Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The bike film fest is finally over in Toronto. We all made it out to various screenings, and saw some fabulous films from all over the world.

I cant speak for the other girls, but I think my two favourites were "Jim's Lines" directed by Patrick Trefz for it’s cinematography, as well as stating that a bike ride isn’t about the end result, but the process. While the other one was “Goodbye Tomorrow” by Benny Zenga & Brian Vernor. I’ve known of Ben through some mutual friends for a long time now. I remember being amazed (and jealous) in early high school, learning that he and his brothers had built an entire skate/bike park in their family’s barn. Since then he has continued to develop a great DIY bike/lifestyle/other-ridiculous-things community called The Winking Circle. Who are really worth checking out, if you’re not already familiar with them.

"Goodbye Tomorrow" showed the journey from Cairo to Cape Town on a bicycle, across the continent of Africa. Essentially, I think this film was beautiful, and I look forward to one day seeing more of this trek. I believe that they successfully captured the subtleties of the diverse cultures and people along the way.

I lived in Rwanda, and travelled through much of East Africa last year. And this film reminded me of the many reasons why I miss it there, as well as the continent’s deeply ingrained bike culture. The number of bicycles in Kigali and their variety of function is pretty astounding. From carting about people, to furniture (I once saw a couch precariously strapped on one) to enormous amounts of produce (we are talking like 30 pineapples here).

There is also a really great organization called Project Rwanda. They start microfinance projects involving bicycles in rural areas, and hold a big bike race in the country every year to raise awareness and funds, as well as rebuild community. Admittedly, my favorite thing regarding bikes there, is the fact that doubling is not only legal but encouraged. Bicycle taxi drivers, boys no older than myself, standing twenty or so deep on the red earth across from our market. Bikes woven with fake flowers, tassled cushions and mud flaps sporting che guevara, bob marley, the jamacian flag, religious slogans in broken english, or all of the above carfeully painted by hand.

(kicukiro bike taxis - oct. 2007)

My only bike excursion in Africa were on the back of these bicycle taxis. I constantly wished I had my own bike there, but I somehow knew a one speed cruiser would not have held up very well on all those mountains. So I was left to be content balancing on the back of someone else’s bike jostling along through banana groves.

1 comment:

Irene said...

Post more bike drawings!!!