Friday, January 8, 2010

The International Bicycle Film Festival: Miami

As we wander from day to dreary day here in Miami, there is little that is exciting enough for us to mark on our South Floridian calendars. The first half of December was a hot and moist collage of sweat. Sweaty bike-riding. Sweaty car-riding. Sweaty getting-the-mail. Sweaty standing-still-for-two-minutes. With all this dehydrating perspiration, it's easy for people to lose track of time. Fortunately for a fair number of Miami cyclists, we had the Bicycle Film Festival to look forward to!

An event that lasted from December 10-12th in Miami, the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) is an annual, international affair that hits up cultural hubs such as NYC, London, and Tokyo. Since it's commencement in 2001, it has been gaining popularity and steam, expanding its reach to more new cities yearly. The 2009 edition was Miami's debut on the BFF circuit, and it was a fun one. There were dance parties. There were races. Of course, there were films. Although the BFF's true stars were the films, the alleycat race on Saturday was one of the main events for many participants. Renowned race-photographer Lucas Brunelle was there to film, and Miami locals were eager to sweat for a reason other than standing still. Even this blogger was pumped for the main event.

As you can see, I was equipped with all the necessities:

  • racing jersey
  • bulbous white helmet
  • messenger bag
  • smug air of confidence
Unfortunately, all these attributes, including my burning desire for victory, were not enough for me to win. In fact, It wasn't enough for me to finish 3rd, 20th, or even before anybody. To tell the truth, I came in last. "Dead Fucking Last", or "DFL", as many amateur racers might call it. Maybe it was the intense winter heat (contrary to now, where we can expect daily highs in the 50's farenheit), or maybe my smug air was too confident, but I took such trivial things as "maps" and "directions", and threw them out the window. Long story short, I spent something in the order of 15 miles outside of the race's original 20 mile loop. By the time I broke down and called for help, the race was basically over. It was pretty rough, and it made it very difficult to remain either smug or confident. Defeated, I made my leisurely, loser-ly way to the Colony Theater in South Beach.

The Colony Theater is a small but swank theater, which entertained a more-sweaty-than-usual crowd that weekend. Spandex'd cyclists mingled with well dressed cultured-types to enjoy some quality bicycle related films. To cater to the cyclists, BFF volunteers had a free bicycle-valet parking operation going on. I caught Where Are You Go, a documentary which described the four month cycling journey from Cairo to Cape Town called the "Tour de Afrique." As one might expect, it was full of emotion, Africa(ns), and bicycles, as well as some beautiful and startling imagery. A unique film, and worth checking out.

All in all, the Bicycle Film Festival was a much needed burst of excitement for many Miamians and myself, and for a few short days I forgot how much the city sucked. Keep your ears open for information about this year's festival, and check out this flickr stream for more photos from the 2009 event.

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