Bicycle Friends Forever

Bike Film Fest Returns With Races, Parties and Fashion Contests

Bicycle Film Festival Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 at Cinema du Parc

The Bicycle Film Festival is not just about the films, despite an eclectic mix of movies from different bike subcultures.

The worldwide festival has visited Montreal four times, offering a varied selection of shorts and feature-length films ranging from ice races to BMX features from the past year.

But with a sponsor like Pabst Blue Ribbon beer on board, the event is happening as much outside the theatre as it is on the screen. Marissa Plamondon-Lu, the festival’s producer, said that might actually be the festival’s highlight.

“The best part about the festival is riding your bike to the screening, watching the movie, riding your bike, watching more films, and then you go to the parties and meet people and you maybe join a riding club with them, you might race them,” she said.

Plamondon-Lu said the BFF is a good meeting ground for the wide range of demographics that compose cycling communities, because it isn’t exclusive to one type of cycling.

“You got the young or old BMX tricksters, with your old school road racers, with the bike messenger fixie crowd. It really celebrates the feeling that we all get when we push forward in whatever kind of bike that we have,” she said.

Plamondon-Lu noticed cycling in Montreal has seen an immense growth since the festival first started, four years ago.

“I’ve been taken aback. You ride on de Maisonneuve and it’s like a cycling highway, and I hope that that sort of popularity is going to be reflected in how many people show up to the films,” she said, adding that this year’s edition will be at Cinéma du Parc, a larger venue than previous years.

After the opening screening on Friday night, festival-goers are invited to the Learn-to-Draw Alleycat, a bike race where participants have to race to different checkpoints around the city, and while also putting their drawing skills to the test.

Before the matinée on Saturday, festival-goers can meet at Parc Jeanne-Mance for a fashion ride to the theatre. Boutique Citizen Vintage and Fitz & Follwell, a bike shop that offers bike rentals and bike tours of Montreal, will be offering gift certificates to the best-dressed cyclists.

“Everyone is encouraged to dress in a vintage attire and Citizen Vintage has invited a bunch of fashion blogs from the city to dress their own models, too,” said Plamondon-Lu. “It’s going to be a giant picnic, and we’re setting up a portrait booth. It will be super fun.”

Bicycle Film Festival Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 at Cinema du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc) / $10 or $23 for a festival pass

Closing party at Katacombes (1635 St. Laurent Blvd.) $5.00 or free with a festival ticket stub.