Hell hath no furry like a New York City bicycle messenger.Although snow is still on the ground and most folks have their bikes tucked neatly away in the storage shed for another month or two, cycling is never quite on the backburner in this two-wheel obsessed town. Riders who can't actually get out on the road or trail burn away the cabin fever by talking about cycling, reading about cycling, and perhaps most entertainingly, watching movies about cycling - which is where WebCyclery comes in.
With their monthly WebCyclery Movie Nights, the bike shop packs the theater at McMenamins Old St. Francis School with cycle-o-philes, as well as those who just like a good documentary. In existence for less than a year, the most sold-out screenings cover road and mountain biking of all sorts, as well as other cycling-related films like this week's showing of Pedal - a documentary about bicycle messengers.
"We've sold out the theater several times, but people said they would still pay and just stand on the sides of the theater," says Henry Abel, the WebCyclery "website guy."
While watching the movie is obviously the main reason people pay to get into the event, the screenings also serve as a gathering point for Bend's storied cycling community. Abel says that even people from other bike shops are coming out to get in on the action.
"The movie itself is often secondary for some people who just want to get together with other cycling people. We definitely see some of the same faces every month," Abel said.
Of the films screened at the event thus far, Pedal might have the most wide-reaching appeal. The film isn't only about bikes and bikers, but more deeply about a gritty and staggeringly dangerous culture of New York City bicycle messengers that some may have never heard of. Directed by filmmaker, author, and photographer Peter Sutherland, Pedal, follows the messengers as they brave the streets, dodging cars both successfully and unsuccessfully, resulting in some brutal, yet shamefully entertaining crashes. And you thought biking through a roundabout was sketchy - you've got nothing on these riders who risk their lives to make sure the city's daily business keeps rolling.
Not only does the film dig into the idiosyncrasies of what is probably one of the craziest factions of the cycling world, it actually takes the viewer along for the ride. The handheld cinematography gives Pedal an impacting sense of realism, exposing the true danger of the profession, as well as conveying some of the adrenaline overload that the messengers undoubtedly experience pulsing through their veins. It's exciting, but not exactly an example of model biking etiquette.
"A lot of these big city messengers aren't exactly poster children for bike safety or respecting traffic laws," Abel says.
WebCyclery Movie Nights, which benefit the Central Oregon Trail Alliance, were never intended to be a monthly event, Abel says. He wasn't sure how people would respond when they started with the screenings. But the movie nights have become a regular occurrence and something that many pedal-happy Bendites circle on their calendars - and Abel doesn't see the momentum stopping any time soon.
"At some point I'm worried that we'll run out of cycling movies, but I actually have a pretty good list going. I don't want to show just a bike movie, but a good bike movie," Abel says.
9pm Monday, Feb. 18. McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond St., 382-5174. $5, 21 and over.