Pride, Rides, and the Bicycle Film Festival!

First and foremost, let me say to everyone – HAPPY PRIDE! While the focus of this blog is primarily, well, chubby cycling, I cannot let Pride go by without giving a shout out to the LGBTQ community and their allies. You guys are rock stars!

This weekend was also part of the annual Bicycle Film Festival in NYC. It’s over for this year but it’s their 17th straight year, and it’s a great, affordable time out. I went to see Program 2 on Saturday, 6/24, so I’ll be reviewing that one. But before we get to that that biking – my biking!

We started off by biking down to my regular shop, Toga Bike Shop on the UWS. If anyone is looking for a bike shop in NYC I highly recommend them. They are professional, their bike selection is great, and if you buy your bike with them you get free basic tune ups for life, and reduced rates on other services (I swear I’m not endorsed by them – I just like the shop). There are some bike shops with cheaper and second hand inventory, and staff that are just as helpful, but I definitely felt that as a first-tim bike buyer a couple years ago, Toga was the place for me.

Anyway, we had them look at my squeaky brakes, and the other issues, and a decent tune-up definitely helped the bike, and made it a heck of a lot more pleasant to ride. I still want to get a new bike eventually. I’m looking into a hybrid, because the folder isn’t fantastic on hills, and also I like to go on longer rides upstate and folding bikes aren’t exactly great for long, multi-terrain rides. I think I’ll be looking into a hybrid next year.

After that we biked down to Anthology Film Archives, so overall the journey was about ten miles.If you’ve never been to the archives, they’re pretty darn cool. It’s an old building that usually has some neat things showing.

The BFF is great because it has free valet bike parking, as well as Clif bars (they’re a sponsor)! They also usually have some useful messenger bags, hats, and/or other merch up for grabs (all for free). Tickets run at $14 a pop per program, which isn’t too bad, and they also sell passes for the whole week. Here’s a pic of me and Tim (the boyfriend), at the BFF after the ride:

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We went last year too, were we saw Sven: The Final Year, a documentary about Sven Nys, a competitive cyclocross racer with two world championship titles, seven World Cup series titles, and over 140 competitive victories to his name. It’s a touching film about his last competitive season, and I highly recommend it.

Now on to the program I saw yesterday. The BFF usually shows a few short films before the main title, so I’ll give a brief overview of those as well:

Cycologic is about a young woman in Uganda who is determined to bring cycling to her resistant city. Overall, it was interesting. I would have loved if the film were a little longer, as it left me feeling a unsatisfied, and wanting more story. It was overall a good film considering it was a just a few minutes long – and gratifying to see that it’s not just NYC where people hate cyclists, haha.

The next short film was a 25 minute piece, with the lofty title of Tall Bikes Will Save the World. It was a pretty light-hearted and funny piece about a group of brothers who build tall bikes , as well as other kinds of Franken-bikes. It was fun to see they way these bikes were made, but I definitely cringed watching these guys perform crazy tricks. One of them even got doored. It was definitely interesting. Will tall bike save the world? Likely no, but it made for an entertaining film. I’ve included a pic of the tall bikes from the film below.

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The last film, The Bullit’s Burden, was a 50 minute documentary , and the main event of the program. The Bullit is a cargo bike developed by Hans Bullitt Fogh, and sold in the shop Larry vs. Harry in Denmark, although they are owned by people all over the world. The film started out a little slowly, mostly talking about this unique bike and the equally unique fandom – for example a hardened bike messenger from the UK and a strangely happy Danish family, who seem far too well-rested for the number of children they have, in my humble opinion. Everyone who encounters one seems to love the Bullit, however the film took a sharp turn half way through, and focused on a  tragedy within the Bullit community, and the way the community rallied in response.

It could have been a very inspiring story, and it still was, for the most part, but the film lost direction and didn’t always make it clear who was talking to whom, and about whom people were speaking. I think it’s worth a watch, but the makers of the documentary could have done with a little more focus and explanation. Both my friend and I left a tad confused, and we had to check in with each other and my boyfriend to ask things like, “Wait, what was that one part about? Who was that one guy talking about in that one interview?” Honestly, with just a few more subtitles the film could have been more cohesive. However, I’m now super into Bullits. So it worked that way. They’re just cool! Look at them!

After the film festival, my boyfriend and his best friend had a surprise for me, so we walked our bikes a few blocks (our friend did not bike there), and my surprise was –

A CAT CAFE!

I love cats. I love cats so much. I’m a crazy cat lady without the cats. They’re perfect little arseholes and I won’t hear otherwise. Anyway, here are some pics from the cat cafe (not bike-related, but I can’t help but share).

So I had a beautiful day of cycling, and then I got to see bike films, and play with kitties! We biked back after dinner, which made Saturday just about a 20 mile day. Not bad at all!

Today, I biked about 15 miles, 7.5 miles each way to a potluck that my improv group was hosting. I made bread, drank a beer, a mint julep, and a vodka cranberry, and then switched to water for a couple hours so I could bike home!

We biked over Randall’s Island, which is a gorgeous ride if you ever have the time. It’s the strange little slice of quiet green in a big, loud city. I almost regret putting it in this blog in case it becomes more crowded – but luckily about three people read this, so I think my serenity spot is safe ;).

So I’m home, having biked 35 miles over the weekend. Not too bad considering I’ve only just started to leap back into it!

That being said, I’m pooped. See you all next time!

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Um. Hi.

So, it’s been a while.

Hello Internet. I feel like I’m running into a bad ex except the bad ex is me and this blog has every right to be reproachful.

I had a bit of a downward turn with my cycling, and with my fitness journey in general. It was like nothing was sticking, and as the weather got colder and we headed into a New York winter I found more and more reasons to sleep in later and get on the subway, rather than be up and bright-eyed and bushy tailed about cycling. I kept telling myself that I was going to bike again when the weather got better, and it just never totally happened.

To be fair to myself, I haven’t not biked at all. I rode to the Redhook Crit and back, and went on some smaller rides. I haven’t ceased biking entirely, but it definitely hasn’t been my primary mode of commuting. So, I’m determined to get back into the swing of things this year.

At the risk of sounding like I’m making excuses, my bike has also become increasingly difficult to ride. I own a montecci folding bike, and while it worked relatively well when I got it two years ago, it’s become increasingly finicky and difficult to ride since. I’ll be posting the link to montecci website at the bottom of this blog post. The brakes are now continually sticking, which makes rising it an absolute (literal) drag because my wheels are constantly fighting to…move. I’m not good with the technical terms. I some how lost a screw from the hinge on the steering neck (or long front bar thingy, if you’re me), so there’s a definite wobble when I ride. My brakes squeal, and I’ve had to replace five of the back spokes. It’s terrible on potholes and hills too, which if you ride in New York…forget about it. You have to be able to handle those two things.

I initially got a folding bike because I worked two jobs and it was totally convenient. I’d ride to one, zip crosstown on lunch, and then I’d fold it up in the back of a car (I was a nanny). Now that I work a 9-5 though, I’m not sure that the foldability of the bike is outweighing the…suckiness of it.

It’s possible that I rode it a little harder than intended. I’m not sure that these bikes are necessarily made for 16 mile round trip commutes every day, or long trips to upstate New York. Basically, I really need a new bike. Unfortunately, I’m somewhat lacking the funds at the moment. I think what I need is a good hybrid bike, something that works for commuting and longer trips, but those run a pretty penny.

My boyfriend is trying to convince me to buy one secondhand, just find one of craigslist, but I’m nervous. I don’t feel like I know enough about bikes to do that. He says he’ll help me, of course, but wandering into a bike shop I already know and trust and just having them recommend me a bike seems so much easier. What if I buy a total lemon? What if I’m riding it home after I buy it and it collapses under my chubby butt and I’ve wasted all that money? Why are bikes so damned expensive anyway? Sure, they save you money commuting in the long run but damn, it would be nice if they weren’t quite so much to begin with.

Anyway that’s really just one excuse in a long line of excuses. The fact of the matter comes down to me really just not trying hard enough. So I guess it’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off…and get back on the bike.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for my next post. I’m seeing a couple things at the Bicycle Film Festival this weekend, and I’ll post reviews for all (4) of you. Or like, whoever stumbles on this darn thing.

Thank for reading.

** This is the bike I have:

http://www.montecci.com/folding/