There are very few people in Portland who’ve had as large an impact on our bicycle scene as Ayleen Crotty. She moved here in 2000 from central Illinois as a scrappy, artistic kid, fresh-out-of-college. Ayleen quickly found her people — and most of them were on bikes.
Ayleen caught the cycling bug after launching Critical Mass in her college town, and found fertile ground for growing bike culture when she landed in Portland. She, like many other young, creative Portlanders in the early 2000s, were drawn to the Critical Mass ride. Ayleen and a crop of bike-minded folks, used that weekly gathering to network and build the bedrock of the bike culture we all enjoy nearly a quarter-century later.
Many of you know Ayleen as the force behind Filmed By Bike, a festival that draws filmmakers from all over the world and has shown over 1,200 films since it started in a small theater on Northeast Alberta Street 21 years ago. But before that, she was at the table for the creation of major pieces of our scene that still exist today — like Breakfast on the Bridges, Midnight Mystery Ride, Shift, Pedalpalooza, and more.
Now that Ayleen has decided to sell Filmed By Bike and move on to other creative ventures, we both sensed it was time to sit down and have a chat.
In this episode, you’ll hear what Portland was like long before “Portlandia” and the many changes of the past two decades. Ayleen and I talk about early bike culture, why Portland was so ripe to blossom into a leading bike city, her impetus for launching Filmed By Bike, how she’s used bike movies to make our scene more racially inclusive, and much more.
And if you’re as sad about Ayleen taking her prodigious creative and community-building energy away from our bike scene as I am, circle October 26th on your calendar right now. That’s the night she’ll put on one last big show. At 6:30 at Cinema 21 on October 26th, Ayleen will share her Greatest Hits. It’ll be one final blowout, and we’ve got to send her off with a massive and appreciative crowd!
I think you’ll love our conversation. Listen above or wherever you get your podcasts. (View the full transcript below.)