Monday, 22 July 2019

The Velorution is Now!

In we went cycling in to the bike-in cinema at the De Roma in Antwerp! We watched a programme of short films around bicycles, in anticipation of the Critical Mass Belgium. This was our favorite The Climb.


This was Critical Mass Mass Belgium 2019
Somebody came cycling straight of the canal to join Belgiums big critical mass of the year. World Naked Bike Ride was a bit early this year and people didn't know which way to go...

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Trees! We need more trees. To arrive in Ghent the cycle path took us through the Garden of the Children. For every child born in Ghent a tree is planted in this little forest. We like!
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We like the city of Ghent too. A wonderful city where active meassures are being taken to calm traffic and increase space for the people!

This bridge, only four years ago was a four lane bridge with a constant traffic jam passing over it. Now it is a mini plaza with benches, a Fritterie and lots and lots of people on foot and bicycles! Yey! 

You can imagine the rest of the inner city like this, more trees, more bike lanes, more pedestrian zones and less cars.
In the neighbourhood where the Bike Kitchen is the neighbours organised a Street party, road closure for three months one summer. It was an experiment to see what would happen. People loved it and a lot of good things have come out of it... the kids now have astro turf in the football court and actually use it, lots of people have met each other and are now friends and some of the street furniture is now permanent and people have somewhere lock their bikes and to hang out. Living streets in action!

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Just down that road there the Fietskeuken Gent are back in their old , now new again workshop in the Mobelfabrik. The developers never got to build their tower block because the locals resisted and the council listened. 
Gent is cool! And so is the Bike Kitchen. We had a great time playing for them for their house warming party.

An easy ride from Gent to Mons, following the fietskooppunten system.
We met some old friends in Mons and got to visit their beautiful garden on top of an old military bakery, Le Jardin Suspendu de Mons. It was a super hot weekend, we jumped in the fountain in the town square and we were very lucky to have tumbled upon this oasis in the centre of town. Trees, shade, beer and happines. A perfect way to spend a sunday!

Le Laveur de mains a velo,           le velophant de Pneusia         et le herisson pas ecrase.
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We took the long and flat way round, along the canal to enter Lille from the north. Lots of gravel, sand and dust big boats loading and unloading until we enter the greenway that leads us into heart of Lille just in time for the Fete du Velo. It was very windy, bicycles blew away, the pizza oven on a bicycle had a hard time staying lit. The choir on bicycles was excellent, even in the wind. They were singing whilst cycling - it felt like we were in a movie.... Les Cyclistes de Lille


And we did our show in this superb little bike workshop/ bar/ paint shop. It's busy and buzzing in here and the beer tastes yummy!
bike workshop

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Onwards to Amiens, which swollowed us and bathed us in goodness. We stayed with a real clown, visited the inside of the Cirque Municipal Jules Vernes, went to the cinema to see I Clown, some of which was filmed in this there Amiens Cirque! In and around Amiens we played our show three times and it felt like if we'd stayed we could have easily played another five shows....

To the left le clown Rafistol. He didn't steal our bike. He did give it back eventually, because he's our friend now! 

And here the gert lush places we played our show

And a big thank you to the local cycling association for hosting us and being our agents

Through the boarded up windows of an abandoned building a gateway into the world of Jules Vernes... lets go!

Amiens is so sticky we didn't get away very easily and spent two fun weeks in the company of Alain, Francoise and Loic in Liomer, baking bread, saving horses from the heat, building Jyoti the toilet seche, cleaning tomatoes and bundling faggots....

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Fun's over. Welcome to frustrating cycling infrastructure. Maybe all the obstacles are there to test the pilgrims patience...

We didn't go this way nor that way or that way either....
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We went this way! Short cut!

We came out in a cave, chez les troglodyte and the tenth aniversary of Seen This. How lucky! We spend a fun filled weekend in the cool cave while the sun baked high up above the ancient fort, singing into the night, keeping the owl awake, recruiting chickens for the big chicken dance

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Finally we got to play our show in Blois at the atelier Velo 41. It was the last open workshop before the summer holidays, it was hot again and we had strange punctures with six holes at the front and a hole in the tyre on the rear. It must be those pixies that live on the Loire.


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Yes!!! It's the tenths aniversary of Roulement a Bill in Tours! And to celebrate it cyclists from all over France and beyond have come to ride with the Velorutionairies of Tours and celebrate!

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Our third visit to Tours and our friends at Roulement a Bill but a first for a Velorution Universelle! It was a blast, a 60h whirring of free wheels, a thousand bike bells a ringing. Together we transformed Tours for a long weekend into a happy valley of cyclists


Benjamin from Recup'R Bordeaux brought his little lino print workshop with him. We made cycletastic prints!
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Extinction Rebellion, dangerous anarchist activists joined the Velorution  with freshly printed flags. Tell the truth! Act now! Beyond Politics!


Just before the depart of the Velorution, we all listened to an extract of another dangerous activist the actor Jaques Gamblin talking about two wheels. It's in french, it's poetic and sublime. Roule Roule! 

Looks like we're all dangerous activists nowadays... It's time we were!


One last glorious outing of two wheeled fun, with a little group of us heading west we tumbled across an evening with Cine Cyclo. A perfect way to round of the weekend and this blog. We cycled into a cinema in Antwerp and in Brehemont the cinema cycled for us.


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