Cycling Community Gathers at Film Fest

Over 400 cyclists and bike enthusiasts gathered in Arlington’s Regent Theatre for Ciclismo Classico’s 10th annual film festival. The event highlighted 15 curated films about biking, self-sustained bike travel and cycling around the world in one night.

The films varied from documentaries, such as the short film “East to West” which chronicles a man’s two and a half month trip from New York to California. Other films were more abstract, such as “Play Your Bike” which features different parts of the bike layered to create music. Lauren Hefferon, director and founder of Ciclismo Classico, organized the  sold-out event. “[My hope for this event] is to inspire, I would say…to transform this passion that we have. And to get people all psyched for spring,” Hefferon said.

Hefferon has cycled for 40 years, and although she says there is not really discrimination in the sport against women, there are still less women in cycling. But, Hefferon believes this has created a “tribal” feeling of women in the community. The majority of Ciclismo Classico staff working the event were women.

Hefferon says, “When I started not very women cycled, so its much much more accepted now. There are bicycles that are made for women. There are a lot of women bicycle teams…it allows them independence.” Hefferon plans on expanding the festival, and David Read is part of this effort.

Read, who is on the jury selection committee for the film festival, has been a self-sustaining bicyclist since high school and is organizing the Ciclismo Classico film festival in Salem, Massachusetts. He believes the sport is applicable to a wider audience than just those who partake in it.

“I think that bike travel is a great metaphor for life, because something always goes wrong. Either you get lost, or something breaks, or it starts raining, or the weather turns bad. But you get through it and you press on,” says Read. He expects the Salem branch of the festival to happen later this summer.

Jessica Mink says she has bicycling in Boston for about 50 years, and has gone to almost every Ciclismo Classico film festival. She bikes everywhere she can — and when she can’t, she takes the train. “I bike like 20 miles a day, pretty much. Today is going to be a little bit shorter, because I’m going to take the T back to Forest Hills, but not a lot shorter. I’ll  have [ridden] 17, 18 miles today,” says Mink. Mink says Boston is specifically a good place to be a bicyclist because there is a “good network of paths.”

The event ended with the raffle numbers being read off and closing remarks from Hefferon.