Views / Backstage Pass London

Ride up to the bicycle film festival and art show

A breeze ruffles your hair as you speed down the road. The sunlight rests lightly on your skin, and the ambient noise of nature surrounds you. Maybe you catch a glimpse of a yellow finch or some purple flowers by the side of the road.

All of that can come from indulging in one simple pleasure — riding your bike.

“One of my favourite places to be is on my bike riding it. It gives me a sense of freedom,” says Melissa Parrott, organizer of the bicycle film festival and art show at East Village Arts Collective.

“It’s one of the best ways to get around the city, and it’s great exercise and eco-friendly too.”

The event takes place on Thursday and is part of Thames Region Ecological Association’s 23rd Annual Bicycle Festival, which runs through June 16 with workshops, lectures and group bike rides.

The art show features bike-inspired paintings, collages, drawings, photographs, jewelry, bicycle buttons and stamps.

Parrott created her art with actual bike parts.

“I used bike parts as stencils. I took bike rims and sprockets and held them over canvass and spray painted on top with pink, green and chrome gold,” she said.

Parrott also helped shoot one of the festival’s short films called Kain’s Woods, which features mountain biker Mark Drewe as he takes on a complicated London trail.

Drewe shot most of the film with a GoPro mounted to his chest.

“It’s one of my favourite trails to ride of all the places I’ve been to, even Florida and Colorado,” says Drewe, who’s been riding the trail for eight years. “It’s so close to home, and it’s so good.

“It’s a pretty advanced trail. It has a lot of roots and some jumps. There’s a narrow bit where you are riding on the edge of a steep fall and then a bit where you have to ride across a fallen log passing over a creek.”

Biking in the city is different, he says, because you have to be aware of cars.

“Even though there are more bike lanes, and it’s getting better, I really am not comfortable riding on the road,” says Drewe. “All it takes is one driver not paying attention. Getting hit by a car is worse than falling on any other trail.”

The bicycle festival brings safety and a love of biking to the forefront.

“This festival is saying, ‘There is a community of people that do and enjoy this,’” he said. “It’s great to see because you know you’re not alone. And cyclists are really friendly people.”

The film screening takes place at 8 p.m. at the East Village Arts Collective (757 Dundas St.). Art will be on display through Sunday.

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