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|Fast Friday director David Rowe on the streets of Seattle.*|
Fast Friday, a new 45-minute documentary film from director David Rowe, highlights the monthly two-wheeled social outing of the same name that brings together fixed-gear riders from across Seattle's bike community. The film, which had a December premiere at the Tokyo edition of the Bicycle Film Festival, is the first major solo work of the 25 year-old Rowe, a 2002 graduate of the Seattle Film Institute and collaborator of Infinite Quest Productions, a two year-old collective of independent directors and thespians making twenty-minute movies about parking garage fisticuffs and noir-tinged, retro-stylized underdog shorts. It is also one of the most recent entries into the field of well-produced, super-hip, guerilla-marketed films documenting underground bike culture, a generalized world-view centered around the bicycle and once celebrated almost exclusively by bike shop employees, messengers, and dedicated daily cyclists.
|Kia, a rider in the Fast Friday crew, hotdogs for the lens.|
Last year the focus of the urban cyclists' cinematic world was MASH, Gabe Morford and Mike Martin's film about the fixed-gear bomb squad in San Francisco. Considering the film's very similar theme and style, neither Fast Friday nor its riders, to their credit, make any false "we did it first" claims. And for good reason, as the monthly rides, in the film at least, are less about whipping it out and measuring than they are about throwing down in the name of fun, and maybe pissing off a few motorists in the process. The film documents, speaks to, and promotes the idea of the fixed-gear, Critical Mass-style anarchistic free for all, spending three-quarters of an hour on the monthly communion of bike messengers, punks with a trials-like freestyling repertoire, and fit urban hipsters that paints a picture of a Seattle giving Portland a run for its money as the epicenter of vélo chic in the Pacific Northwest.
|Fast Friday founder and Cadence Clothing garb-maker Dustin Klein.|
What sets Seattle apart from other cities, at least in terms of the track bike scene's organization, can in large part be attributed to Dustin Klein, the 27 year-old rider behind the Fast Friday events. While organizing and mingling with the area cycling community is great for social networking, it is also a shrewd move of targeted marketing on the part of Klein, who "fell into the messenger world completely on accident in 2000 while living in Sacramento" and promptly headed the hour and a half west on I-80 to San Francisco, where he ventured into the clothier business, stitching together cycling caps, bags, and assorted accessories under the Cadence label [LAS feature]. "I never intended to be a fashion designer and I never attended art school. I have always just wanted to create," says Klein, who shifted the brand from hobby to job when he moved to Seattle, where he set about creating a bike community as well as clothing. It also bears mentioning that Klein, who fits the profile of hip biker from his startup indie clothing label down to his colorful bike, isn't one of those message board trolling armchair enthusiasts - along with a prominent role in Fast Friday, he also appeared in MASH.
|Dustin Klein's vivid bike.|
When Fast Fridays began, the event's stated intent was, in Klein's words, to exist "as a platform to help bring the Seattle bike scene together, push skill levels, and obviously have fun." Rowe's film clearly documents the ride's success on the latter two points. As for the first, the ride undoubtedly organized the city's cycling community, and when it recently came time for Klein "to take a much needed break" and evolve his monthly event into an irregular outing for special, higher profile occasions, there were other Seattle riders, no doubt inspired by Fast Friday, ready to pick up the slack and keep a regular ride on the calendar. The Next Best Thing was started by a handful of the Fast Friday regulars "to keep a monthly event going in Seattle," according to Klein. The new ride, although under a different name, shares a great deal with the rides documented in Fast Friday - described as "a throwback to core friends, and riding bikes just for fun," The Next Best Thing is aimed at "putting a spin on events that you're used to." But before it eclipses its predecessor, Klein and a handful of his Seattle bros will be heading out East this month and next, first to take part in R.E.Load Bags' 8th annual April Fools Race event on Saturday, April 12th, where riders in the City of Brotherly Love can expect the NW crew to throw down, all in the name of fun of course. After that Klein will be in New York for a screening of Fast Friday at the 2008 Bicycle Film Festival kick off party, over the weekend of May 28th, where it will be a headlining movie.
* photos by Kyle Johnson. SEE ALSO: www.fastfridaymovie.com
SEE ALSO: www.myspace.com/fast_friday
SEE ALSO: www.virb.com/fastfridaymovie
SEE ALSO: www.cadencecollection.com
SEE ALSO: myspace.com/2323267
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.
See other articles by Eric J Herboth.
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