Bicycle Film Festival Orlando and Miami, interview

The Bicycle Film Festival has been rolling through the country this summer, so far in these cities:

Memphis • New York • Philadelphia • Pittsburgh • Minneapolis • Richmond • San Francisco • Detroit • Oakland • Portland • Austin • Chicago • Montreal • Boulder • Toronto • Orlando

In my ongoing series, where I talk with festival directors in specific cities, meet Jen Whalen, organizing Miami and Orlando FL.

Name. Age, where you live (ride)

Jen Kyle Whalen, 24, I live all over FL , I ride all over the world.

-what bikes do you own?

KHS Flite 100 (my speed racer)
Schwinn Le Tour fixed conversion aka “The monster bike.”

-what will be your next bike purchase?

I want to shred a BMX. I rode my first ramp on a BMX at the BFF
Philadelphia street party. I busted ass and the music stopped and everyone
saw it. Embarrassing. But I’m very familiar with embarrassing myself.

-what got you involved in the BFF?

I helped out in NYC the last 3 years. The BFF NYC street party is the best
day of every summer. Somebody sent a link to a video called “Put the fun
between your legs” to Brendt Barbur, the sounding director of BFF. I am in
that video, disguised as a wet lesbian from the 70s. Brendt recognized me
and gave me a ring. Next thing I knew the video was in the festival and I
was producing two festivals in FL. One in Orlando and one in Miami. Life
is weird sometimes. But pleasantly surprising.

-has the BFF been to either Orlando or Miami?

1st time ever in FL!

-what’s going to be going on?

A bunch of bike punks running around screaming, drinking beer, throwing
things and wreaking havoc for 3 glorious days of mayhem! Also, there will
be Goldsprints at Backbooth Friday night (tonight) at 7pm. Rivals of all
cities in FL will be smashing it out against each other while DJ Weed Leaf
blasts the jams. Saturday is THE day. Shred Yo Face Alleycat Race, bike
art show at the theater and films at 3, 5, 7, and 9pm. Afterparty at
Bar-BQ-Bar, and it’s surf expo week, so the bar will be filled with bleach
blonde bikini babes and super rad surfer dudes, bro! Sunday wraps
everything up with the Dirty South Bike BBQ in the Milk District. Trick
comp, music, beer.

-who’s coming out?

Who’s not coming out? All of FL, and hopefully some people from our
neighboring states. I want to see some people from Central and South
America at the BFF Miami. And Puerto Ricans!

-any local Florida films or filmakers in this years festival?

There are a couple. Chris Walker made the film “Put the Fun Between Your
Legs.” Mike DeCarlo made “The Spinning Movement.”

-what do you hope people ride away with from the festival?

I hope they ride away with the wind in their hair and the breeze up their
shorts. I want people’s fun sensors to be totally overloaded after the
festival. I want people to feel united through this common love that they
have for the bicycle. I want people to make new friends. I want people to
fall in love.

-what is the bike culture like in Miami and Orlando, critical mass?
Bike polo? Alleycats? Freestyle fixed gear?

Miami and Orlando are very different. Miami’s fixed gear culture is pretty
new. So it’s still growing up. There are a lot of triathletes and road
racers. BMX and skateboarding is big in MIA. Orlando’s bike scene is a
little more complex. There are tons of alleycat races there, polo
tournaments, fixed gear trick competitions. It’s a much more established
scene. Everybody has a bike in Orlando. I remember going to the first ever
critical mass in Orlando, 6 years ago, and being one of 8 people. It’s
grown so much since then. Like watching a seed grow into a beautiful ripe
juicy watermelon.

-good places for cyclists to hang out at?

The streets

– what’s it like biking in these cities?

It’s alright. There are lots of crazy spanish drivers in Miami. The roads
are nice and flat. The sun is blazing down on you all year long. Showers
become obsolete. It’s a big sweaty mess.

-how is the bike infrastructure? What needs the biggest improvements?

We need less cobblestone. I don’t know who decided to cobblestone all of
downtown Orlando. We need drivers to relax and stop screaming at us.

-your future cycling goals?

I want to do a keo into a wheelie then into a backwards circle then bunny
hop a flight of stairs! No, not really. I’m a racer. I want to take racing
to the next level. Get even faster.

-anything you’d wished I’d asked you?

More juicy questions. I keep it real cute.
Orlando BFF is going on right now until Sunday Aug 23! Come out and have
fun with us. Miami BFF coming in December! Don’t miss it for the world!


Thanks Jen.
Sad but true, the BFF Orlando was this past weekend August 21-23rd.

Miami is coming up December 3rd-6th

Here are some other Florida links:

Where I found this video of their Critical Mass

Miami Critical Mass : July 31st, 2009 from rydel high on Vimeo.

also check out:

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