Posted by Joe Biel on September 15th, 2009 at 8:00 am
Editor’s note: This movie review was written by contributor (and our down-the-street neighbor) Joe Biel. Earlier this year, we covered Biel’s forthcoming documentary about Critical Mass. We’re actively seeking to publish more book and movie reviews on the site — if there’s something you’d like to review for us, please get in touch.
With the simultaneous surge of interest in all things bike and the availability of cheaper and cheaper digital video equipment, we are treated to more and more grassroots documentaries about bicycling and all of its colorful, related culture.
“I Love My Bicycle: The Story of FBM Bikes” is a splendid addition to this realm.
The movie tells the story of how FBM Bikes was built from a charming, homegrown t-shirt company put together by some BMX riders in upstate New York.
FBM (short for Fat, Bald Men) riders realized that besides t-shirts, you need good bikes — and that the big companies did not take manufacturing quality BMX parts seriously.
What do you do in such a predicament? You start your own manufacturing company, make your own parts, build your own bikes, and keep it all true to your vision for riding.
FBM has always been extremely rooted in the Do-It-Yourself movement, with homemade dirt jumps, punked out videos of riders and their crazed behavior, and challenging of the industry norms. The name takes a jab at other BMX companies, which were run by “old, fat bald guys” who weren’t actually riding BMX. “We were a bunch of 16 year old hoodlums,” explains the founder. “We figured we’d start a company of our own and call it Fat, Bald Men.”
Director Joe Stakun explained his interest in directing the documentary: “I grew up riding BMX [and] was familiar with FBM videos growing up; everyone who rode was. [They] were just out of control and wild to watch. I got into film and video when I was about 16 [but] never really took any interest in making BMX video or any of that. I met Steve Crandall, the co-owner of FBM and somehow the idea of a documentary on FBM came up and I thought it would be a great story to work with.”
Crandall’s moments in the film are candid and inspirational. We watch him tirelessly shoveling for hours, still making his own dirt jumps after more than ten years of running the company. He opens up to Stakun and you feel like he’s your friend; he wants to inspire you to pursue your own dream, be it entrepreneurship, bike riding, or documentary making.
Stakun agrees. “I’d like to think that it will inspire a bunch of people to just do what they love and what they want regardless of what everyone else says is good for them. FBM did their thing inspired by the DIY music, BMX, and skate companies of the 90’s.”
The film screened in August at Portland’s Bicycle Film Festival and the DVDs will be available in late November, self-released by the director, distributed via BMX mailorder companies and “whoever would be psyched on carrying it.”
Future screenings are listed at ilovemybicyclemovie.com (there’s one coming up at Interbike in Vegas). For now, check out the trailer:
I Love My Bicycle: The Story of FBM Bikes
Directed by Joe Stakun