Free ride 2007: Bikes, films, and air guitars.

Trip Start Jul 04, 2007
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Trip End Sep 04, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Sunday, August 26, 2007

As I mentioned in my previous post, my last Sunday afternoon was spent cycling around Minneapolis with a bunch of fellow two-wheels lovers that gathered for the second annual edition of Free Ride, part of the Sound Unseen festival.

This is how the event was described on many websites:

"The 2nd Annual Freeride features a few new stops, new DJ's, and a new band. If you missed last year's bike tour around Minneapolis coffee shops and parks, don't worry, the other 200 bikers had enough fun for you.

This year, participating venues include One on One Bike Shop, CRC Café, Peace Coffee, The Nomad, Varsity Cycle and the Alt. Music from The Haves Have It, DJ Tony Paul, DJ Lori Barbero, Keston & Westdal, Serpikopisch, D.O., DJ Butcher, Surly Nick and 4130."

Meeting point was the CRC Café in uptown Minneapolis, a bikers favourite as I came to understand from what seems to be its full name: Cars R Coffins. I might be wrong on this, but it fits, as the venue is also a bike shop.

But moving on. The atmosphere was already rather merry when I joined the party just past 1pm, as free booze was being pumped out of a barrel into the plastic cups to anybody that was willing to queue for a few minutes. No questions asked here.

The Free Ride concept is somehow similar to the more politically driven Critical Mass events, that I heard are very popular in Europe. London holds monthly editions, with the next one coming up on August 31 if you happen to be in town.

I won't, and now that I think about it, I don't even know own a bike back home. But i do own a classic, single-gear, brown cruiser here in Minneapolis called Kitty, and she was my passport for Sunday's ride.

We ended up spending four hours cycling around the city, often holding up traffic, encountering some mild reaction from drivers - that were offered roses by previously appointed stewardesses -  stopping every now and then to listen to DJs while drinking more beer, and generally being happy.

Let me now briefly introduce you to Sound Unseen, a little treasure of a festival running for a week and featuring gigs, film, parties and, well, bike rides. I personally watched several of the screenings, such as Tonite let's all make love in London, 7 nights at the Entry, and Yellow among others. One in particular really caught my attention: Air Guitar Nation.

Two main reasons: 1) The film is totally hilarious, check the website for more info if the name doesn't ring a bell. It's basically a bunch of nutters dressing up in fantastic outfit and playing rock tunes brandishing an imaginary guitar. 2) One of the main concepts behind the now legendary Air Guitar World Championship - held every year in Finland - is that if everybody played air guitar, they couldn't carry guns.

Thinking about it, the same kind of feeling are strong among bikers, and I am pretty confident that a similar keep-your-hands-busy ideology went past the organisers' minds. Hundreds of smiley, happy people cycling in the summer sun, giving away roses, and reminding everybody else that alternative ways of getting around exist. Cities are not owned by cars by default.

Again, I might be wrong, but it fits.

 

   
Stay Tuned.
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