This is the photo, Alan.

  • Dan W says:

    Fantastic entry Jake, thank you!

  • Erica Lucci says:

    So powerful.

  • Anna M says:

    Three votes from Nesh’s cousins in Oregon! Hope you two are staying safe over there and wishing you home soon!!!

  • Kent Johnson USAF SMSGT (Ret) says:

    This is why we are the best military organization in the world! Thank you Jake

  • Judith Cone says:

    Jake Dean’s photo of bike is great, especially in his BDU’s. His piece is well written and about says it all. A bike does give you a sense of freedon like nothing else can.

  • Ling says:

    well done… I vote for you.

  • Shawna Dziedziak says:

    Jake you are most definitely a winner…I knew it the first time I got to train you. Thank you for the privilege to be your supervisor. God bless you and may you both return safely. I hope I get to see you again.

  • Kenzie says:

    Jake remember when we were kids. u stayed over at grams house and shelb and i would get all excited. we would always make fun of you braces and u would say wait till u get them. i was around 4 then now im 13 and your married and moved away. I miss when we were kids. i love this photo! my computer is being stupid so i cant vote but i did post on facebook to get others to vote. I love u and neshanne both. stay safe u guys hopefully ill see u soon! love doodles :) aka kenzie

  • Joe Dean says:

    Jake –
    Great photo. Glad you are still getting on the bike over there.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Tiffany says:

    Well, you’ve certainly got my vote.

  • Peter Dean says:

    Great photo! I love that you brought your bike on tour.
    Stay Safe.
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Uncle Peter

  • Chris Dock says:

    Way to go Jake! You need a new bike…so you can look like me. Ha ha…just kidding. Keeping freedom alive one bike at a time!

  • Melissa Bayle-Burke says:

    Jake, Your photo and essay say it all. You are an amazing young man I still remember you and casey playing at gramma’s where have the years gone. So proud of the man you have become, stay safe love Missy

  • Chad W. Carroll says:

    Very Nice, I’m proud of you little bro.
    If you ever need an extra push while you’re riding just think of T-1000 chasing after you.
    Stay safe and tell my sis i lover her.

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