Just got back from a local screening of the documentary film With My Own Two Wheels at the historic Normal Theater. The 42-minute film profiles five individuals whose lives have been changed by bicycles. [Trailer] [Watch the film]
One example is Bharati, a high-school girl in India, where only about 45% of girls go to high school. She needed a bicycle to get to school; this expense was OK for boys but not for girls because they would just get married anyway. “Why water a plant which will grow in your neighbor’s garden?” An organization gave her a bike and now she is going to school. She likes mathematics and wants to be a civic leader. Her mother now says: “It is important for our daughter to get a good education!”
There were about 200 people there for the event, which was darned impressive for a rainy Tuesday night. A Normal city planner asked; “How many of you are all-weather riders?” Dozens of hands went up. “Great!” she said, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing!” Normal is working hard to be a bike-friendly community with more racks, lanes, signage, extending “the trail”, and events. At one upcoming event in Bloomington, donated bikes will be refurbished and given away, while West-side kids will be able to get their bikes fixed for free.
Last month I acquired a classic Schwinn Varsity; it isn’t rideable now, but the wheels are straight and it won’t take much to get it in shape. Then I may give it to that local organization or find a student who needs it. Those were really good bikes (although that ancient Huret Alvit derailler has got to go – those were terrible).
A very good evening.