Born Benjamin Woodruff Schneider, Woody shook off his training wheels in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, situated snugly amidst the rolling hills of corn and soybeans. After giving the closing remarks at his high school graduation, Woody attended Bates College in Maine, followed by a stint at St. Petersburg State University in Russia. Finally, Woody enrolled at Brown University in Rhode Island. During his time at Brown, Woody became a published physicist, a fiction and travel writer, an experienced backpacker, and an experimental and electronic musician. He and Scott quickly struck up a friendship, which blossomed into weekly bicycle journeys around Providence. The rides grew longer and longer until one day the two realized Rhode Island was too small to quench their thirst for wheeling. Thus the AsiaWheeling pilot study was born. After that savage journey, Woody began working as a management consultant in Washington DC until the call of wheeling became to strong to resist. And somewhere in the heart of a great mountain, a dragon stirred…
Summer of 2006 brought Scott to work throughout India with PlanetRead, a social enterprise funded by the Google Foundation. Here, he negotiated flash floods in rural Rajasthan, Mumbai local trains, and the publicists of Bollywood stars to produce a documentary about PlanetRead’s initiatives subtitling Bollywood songs to improve literacy. Scott spent spring 2007 at Hong Kong University, studying China’s economic, industrial, and cultural development. In China, Scott ventured to electro-mechanical fabrication plants, electronics markets, African trading colonies, and the Tibetan plateau. Scott holds a BA in Economics from Brown University and worked in high frequency trading at Lehman Brothers and Mizuho Securities in Tokyo, Japan. He is a founding partner of Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup.
Great Helmsman & Chairman of the Board
When not aggressively exploring the world, Dr. Campbell lives in Grinnell, Iowa, employed as a professor of Biology. His research focuses on the ecology and species composition of tropical and subtropical forests in both the Paleotropics and Neotropics. Among other endeavors, he is currently studying the 1,200 year-old signature of the collapsed Maya civilization on the species composition of the Maya forest. In collaboration with colleagues at Nanjing University (where Dr. Campbell is an adjunct professor) and Hainan University, Dr. Compbell has two study sites in the subtropical forests of Hainan Island, in southern China, where he works to investigate patterns of tree species distribution and the economic botany of the minority Li and Miao tribes.
India Bureau Chief
Originally from Dharwad, Karnataka, Nikhil speaks fluent Hindi, Kannada, and English and has facility with Marathi, Gujarati, and Oriya. As his graduating classmates took coding jobs at US software firms, Nikhil joined PlanetRead to engage his passions of, media, startups, technology, and humanitarian service. Nikhil is an active blogger and traveler in India, his sights keenly focused on discovering the new, new thing. Based in Bangalore, Nikhil currently works in business development at Minglebox, an Indian social networking website. He holds a bachelors of Computer Engineering from The National Institute of Technology in Surat, India.
Greater China Bureau Chief
A native of Fujian Province, Gao Jie has worked throughout China advising foreigners on navigating logistical challenges of the Middle Kingdom. Jie first met Scott helping him navigate confusion of the Guangzhou train station, leading her to serve as adviser on the arbitrage of green tea into Hong Kong. She later honored him with the role of “firecracker boy” in her twin sister’s wedding. Gao Jie currently serves as a Solutions Specialist for Oracle in Beijing. She holds a masters in Business Information Systems from ESC Rouen, where she spends time practicing her love of French.
Khazakhstan Bureau Chief
Alex Visotzky was born and raised in New York City. He first became entangled in the former Soviet Union when, in hopes of fending off his advances, an attractive woman told him to take a Russian language course at Oberlin College. He found himself comfortable speaking a language with suffixes resembling his own last name. And though Russians are horrified by his language skills, Alex quickly found himself navigating Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, with remarkable finesse. More recently, Alex began working for Transparency Kazakhstan. In addition to that, he writes generally uninformed commentary on oil, Central Asian politics, rap music, and whatever else strikes him for Polar Bear Colony, registan.net, and recently published, Double-Edged Sword: an analysis of the interplay between the energy markets of Central Asia and Russia.
David Fedman is a mountaineer and historian based in San Francisco, CA. His climbs have brought him to ranges across the globe: the Himalayas (India and Tibet), the Spanish Pyrenees, the Swiss Alps, the Japan Alps, and a handful of peaks in the US. His current historical research explores the intersection of man, mountain and modernity as a lens into the alpine imagination in Asia. When not climbing, David can usually be found meditating or playing basketball.
Siberia Bureau Chief
Helen Stuhr-Rommereim is a native of Grinnell, Iowa and a graduate of Oberlin College. At Oberlin she specialized in photography and Russian. She’s spent many years toiling over the Russian language and it’s numerous cases, including a semester studying Russian in Moscow in 2007. Now she is back in the Federation for a year, this time in Krasnoyarsk, the picturesque Siberian city on the Yenisei. In Krasnoyarsk she is gainfully employed by the Fulbright Program to help others toil over English. Helen keeps herself busy taking pictures of things large and small with various kinds of cameras , blogging, and attempting to read Tolstoy in Russian.
David Miller graduated from Concord Academy in Massachusetts as a member of the school administration. He enrolled immediately at a Scuba Instructors school in the Cayman Islands, rising quickly to the level of “Master Scuba Diver Instructor.” After a year of organizing the extremes of experience for youth with Broadreach, he proceeded to attain a degree in Environmental Science at Bates College, founding the Bates College Scuba Society, and continuing to organize underwater adventures at Broadreach during the summers. David went on to work at the Island School conducting their humanities program, spending plenty of time underwater, and more recently taking on the task of leading the AsiaWheeling dive and submarine unit.
Mekong Bureau Chief
Stewart Motta was born in the high mountain valley of Vail, Colorado, but moved to the great plains at a young age to grow up in Grinnell, Iowa. Stew ventured back to the Rockies for his BA degree in East Asian Studies from The Colorado College. A passion for Asian languages and the extremes of experience led him to live in Beijing cultivating his Mandarin language skills at Beijing Institute of Education. Stew has spent a lot of his time researching Yunnan Province’s international watershed development issues, focusing on the Upper Mekong River Basin. After a month long backpacking trip in the Wrangell-St. Elias Wilderness in Alaska, funded by the Ritt Kellogg Foundation, Stew returned to Kunming, Yunnan through a series of research grants and scholarships and has been conducting research and slowly absorbing Mandarin there ever since. Kunming proved the perfect launching off point for frequent expeditions into Southeast Asia, including trips in Vietnam, Lao, Thailand and Cambodia. Motta’s vehicle of choice for these missions? The bicycle. Realizing this was a match made in heaven, AsiaWheeling asked Motta to join the team in the summer of 2009. Since then, during his travels in Lao, Motta has gained extensive knowledge of the terrain, local customs and language. Stew will expand into far west China and the ‘Stans’ as he traces sections of the Silk Road in 2010 . When not advising AsiaWheeling, Motta pitches in at There Will be Dragons, sustainable water NGOs, and enjoys stirring the cadres in Ultimate Frisbee leagues.
Taiwan Bureau Chief
Elizabeth was born in Maine but immediately expatriated herself to a small island nation at the tender
age of 6 weeks. There she lived on a mountainside at the edge of tea fields, subtropical forests, and a smog trapped metropolis. All too soon her parents wrenched her from her surroundings and settled themselves back in the US. In retaliation, she refused to speak Chinese to them. Elizabeth continued to grow upwards and eventually landed in the corn-nestled lap of Grinnell College declaring “philosophy!.” When not sprinkled in roadside dust, doused in chlorine, or engaged in a wine-soaked blustering, she could be found in Prison. After graduation, as summer was drawing to a close, she decided it was time and staged her return to the subtropical mountainside. The topography was great, but she was vehicle-less, which she remedied by adopting a daily hitch-hiking habit that greatly helped in the climb back to fluency. Since she had done fairly well teaching in prison, she reasoned it might work elsewhere and dabbled in the arts of pedagogy at a Philosophy for Children‘s foundation called “Caterpillar.” In addition, she took up other gigs teaching both short and tall people and also holds regular pocket-change positions translating boring things and illustrating interesting things, the latter of things to be published in book form this spring.
Mongolia & Cambodia Bureau Chief
Following in the footsteps of most great artists, Brandt Miller was born in Jersey. After spending his youth exploring gardens in the nation’s armpit, he ventured northward where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in anthropology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. While at Bates, he studied abroad in Chile, Mongolia, and South Africa where he tasted the lonely and exciting fruit of being an expat. He wanted more. After graduation he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Mongolia to research the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, the first study of its kind in the nation. His project culminated in a multi-media exhibition at the Mongolian Modern Art Museum, funded by the National Arts Counsel of Mongolia, and the United States and British Embassies.
During his Fulbright, Brandt worked as an editor and writer for The Ulaanbaatar Post—the leading English-language newspaper in the country, and had his photographs featuring traditional Mongolian culture published in The Atlantic Monthly. Additionally, he undertook many perilous adventures across both Mongolia and Siberia by land, and volunteered time teaching English to adults living with physical handicaps and photography to underprivileged youth living outside of Ulaanbaatar.
Brandt is presently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia writing for the premier English newspaper, The Cambodia Daily. He plans to continue his work around the globe as a multi-media documentary journalist focusing on marginalized communities.
From legends of strangled guinea pigs and goat testicle stew, Corey was hunted down to ensure Asiawheeling faced only the most truly authentic culinary tour de force. The son of an Alaskan fisherman, Corey was cracking King Crab before he could walk and is now hard pressed to find a food or diet he hasn’t tried; except perhaps Burger King. In attempting to synthesize 200,000 years of human nutrition science for his Harvard thesis, Corey partnered with Discovery Channel to travel to every continent living (and sometimes fighting) with traditional peoples to study their ways of eating. Settling in San Francisco for its health food zietgiest, Corey now runs the charitable natural foods company Core Method putting his passion to work for athletes and moms alike. A big proponent of colonics and funambulism, for Asiawheeling, Corey is the invisible hand that feeds—force feeds if necessary.
Head of New Product Development
Tokyo born and NYC raised, Shoma Nishikawa came of age amidst the world of both Geishas and Gossip Girls. After graduating from the epicenter of Upper East Side snobbery, The Dalton School, he enrolled at Brown University and decided to major in business, later changing to mathematics, then computer science, then finally economics. Shoma spent the fall of 2009 studying metaphysics at the Sorbonne in Paris to nurture a philosophical basis for his physical and digital ventures. He currently maintains a freelance design, programming, and consulting operation (Nishikawa Industries) and a lifestyle design blog (MoneyCashShoms). Shoma continues to develop his lifestyle aesthetic as an electro-bhangra DJ, a host and manager at Delicatessen, and as a Japanese translator for Vice.
Iran Bureau Chief
Bobak Bakhtiari holds a Performance Studies and Religious Studies degree from Bowdoin College and a training intensive at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, CA.
He is currently producing and starring in I Ran Iran, a documentary with Tyler Macnivin in which they run the length of Iran. This process, along with his ancestral roots, uniquely qualifies him to hold the most logistically challenging positon on the AsiaWheeling board of advisors: Iran Bureau Chief.
Bobak has also worked as an Activity Coordinator in Mental Health, has managed Shell Oil service stations, and worked as a mail courier in Ireland. Bobak enjoys feeding avian species and whispering to clouds.
Sri Lanka Bureau Chief
A resident of Northern California, Dan has been on walkabout since he left in 2004 to study Religion, Government, and Theater at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. He first traveled to Sri Lanka in 2006 to study Buddhism at The University of Peradeniya through the ISLE Program. The following summer, Dan covered for one of two political officers at the US Embassy in Rangoon, Burma in the months leading up to the 2007 Saffron Revolution. In Fall 2008, he returned to Sri Lanka to read and occasionally search out the gruesome images of Upiya, the Buddhist Hell. After completing a research internship for the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, Dan moved to Brooklyn, NY to teach 7th Grade US History. Time not spent planning lessons and grading quizzes is used helping to manage a coalition of developing projects in the arts.
Director of New Media
Rachel Morrissey was born and raised in Northern California, where she acquired a taste for frequent moves, wanderlust and rolling hills. It was here, in 5th grade, when Rachel first met Scott, either somewhere on the playground or in line for the water fountain, depending on who you ask. The two remained friends throughout high school, after which Rachel went to UC Santa Barbara to major in International Studies. In the spring of 2007, Rachel lived in Granada Spain where she studied Islamic Art, EU Economics and Spanish Bartenders. During this time she travelled Europe, visiting Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy in a project she called “Pick-Up Lines Without Borders.” In 2008, Rachel was back in the states working for Plug and Play Tech Center, a company that connects Bay Area start-ups with venture capitalists. In 2009 Rachel began working for Microsoft and moved to San Francisco, where she currently lives, acquiring a taste for fog, marathons, tattoos and planning her next adventure.
Malaysia Bureau Chief
Thailand Bureau Chief
Pittsburgh born and Providence bred, Dane repelled the the ivory tower and fled to the hills of the Golden Triangle where he could consolidate his ideology, foment revolution, peacefully, safe from those who’d see him dead. After a year of brainwashing his followers, he abandoned the revolution and his job teaching English at Mae Fah Luang University for Bangkok to pursue more concrete ambitions, namely his addiction to coffee. Serving as editor for Coffee T&I Magazine, Dane developed a serious medical condition known as caffeinism, of which Dane assures his skeptics is “seriously no joke.” Currently, Dane’s bread and butter is with freelance writing, though music production, Thai language and politics demand the most of his waking hours.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Born in San Diego, raised in the suburbs of New York and schooled in St. Louis, Kelsey moved to San Francisco in the winter of 2008 and never sees herself leaving – unless it’s to travel the world. She graduated with a degree in Film and Media Studies at Washington University in St. Louis in 2007 and now works in marketing and promotions with Broadway in San Francisco. Kelsey became interested in AsiaWheeling after meeting Scott and Woody over a rousing game of Apples to Apples at a mutual friend’s apartment in San Francisco, just before they embarked on their AsiaWheeling adventure. Since then she has been spreading the good word to friends, cyclists, travel enthusiasts and bloggers in the San Francisco Bay Area. When she’s not working or exploring the many pockets of the Bay Area, Kelsey enjoys cooking, blogging, swimming and mingling. As an innovative marketing maven, Kelsey brings with her an effervescent passion for life.
Deputy Chief of Quality Assurance
Although descended from hardy Andhra stock and born in the U.K., Rohan Maddamsetti is a Hoosier, through and through. Interested in applying evolutionary and ecological principles to synthetic biology, Rohan has worked on diverse projects in the past, ranging from protein engineering to evolutionary genomics. He is currently a graduate student in the Experimental Evolution group at Michigan State University. Rohan regularly wheels around Lansing, where he frequents all the good Asian restaurants.
West Asia Cultural Liason
A California native, Claudia has found homes throughout the world. Beginning with her 500-mile trek through northern Spain on the El Camino de Santiago at the age of 15, she developed a love of nomadry, foreign languages, and foreign lands. As a student of the Spanish language, Claudia lived in Madrid during a portion of her high school experience, under the keen eyes and hard hands of the nuns of the order of the Sacred Heart. In 2008, Claudia was granted a scholarship by the Department of State under the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. For this she traveled to Cairo and lived for a summer in Al Manyal, an island neighborhood encompassed by the River Nile. There she attended intensive language courses in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. Claudia, now 19, is currently making a home in Providence, Rhode Island as a student of Arabic at Brown University and as a facilitator and coordinator of the Female Sexuality Workshop where she is committed to promoting skills involved in self-actualization and clear communication of desire.
Special Advisor – Turkey & Central Asia
Born in Indiana, raised in Illinois, and holding an Ohio license, Asher thought he knew flat before he went to Turkmenistan in 2007. That trip – and the ensuing time spent studying at Bogazici University in Istanbul – sparked a love in all things Turanic. Although he has returned to Istanbul for a time, Asher is currently in a dual-degree program at Washington University in Saint Louis and Universiteit Utrecht studying natural resource law through an Islamic lens. He has written about Central Asian affairs, focusing on law, energy, and architecture at Registan.net. He also co-runs Turkey’s only independent English-language newssource, İstanbul Altı.
From the days of her pink and purple Huffy with sparkly handle bar streamers to her current trio of racing bike, vintage city cycle, and mountain bike, Cassidy has been a lifelong devotee to the pursuit of urban adventure on bike. Cassidy was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in French Literature and minors in architecture and international + area studies. Today, Cassidy is head-quartered out of San Francisco where she is an active blogger, dancer, non-profit Board Member and of course, cyclist. One of her most exciting two-wheeled pursuits was a 570-mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of the AIDS/LifeCycle fundraiser. Beyond the Bay and the mountainous coastlines of California, Cassidy has used her French, Spanish, and Portuguese skills to travel extensively through France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico. As the Media Guru of the Asia Wheeling team, Cassidy brings with her 5 years of communications experience infused with a zestful enthusiasm for travel, epicurean delights, international community, and cycling.
Uzbekistan Bureau Chief
Being a product of the neo-traditional Uzbek, soviet, post soviet and American cultures Shoney takes great pleasure in cross-cultural activities (like sitting on an Uzbek tapchan eating Italian pizza and drinking Russian kvas preparing to meet two Americans that will take him on a cross-city ride on a Chinese bicycle that will soon get a new Indian tire). Just like most other Uzbeks, Shoney loves foreigners and just like any other Central Asian he’s hospitable. To his delight, Asia Wheeling took absolute advantage of this cultural characteristic when touring Uzbekistan. While not contemplating about the vastly globalizing society of today and hosting random guests Shoney is a student at Babson College with a keen interest in social entrepreneurship. Vastly taking part in various non-profit organizations and exploring sustainable business models he hopes to make a career that will allow him to save the world from itself.