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Come downtown for cycling, cinema, camaraderie

April 1, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated March 31, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.


It's not every day you get the chance to ride alongside filmmakers and fellow cyclists from Hamburg, Germany, but this Saturday, you will get the chance.

Filmmakers and bicycle aficionados Boris Castro and Karla Lemus who hail from Hamburg, Germany, will be showcasing their film "Breakin L.A." this weekend at the Victoria Independent Film Festival.

Since the film is based on the cycling scene in Los Angeles, Castro and Lemus are also encouraging all Victoria area cyclists to bring their bikes downtown to the location of the film as there will be a short social ride afterward through the streets of downtown Victoria.

"Breakin L.A." will be shown Saturday at 10 p.m. at the "Cinema Under the Stars" located between the Junior League Building and the Children's Discovery Museum downtown at 202 North Main St.

The documentary is based on a group of bicycle aficionados (including Castro and Lemus) from Hamburg, Germany, that travels to Los Angeles, crisscrossing the city on bikes for 12 days. They cruised through the barrios of East LA to the beaches of Venice, climbed the Hollywood Hills and discovered a forgotten velodrome in Encino.

LA has a remarkable and complex biking community, which faces the daily pressures of modern evolution, overcomes cycling large distances and faces the chaos of the traffic situation of that city.

However, there is a cycling community there that has remained true to the origins of the bike, utilizing it as a tool to discover and encounter a variety of areas and people in LA.

Castro, along with being a filmmaker, enjoys organizing bike rides and races and also enjoys racing bikes himself. He brought the "Marathon Crash" from LA to Hamburg, an event where cyclists take to the streets in the early morning hours (we are talking 2 a.m.) whenever a marathon is being held.

That is because they basically have 26.2 miles of closed roads at their cycling disposal prior to the start time of the marathon.

In a time where the lighter and more aerodynamic, the better, clipless pedals are a must, and "good cyclists" always wear a helmet, Castro and his crew from Germany enjoy a more toned-down version of cycling, taking it back a few decades or more with their bikes and cycling attire.

Castro rides a 1965 Diamante track bike during velodrome races and a 1983 Colnago Super Sport at street crits. He has even found his very own cycling group here in Victoria to ride with on their early morning excursions.

Castro has been riding with my husband, Matt, and his cycling buddies Don, John, Lee and Jessie. While my husband and his cycling cronies show up each morning on their super-light carbon bikes, in lycra head to toe and with helmets, Boris rides a single-speed bike with no helmet atop his head.

Nevertheless, you can see the camaraderie among the cyclists and Boris despite their origins and different cycling interests.

A large group of cyclists here in Victoria met last week with Castro and Lemus for a screening of their film. It was exciting and intriguing to see how a different genre of cyclists in a large city uses their bikes and when and where they choose to ride.

I think cyclists in the community will really enjoy not only the film but also the chance to congregate downtown for a casual, social ride here in downtown Victoria.

Not to mention, we will be riding in the dark.

On that note, cyclists are encouraged to bring attachable lights for their bikes or head lamps and wear reflective gear.

Tickets can be found at vtxiff.com.

I hope to see all of you Saturday evening for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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