The Bicycle Film Festival is wrapping up a giant year with 37 cities on its global tour of film and bikes. The last stops are:
Here is my interview with Chris Carraway who is running things for the BFF in Washington DC.
-Name. Age, where you live (ride)
Chris Carraway, 25 years old, I live in Washington DC.
-what bikes do you own?
Too many and not enough – a few road bikes, a cross bike where the mud
that i’ve been too lazy to clean off accounts for half the weight, an old
Pinarello track bike, and probably enough random parts around the house to
make a handful more.
-what will be your next bike purchase?
Someone buy me a Circle A please.
-what got you involved in the BFF?
I’ve wanted to see the BFF in various towns I’ve lived in for the last few
years and when I saw no information on the DC BFF I emailed them. It was
honestly that simple!
-Has the BFF been to DC before?
Nope, this is the first year and we’re all really excited and collectively
saying “about time”.
-what’s going to be going on?
We’ve got some killer parties, goldsprints, alleycats, group rides, free
valet parking, films, more films, alcoholics spinning punk records, and
much more! Did I mention a sneak peak at the new film by Brian Vernor
(Pure Sweet Hell, Where Are You Go) called “The Cyclocross Meeting”?
Also to get people stoked for the fest, Bicycle Stations is hosting a
screening of the Adventures for the Cure documentary
which follows three riders across the country on fixed gear bikes while raising
awareness and money for the fight against diabetes.
-who’s coming out?
It’d be a shorter list to say who’s not coming out! Our Mayor, (Mayor Adrian M. Fenty) of all
people, was recently filmed running red lights while on training lights.
DC still keeps it very real.
-Any local films or filmakers in this years festival?
Road to Roubaix was made by DC/Baltimore area locals, who will be in
attendance at the BFF for a short Q&A on their film.
-What do you hope people ride away with from the festival?
The feeling that they are indeed part of a community much bigger than they
thought. the desire to keep riding through the oncoming winter.
-What is the bike culture like in DC, critical mass? Bike polo?
Alleycats? Freestyle fixed gear?
This might be the “small town boy in big city” in me talking, but the DC
bike culture is huge! We’ve got everything from a rad polo scene to
couriers who keep going out day after day, to a large racing community and
Honestly, riding a bike is such an integral part of every day life the
lines between “bike culture” and “regular” society are extremely blurred,
which I think is great.
It also doesn’t help that we have one of the best bicycling advocacy
groups in the city, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (waba.org)
-Good places for cyclists to hang out at?
Aside from the Bicycle Film Festival? Rock Creek Park is always a great
place to ride, Asylum hosts killer events and are really supportive of the
cycling community and also offers one of the best vegan brunches I’ve ever
had. Bicycle Stations is one shop that’s been really supportive of the
Bicycle Film Festival in DC. Not to mention they’re hosting trainer nights
complete with a viewing of all 3 Lord of the Rings this winter. Extended
versions, because DC doesn’t take their Tolkien nor their cycling lightly.
– What’s it like biking in DC?
Hectic, amazing, nerve wracking, and completely in sync. I’m used to
riding in North Carolina, where if you’re on a bike for more than 5
minutes you’re probably already out in the country, so not being able to
escape the city as easily has definitely changed my perspective on riding.
Some days you always find yourself moments away from being doored and
screaming at car after car on 14th street to not ride in the bike lanes,
and other days you hit every light the entire way down to Hain’s Point, as
if they were changing just for you. I love it, I hate it, when I’m not
there I miss it.
-How is the bike infrastructure? What needs the biggest improvements? Bike
Like a majority of cities, cycling is merely an afterthought in the city
planning. Fortunately DC has stepped up their game by constantly adding
new bike lanes and even starting a bicycle ambassador program much like in
Philly or Chicago. As I mentioned before, the Washington Area Bicyclist
Association is an amazing group, maintaining trails, doing tons of
advocacy, giving out lights for free, and hosting the best events.
If anything DC still uses an archaic liability law that essentially says
if a cyclist can be found to be any small part of the cause of an accident
with a car, the cyclist can easily lose any option to be reimbursed for
any damages by the car owner’s insurance company. I believe only like 4 or
5 states still use this law.
-your future cycling goals?
I’d like to spend more hours on the bike than on the clock.
-anything you’d wished I’d asked you?
You really should’ve asked what secrets I know about other producers from
other cities – Jen from Denver and Jo from Paris should consider
I also want to thank the local sponsors for the BFF again, including:
Plus the fine
folks at dcfixed.com and all the amazing volunteers that stepped up. This
fest could not be run by one person, and there is always a handful of
people that really make this fest run smoothly and they can’t be thanked
But for real, my friends decided to keep going after our ride across the
country this summer and they are somewhere in Mexico now. Go to
wekeepgoing.com to find out about their trip and how to support them.
Can’t wait for the BFF! It’s going to be such a great weekend.
There will also be an alleycat race on Saturday December 5th in DC for the Bicycle Film Festival and to raise money for on going efforts to help bail out Tokyo for finnacial losses in throwing this years Cycle Courier Championships.
Here is a message from Danny K,
This weekend, Dec 5th, DC is throwing its second Tokyo Fundraiser Alleycat starting at 2pm at the new shop, bicycle stations at 2204 14th street, the race is also in association with the bicycle film fest also this weekend. We’ve got great prizes, cheap beer specials, good cycling films, a fun race and a rad after party in conjunction with the bicycle film fest. check out www.dcbca.org for more info.
WHERE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY COMES IN: Kazane Bikes/Keirin Culture has stepped aboard helping out with sponsorship for not only this race but our fund raising effort all together. Please visit the Team Kazane Web Store, where up until Christmas a portion of internet sales will aid the DCBCA’s fundraising attempts. Need some new handlebars? a new track frame? those new FSA cantilever brakes? or a rad tee shirt (these we got for the race look so awesome)? hit up Team Kazane and help with the tokyo relief effort through helping your ride. Hit up the DEC 5th Alleycat and every rider receives a 20% discount code the Team Kazane web store as well.