The Bicycle Film Festival, continues its world tour with a stop in Seattle, for the first time.
I spoke with Ryan Schuetze who runs the site gomeansgo and is the director of the BFF Seattle. I wanted to get an idea of the local fixed gear scene which he seems to be an active part of and whats planned for the festival.
-Name, age, where you live (ride)
Ryan Schuetze, 31, Seattle, WA
-What bikes do you own?
Coaster brake rain bike, 1979 Schwinn Typhoon, 1982 Colnago, NYCBikes fixed gear, 1958 Frejus Track, Kona Single Speed Mt. Bike
-What will be your next bike purchase?
Sadly, my bikes are in various states of disrepair. A newer road bike (yah for index shifting and dual pivot brakes) and a rock solid fixed gear for city riding are in my sights. I’ve also been really interested in getting a cargo bike, but want to test ride more of whats on the market.
-Tell us about goMeansgo productions?
GO MEANS GO is a project that focuses planning and promoting cycling events in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a blog, a brand, a business, and a bridge. GMG blends my two passions of community organizing and cycling. I’m giving GO MEANS GO all I’ve got right now, because my dream is to make a modest living encouraging people to have fun with, and on their bikes.
-What got you into freestyle fixed gears?
I bought the NYCBikes about 6 or 7 years ago and had it delivered to Alaska, where I lived at the time. I just started riding it like my mountain bike, down stairs, and jumping off shit. I like seeing the innovation and rediscovery that is going on. It’s definitely got BMX roots, but it’s way quicker to get around on. I like riding, and don’t turn tricks like these other folks, but it’s fun to fool around.
-What is the fixed gear culture like in Seattle?
Seattle has been holding it down for fixed gear culture for quite a while. Dustin really did a lot through Cadence and Fast Friday, The “Next Best Thing” kept it going for a while, and now Future Tense has been keeping the standards high. A lot of the faces have changed over the last few years, but Seattle has been steadily progressing.
-Who is the talent coming out of Seattle on fixed gears?
There are a lot of talented riders in Seattle. Some new, some having been around a while. If you don’t know who Keo is, well… you aren’t paying attention. Ha.. Really though- Keo keeps it at 11 all the time, and is a strong, well rounded rider. Others? Tyler Johnson is definitely a name to watch. Justin Av, Chris Clappe, and Allender trackstand/dances with his bike like nobody’s business.
-what about the other bike scenes? Alleycats, messengers? Bike polo, critical mass?
Seattle has some of the best polo players in the world. Team Smile just took the World Polo championships after winning the North American tourney that took place here
The Dead Baby Bike club represents the bulk of the freak bikes in Seattle, and are bunch of good people. The annual Dead Baby Downhill, taking place the first Friday of August is nuts, and probably the largest one day bike party on the West Coast.
Seattle is home to a small and getting smaller messenger community. Tight knit, and hard working, they pulled off a great event with the West Side Invite this year, in it’s first Seattle visit. I got to meet quite a few folks during the WSI, and and are a solid bunch of riders that put up with some wet weather and steep hills on a regular basis.
As for alley cats- they are most popular with folks that don’t work downtown. A diverse group of riders keep the events fun, as well as competitive. Some races focus more on one than the other. When I put a race on, I work hard to ensure that the prizes are good. I like to get smaller companies’ names out, and into the hands of the people that ride hard for it.
I keep a calendar at (http://gomeansgo.org/calendar) that I keep up to date with local bike events. Check it out. And if there are any NW events coming up, let me know.
-What got u involved with BFF this year?
This is the first year the BFF has come to Seattle, so someone was needed on the ground to help with the local production. I met Jill Meisner, who works with the media for the BFF, through a friend, and went down to Portland to help her out with the BFF there. The BFF is exactly what GO MEANS GO loves to do- so it seemed a natural fit.
-What’s planned for the festival?
Being the first year, we were a little unsure of what to include. Time didn’t allow for the addition of an art show or rock show, but we’re rollin’ deep with 7 programs, roller sprints, an alley cat, and an afterparty.
-Who is coming out?
Everybody who’s anybody. Film buffs that appreciate bikes, bike buffs that appreciate film, and buff people that appreciate being buff. It’s going to be super fun.
-Any local Seattle film makers or films?
Parasol is directed by Seattle filmaker Webster Crowell, and The Six-Day Bicycle Races is directed by Mark Tyson, using information supplied by Jeff Groman, who owns a shop on Bainbridge Island
-What impact do you hope the bff will have on the bike community?
As with anything that GO MEANS GO is a part of, I really hope it brings the community together, I want the overlap of art/film/bikes to be the focus. There are so many cyclists here, and I feel that there is a lot of division between the groups. Even those that don’t ride that often will have fun. A festival such as the BFF, with such a diverse group of movies, brings these people together, showing them that we all can agree on at least one thing: Bikes rock!
-What’s it like riding in Seattle? Is there infrastructure? What needs the most improvement? If you could be DOT commissioner of Seattle, what would be the first thing you would do?
I love riding in Seattle. The Bicycle Master Plan, though not perfect, has been doing much to improve the infrastructure. As far as improvements? As with most cities, education would probably be most beneficial. Get the drivers and cyclists talking. It does nobody any good when there are signs that cylists see and interpret differently than drivers. I am a big fan of the big boxes that allow cyclists room at the front of a light. Put bikes first, literally.
-Is there a lot of driver vs cyclist beef?
Of course there have been some instances that could be called beef. On a daily basis I would say there isn’t much. But it only takes one driver having a bad day getting stuck behind the dead baby downhill, or critical mass, or even a lone rider, to go from sunshine to shit in seconds. It really is about respect on the road. Beef is started when one road user feels more righteous or entitled than another.
-How has the popularity of cycling grown? What can you attribute the rise to?
Cycling has grown in popularity in Seattle steadily over the years. Improvements to the infrastructure, the work of various education and advocacy groups, the fact that Seattle is a fairly healthy city, and I’d like to think fun events that show a social, friendly, fashionable, and dare I say, sexy side of cycling; all of these are reasons that it’s grown.
-Cool places for cyclists to hang out in Seattle? (feel free to include links and shamelssly promote)
Well of course any event that GO MEANS GO puts together is bound to be a good time….
you can play polo all over Seattle more nights than not. I’ll give a shout out to 65th and Ravenna, because that’s my neighborhood seattlebikepolo.com
If Mt. Biking is your thing, you should head over to the I-5 Colonnade, which will blow your mind evergreenmtb.org/colonnade
Counterbalance Bicycles supports a team, and is always down to throw in for an alley cat or other events. They just opened up another location too. www.counterbalancebicycles.com
If you need to fix your bike- Charles and Devin at Wright Bros. are carrying a lot of fixed gear parts, and the shop is one you definitely want to check out. You can learn to work on your bike yourself too wrightbrotherscycleworks.com
Thursday nights at Flowers Bar usually has a fair amount of bikes out front. We are having the after parties for the BFF there too!
Future Tense takes place monthly, and if you like turning tricks on a bike with no brakes, that’s the place. Zlog puts that together, and it’s a good time. zlogblog.com
Caffeine and bikes go well together too, and Lighthouse Roasters has arguably some of the best coffee in town. That’s saying something, being Seattle and all. lighthouseroasters.com
There are lots of places that people go- but the reality is- we’ll see you on the street. There are lots of rides each week/month for different disciplines. Fast, slow, fixed, free, cargo bikes, or freak bikes. Just get on your bike and ride, the party will happen.
-What are your future goals for gomeansgo?
ART VELO takes place next month. A show based around cycling art. It’s going to be awesome. GO MEANS GO will continue to grow with the cycling community, as a bridge, and also as a business venture. I love putting on alleycats, but I’m interested in putting on sanctioned races as well. The idea is to make a modest income planning and promoting cycling events. This includes working with companies that have a vision to connect and become part of the cycling community. I love bikes and bike culture, and I think the thought that goes into these events shows. When I can focus wholly on planning and promotion, the events will only get better.
-What are your future cycling goals? Travel?
It looks like I may be making my first trip to Interbike. (September 23rd-25th) Holler at me!
I’d really like to do a cycling tour with my lady through Puglia in Italy.
I haven’t ever ridden in NYC, and would love to go for the 10th anniversary of the BFF next year.
-Anything you wished I’d asked you or failed to promote?