A family biking film for when it’s too hot to ride

Staying cool.
(Photo: Shannon Johnson)

This past week was a rough week to be the pregnant family biking columnist at BikePortland. Heck, it was a rough week to be a human being in Portland.

Like many Pacific Northwesterners, our home doesn’t have AC, so we just roast and try to figure out survival strategies. Cooling off with young kids is more difficult since the pandemic has shut down the majority of kid-friendly indoor spaces or forced them to close their air-conditioned play areas. We tried riding the bike a bit in the mornings at the beginning of the week, but by the end of it, I was actually making up excuses to drive our van around, just for the needed respite of cooler temperatures via car AC. I even went shopping, with four children, in actual stores, just to avoid sweating it out at home. We visited the library to cool off and volunteered to cook dinner at a friend’s house who had air conditioning.

Even with our best efforts to make the best of things, by the week’s end I was beat, hot, tired and even bored. I was too hot to do chores, to accomplish any projects, to exercise, to ride a bike, or lift a finger. At last I took a cold shower and began to fantasize about winter biking in drizzle, rain, and blustery cold.

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“The Car” movie has the scariest trailer I’ve ever seen

Movie poster from Universal Pictures.
Scroll down to watch the trailer.

“Evil has many forms, now it returns as, The Car.

A car possessed. Who knows what it wants? They all know nothing can stop… The Car.

There’s nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide. No way to stop, The Car.

What evil force drives, The Car?”

Happy Friday everyone! It’s good to be back in the swing of things after the holiday. I hope your new year is living up to the hype so far.

Before we part for the weekend, I want to share an amazing relic of our car-centric culture with you: The trailer for a 1977 movie called, The Car. I had never heard of this film until my brother sent me a link to the trailer (below). It’s an extraordinary relic of American car culture…

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Gal by Bike: Modern kids and the lost freedom of “Now and Then”

Still images from “Now and Then” movie trailer.

— This post is by our “Gal by Bike” columnist Kate Johnson (formerly Kate Laudermilk)

Where were you in 1995?

I was in a suburb in Indiana watching one movie on repeat. A movie that, dare I say, may be the most underrated bike movie of all time. Sure, Roger Ebert didn’t care for it much, but, then again, he wasn’t a pre-teen watching her life mirrored on screen. He probably didn’t have a major crush on heart-throb Devon Sawa either.

Now and Then is a coming of age film that follows four 12-year-old girls during an epic summer in a small suburb of Indiana in 1970. Seemingly the very suburb and subdivision that I would be born in fifteen years later. Their days began on bikes and ended on bikes — returning home only for dinner at dusk.

Bikes were their freedom. Their brief emancipation from their parents.

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Movie about Lance Armstrong’s fall plays Portland this week

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The official poster.

We don’t usually cover mainstream movies here on the site, but when an indie film comes to town that’s about journalism and biking, we have to give it a shout.

The Program is a fictionalized portrait of an Irish reporter’s battle to uncover Lance Armstrong’s history of doping his way into yellow jerseys. It’s at the Living Room Theaters this week.

The movie is directed by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen, etc.) and stars Ben Foster as Armstrong, Chris O’Dowd as journalist David Walsh and Jesse Plemons as Armstrong’s teammate, enabler and finally betrayer Floyd Landis.

Here’s the promotional description:

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‘Aftermass’ documentary, about Critical Mass in Portland, will open May 23

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A promotional image for the film.

A local man’s documentary history of the Critical Mass movement in Portland will premiere May 23 at the Clinton Street Theater, Southeast 26th and Clinton.

“It tells the story of how advocacy and activism coalesced to create Portland’s bicycle network over the last 40 years,” Aftermass filmmaker Joe Biel wrote in an email.

Biel began filming the story of the monthly urban bike ride, which mixed fun and activism, in 2009. Among other things, he scored a pre-candidacy interview with future Mayor Charlie Hales, who twice checked out Critical Mass by joining it anonymously while he served on city council 15 years ago. We’ve covered the making of this film, and parts of the story it tells, for years, so it’s exciting to see it on the big screen at last.

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“I Love My Bicycle” documentary follows a homegrown BMX manufacturing company

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

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.

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Veer producers in Victoria for world premiere

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“…prepare yourself for bicyclophilia gone just plain NUTS!”
— from description of Veer in Victoria Film Fest program

This week at the Victoria Film Festival, film buffs from all over the world will get their first chance to see Veer, the feature-length documentary about Portland’s bike culture.

Veer producers Greg Fredette and Jason Turner arrived in Victoria today and will attend a Q & A presentation about their movie after it screens on Wednesday.

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