Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Bicycle Film Festival comes to Austin

One of the best parts of the TNSR is that the greater cycling universe occasionally shows up. Every week I seem to meet someone brand-new and a lot of times they have something really interesting to say. Sometimes they tell you about stuff that's going on. This time, it was the Bicycle Film Festival! 

The festival was held at the Marchesa, a theatre with a lot of potential. But that said, biking to it was interesting because it's in the most out-of-the-way shopping center I've been to in a while, and not terribly well marked. But we knew we'd found the right place when we pulled up and found this:

The Marchesa is a small art-house style cinema in an older building, identified only by a filigree M on the outside:

The film festival was sponsored by Kind Snacks, but there were also a couple awesome nonprofit organizations there, including a children's advocacy group that restored this van! While I don't recall their name, if anyone could message it to me I'd like to put a link up for them.

We moseyed inside, where I grabbed a cocktail, and then headed towards the entrance.

Where we met Frankenbike! I got a sweet pile of calendar/posters so anyone who wants one....hit me up!

As for the actual films, I saw the second program on Urban biking. If I'm honest, I was a tiny bit disappointed with the subject matter of the films in this program. A couple focused on BMX, which had it's own program. If I wanted to see a film on BMX, I would have paid for the BMX program, now what I mean? One was one the Alleycats done by NYC bike messengers. Lots of weaving in and out of traffic, and all I could think was, "Glorification of this kind of assholery is why people hate cyclists." That subject matter does not really capture the magic of urban cycling and what it does for me personally. When I ride a bike in a city, familiar or novel, I feel that I meet the true heart of a city. It's people, it's roads, it's little back corners. That's what I hoped to find and it was missing in so many of these films. However one, a day in the life of a 65 year old Afghani postal worker, made me sigh as I watched it. 

But overall, it was a wonderful experience. I saw old and new friends, and made a few while I was at it. It was a lovely evening out among all the things I love - bikes, warm weather, my beautiful city, and my friends. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wij zijn niet van suiker

This morning when I awoke at 5:45 am, I heard rain hitting the ground but managed to talk myself out of bed to ride into work. The whole way was pleasant, cool, and actually pretty dry! 

A half a mile from work, home free (or so I thought), "Wow!" said I. "That wasn't so bad! It hardly rained on me at all!" As the words came out of my mouth, the sky opened. Complete deluge. So now I sit wrapped in a blankie, waiting for my shoes, jacket, and the rest of me to dry. 

That gibberish at the top is one of my favorite Dutch idioms to whip out on Austinites who stay in for weather - "You're not made of sugar!" And considering how well-acquainted the Dutch are with bikes and rain, I'm willing to take their word for it. I could use a longer rain jacket, though. You win this round, Mother Nature.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Spring has sprung, and I couldn't be happier. Even here in usually-sunny central Texas, this winter was the worst I can remember in many, many years. It's seemed that the cold and ice and rain would never end and we'd all be forever trapped under layers of scarves and coats, dreaming of sunny days. But the world keeps on turnin' and the seasons cannot but turn with it.

Since the sun has emerged from behind the clouds, I have spent a ton of time on the bike. Recreational, utility, commuting, and joyriding - I'm doing it all. My favorite ride recently has been from up here in Winterfell (North Austin) all the way down to south of the river to hang out with friends, lounge in a hammock, and drink a slightly excessive number of beers before happily catching the bus home.

So, folks. I call you to take a bike ride somewhere lovely:

Make some new friends!

And maybe make some new memories (and take some terrible pictures) with some old friends while you're at it.