A Guide to Biking in Victoria, B.C.

 

November/December 2014 | Momentum Magazine | Online here

The capital city of British Columbia is located on Vancouver Island just south of the Cowichan Valley, renowned for its food-growing climate similar to that of Tuscany or Provence. Mild weather makes Victoria an attractive destination. From the lights on Government Street in December to whale watching in the Pacific Ocean, there is no shortage of events and attractions here year round.

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David Byrne: On Bikes and Cities

May/June 2011 | Momentum Magazine | Online here

Listening to David Byrne talk about bikes, you might forget that the man is a legendary musician and world-famous artist, as well as an impassioned cyclist who’s keen to improve infrastructure and get more people on two wheels.

But the former Talking Heads performer is a reluctant advocate, although he is becoming one of the most famous faces of the North American bike revolution, thanks to his online journal and the book it spawned – The Bicycle Diaries. His follow-up tour, Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around, features a set of arty bike racks and stories from his years in the saddle.

“I haven’t wanted to be a real advocate or proselytizer,” he said in a phone interview from New York. “But if I sense that people are kind of ready and willing to try something, later I’ll say, ‘Well yes, this is how you do it, and this is how it’s done, and this is my experience, and the rest is up to you’.” Continue reading →

Bowing at a Human Pace

January/February 2011 | Momentum Magazine | Download PDF

Musician Ben Sollee didn’t ride much before 2009, when he embarked on a 200-mile (322-kilometer) tour from his home in Lexington, KY, to the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, TN. But an ad for an Xtracycle cargo bike sparked the idea of using a bike for his music tours. He and his family now use a Surly Big Dummy in place of a minivan.

He’s covered a lot of ground since then. A December 2009 trip was followed by the 2010 Ditch the Van tour, for which Sollee – along with percussionist Jordan Ellis, tour manager Katie Benson and her brother, filmmaker Marty Benson – cycled 1,800 of the 4,000 miles from California to Washington, DC.

The idea of a pedal-powered tour is tinged with green, but environmental concerns aren’t what motivated Sollee.

“If I was trying to do it to save the world or be green, I think it would stop pretty quick,” he said. Continue reading →

Five Alarm Funk: Servants to the Music

Spring 2011 | Renegade Radio | Online here

Five Alarm Funk

Five Alarm Funk onstage during the 2008 Vancouver Jazz Festival. Picture courtesy the band.

If you could somehow bottle up a Five Alarm Funk show, you’d have a new source of alternative energy.

The 10-man Vancouver band’s brassy blend of funk, rock and world music powers an onstage show complete with dance moves, choreographed arm movements and the occasional shark-gorilla wrestling match.

“It’s an all-around show,” says saxophonist Dameian Walsh, “not a music recital.” Almost all of the moves started out spontaneously, he explains. “It it’s cool, we keep it.”

It’s a sentiment that sums up much of what the band – which in addition to Walsh features four percussionists, two guys on guitar, one on bass, two blowing on trumpets, and another on the trombone – does. Continue reading →

The Show Must Go On

January 5, 2011 | Momentum Magazine 

“I don’t even remember sleeping last night,” says Brendt Barbur. That’s because on the September day when I managed to get him on the phone he’s running on two hours of sleep – caught between two overseas phone calls at 5:30 and 7:30 in the morning – and trying to deal with a problem in Korea, where his Bicycle Film Festival headed in October.

It’s one of 40 cities the festival hit in 2010, its 10th year. By the time it wrapped up, Barbur had circled the globe – he estimates that he was attending 75 percent of this year’s events. (He attended every event until 2008, when he didn’t go to an after after party.)

It’s a grueling schedule, and one that might be wearing him down: He told festival-goers in New York in June that 2010 was going to be BFF’s last year.

“It came after not sleeping for two weeks,” he says of the statement. “It’s a lot of work, and not what I want to do with my life.” Continue reading →

Fixed On Photography

November/December 2010 | Momentum Magazine | Download PDF

Matt Lingo was watching his friends at the skate park – he was sidelined by a head injury – when he picked up a camera and started taking their pictures. When sponsors started buying his work, he decided to make a career of it.

Seven years later, the San Diego-based photographer shoots mostly candid shots of strangers and cityscapes. Fixed-gear bikes, which he started riding two-and-a-half years ago, seemed like a natural progression in his career, and he now works regularly for cycling companies and fixed-gear magazines.

“I was always interested in documenting urban environments,” said Lingo, “and I saw bikes as a way that people can cut through the congestion and urban sprawl I was photographing. If you’re on a bike, all of a sudden it becomes an adventure; you’re having fun.”

His bicycle photography can be seen in the 2009 book This City Can’t Swallow Me. Lingo is at work on a second book: “It’s more about the people who make up the fixed-gear scene, than about the bikes.”

mattlingo.com

Chiefs ban genital cutting for girls under 18

April 19, 2009 | IRIN | Online here

Ceremonial knives owned by members of the women's Bondo society. Photo by Bryna Hallam/IRIN

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In Sierra Leone village chiefs, community members and women who perform female genital cutting have signed an agreement stating that girls in northern Kambia district will not undergo genital mutilation – or ‘cutting’ – before age 18.

The number of girls being cut during the December 2008-January 2009 initiation season in Kambia dropped drastically, according to Finda Fraser, advocacy coordinator at local non-profit Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet), which runs a ‘Say No to Child Bondo’ campaign in the district.

Most Sierra Leonean girls – the World Health Organization estimates 94 percent – are initiated at puberty into ‘Bondo’, also known as the Sande Secret Society. As part of the rite, a woman known as a ‘sowei’ in the Mende language cuts the clitoris and prepares the girl for adulthood through singing, dancing and teaching domestic skills. For the initiation girls spend up to three months in the bush.

Anti-FGM/C campaigner John Marah, chairman of NaMEP, a network of Sierra Leone-based NGOs, told IRIN: “We are against just the cutting, not the training. You can still have a rite of passage. It’s just a change of mentality.” Continue reading →