Inspiring stories found at ‘Filmed by Bike’ festival

Audience members at a Filmed by Bike event enjoy the show. Courtesy photo

The Red Devil mountain biking team on May 22 hosted the Filmed by Bike festival at Grand County High School. Originating in bike-friendly Portland, Oregon in 2003, the festival features inspiring short films based on real life stories created by bicycle enthusiasts.

The films showcased up-close and personal accounts from various unique personalities who all had a common thread: cycling in some form had become a vital part of their lives not only for physical activity, but also for a boost in their confidence, strength, freedom and connections to other people.

“The bike was my savior, it’s freedom, it gets you away from your house,” said Connie Carpenter from the “Rapha Rides Boulder” short, who found her place in Boulder, Colorado, where the cycling community was accepting of her, and where women cyclists were not only celebrated but also admired.

She noted that although it is part of the human condition to struggle, cycling can help with that. “Pedal stroke after pedal stroke after pedal stroke, you master not only your machine but yourself, and mastery brings with it that sort of flow and ease,” said Carpenter, noting that being able to work through struggles on a bicycle is a gift.

Another film featured Jon Wilson, a man who lost his leg to cancer, but who still pushes himself to ride frequently despite the physical setback. He narrated a short film, noting, “If I don’t ride a bike, I’ll lose my mind.” Cycling for him is a deeply engaging experience. When he channels his frustrations into his bike, he’s able to find a spiritual channel on the trail, thus coming away more calm and centered afterwards.

Katura Davidson, a female BMX rider featured in “Pekham BMX,” loves riding for the benefit of meeting new people, and doing something she can purely enjoy. Similarly, the donation of 122 bicycles from the nonprofit World Bicycle Relief Organization brought together a group of Muslim and Christian schoolgirls in the short film, “Together We Rise.”

The World Bicycle Relief organization recently started giving high-quality bikes to young people in underdeveloped countries, where physically not being able to get to school can bar them from getting a chance at an education. Since receiving the bikes, they go to school together and their personalities have blossomed. “I have come to face the world, it has helped me be confident,” said Ayan, a young woman in the film who is now able to attend Umoja secondary school in Eldoret, Kenya.

The videos were broken up into two segments, the first being “Bike Love,” and the second, “Bike Adventure.” In the middle of the segments was an intermission where the Moab community really shined. There was a raffle giveaway hosted by the riders of the Red Devil Mountain Bike Team, the prizes all being from local bike shops, restaurants and other small businesses in town.

Micah Davis, a staff member at Moab’s Chile Pepper Bike Shop, won one of the prizes. He crafts the drinks at the in-house coffee bar as well as advises cycle enthusiasts young and old who are looking for adventure in Moab.

However, adults aren’t the only ones helping out at the shop. “Almost every bike shop has “groms” (young men and women) who work at the shop after school, which is a great outlet for them. They can earn money, get good deals, and be part of a community that feels like family.” However, Davis noted, “The job isn’t leisurely for them, they work pretty hard,” explaining that the shop can get pretty busy at times.

While having groms at the shop is a great benefit to all, Derek Horegs, a staff member at Moab Cyclery, noted that it would be smart to start a bike collective in Moab. Bike collectives, or co-ops, are nonprofit hubs where individuals can go to learn and interact with others in the community who are working on projects fostering sustainable transportation.