Like Bicycles? Like the arts? Then the Bicycle film festival might be up your street. But it isn’t just a place to show off your latest fixie bike or your restored Bianchi, no, this is a celebration of the bike and those that love it, companies, brands and fans alike. This month sees the BFF move through London and Milano. Here’s what it is all about.
When one thinks of urban bike culture, it is easy to think of the canals of Amsterdam, the neatly assigned bike paths that etch our cities or even a handsome man with a beard, cheque shirt and beanie hat. Well, the latter is what you will most probably of more when talking about the Bicycle Film Festival… you’re not wrong. But it is so much more than that.
In the age of eco friendly thinking and green living movements, we are all searching for ways in which to improve our lives, even if these ways come from the simplest ideas. Brendt Barbur, founder of the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF… no, not best friend forever), came up with the idea after he was hit by a bus, whilst riding his bike. Then in 2001 he took it upon himself to raise awareness of and celebrate the bicycle through music, art and, more predominantly, film. And, as you can guess, it proved to be a hit and has gone on to become a major catalyst for the urban bike movement, which is sure to carry on into the next decade.
Having started in New York, the festival soon caught the attention of those across seas, who identified with bicycling as a lifestyle, wanting to share the same passion and positivity that Barbur was putting into the events of BFF. With the hipster culture/movement amongst youth and young adults, the bicycle has had a surge in popularity in the last 4-5 years, favouring the older or artisanal models as apposed to the modern, flashy builds that were made famous during early and late 90s. What the festival offers is a point of reference and entry to the bicycle lifestyle to newcomers and brands who are interested in learning more about this movement and the culture that revels within it. The nature of the festival also embraces newcomers, encouraging them to identify with environmental and health benefits that bicycling entails through film, art and music (forms of expression that are closely linked to the demographic of bike culture).
This month sees the BFF drop into London and then Milan, both major players in the current lifestyle, with London offering the bigger event. There, bikers will have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of films that are orientated around the use of a bike - Justin Chadwick’s ‘Boy’ follows the story of a man who loses his son and embarks on a journey that his son never had the chance to-, exploration of the bike in art and also music video. All the messages that are carried in the films are positive, whether they are regarding emotional benefits, the freedom a bicycle offers or the craft behind them. All of the films are hosted at the Barbican Centre between the 4-7 of October, with other events and after parties happening around the city.
Then it’ll be hopping over to Milan, a sound choice of city, before it moves on to other countries. Milan is the perfect place to come and enjoy the growing movement and lifestyle that the bicycle currently offers. The reason being is that it is home to the Bianchi, a brand that boasts 120-something years of invention, innovation and excellence, when it comes to bikes. The BFF Milan centres around the famed design areas of Savona and Tortona, mixing film with live music and the all important after parties.
The bicycle lifestyle is still on the rise and it is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society. If it is something that you’ve thought about but are not quite sure what to make of it, then get yourself to one of these events or check out the information that you can access below:
Written by Ben Taylor