Bicycle Film Festival founder Brendt Barbur with the attendees of his opening party, 6/11/19. (Photos: Nick McManus)

The Bicycle Film Festival kicked off its 19th year last night ahead of a week of events that will include a vegan BBQ tonight at Hester Street Fair and a live-scored screening by local experimental mainstays Gang Gang Dance on Thursday and Friday. This year, the festival moves from its longtime home at East Village’s Anthology Film Archives to the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights, where all of the films will be shown on Saturday.

Attendees of the 2018 Bicycle Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives.

Last night’s opening party took place at Rapha Cycle Club, which sits on the Prince Street bike lane. “People use it a lot to get to the west side,” said store co-manager Rene Harra. “And now we get commuters coming in that are going that way– plus we got coffee.”

Attendees of Bicycle Film Festival’s opening party.

The party coincided with the 100th birthday of Columbus, the Italian brand whose steel tubes make up the frames of major brands like Bianchi and Collage. Visiting from Italy, Antonio Columbus, the son of founder Angelo, graciously posed with racers who told him how his steel helped propel them. How did he feel about his family company’s centennial? “Ask me in the next century,” he told me.

Antonio Columbus with racers of his family’s steel.

Festival director Brendt Barbur was excited to see Gang Gang Dance play again this year. “They performed for our 2005 San Francisco BFF and then again with Dan Deacon in New York in 2007. Dan is also back this year for his score for The Breakaway in our screening of Time Trial on Saturday.”

Continuum Cycles owner Jeff Underwood (second from left) with filmmaker Lucas Brunelle (first right).

On my way home from Rapha, I ran into Jeff Underwood, owner of East Village bike shop Continuum Cycles, having dinner outside of Arturo’s Pizza along with bike-race film pioneer Lucas Brunelle, who recently biked through Chernobyl. I used to watch his films long before I started taking portraits of my fellow messengers and now a short doc about my work, “A Story Told On Polaroid,” will be screened alongside his.

Talk about the cycle of life…