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Published August 23, 2010, 12:00 AM

Cyclists spin out movie, week of bike activities

Fargo-Moorhead cyclists are gearing up to take our cities for a spin. For the next week, riders will be flexing their (leg) muscles and flashing some style for the first Bike, Art & Community Health Week.

By: John Lamb, INFORUM

Fargo-Moorhead cyclists are gearing up to take our cities for a spin. For the next week, riders will be flexing their (leg) muscles and flashing some style for the first Bike, Art & Community Health Week.

As the name suggests, the events, from tonight through Sunday, combine and celebrate the elements that get cyclists’ pulses pounding – both the blood-pumping exercise and the eye-catching aesthetics.

The idea sprung from discussions between Plains Art Museum Director/CEO Colleen Sheehy and F-M Community Bike Workshop members last summer, with both sides expressing a desire to work on a project together.

“I think bike culture has a lot of aesthetic dimensions that are fun to connect with as a museum,” Sheehy says. “It’s such a people’s art.”

“I’ve always felt bikes are at this great intersection of the technical and artistic,” says Tom Smith, proprietor of the Great Northern Bicycle Co., adding that he’s much more attuned to the technical aspects.

Bike nights

Events start tonight with the Great Northern Bike’s regular family bike ride, though this week they will take the five-mile route that will be closed off to motorized vehicles for Sunday’s Streets Alive event. All the week’s events are free and open to the public.

After tonight’s ride, cyclists will loop back and meet at the Plains Art Museum for ice cream and to make spoke cards – illustrated postcards to stick in bike spokes.

“A lot of people in our collective have an arts background,” says FMCBW member Sara Watson Curry, adding that many of her fellow members have “busy hands.”

Case in point, artist and cycling enthusiast Judith Feist and Watson will help people make their cards.

Tuesday follows with bikers becoming artists by painting while they ride. Provided cycles will leave a mark as they cover a canvas.

But the wheel merger of art and cycling comes Thursday with the pedal-powered screening of the animated musical, and cycling favorite, “The Triplets of Bellville” on the south side of the Plains.

Smith’s five-seat cycle, “The Mighty Quinn,” will be hooked up to an alternator to supply 700 watts of power to the film projector and sound system.

While Smith says his riders haven’t tried it for more than 10-minute durations, he has a backup plan to ensure the 80-minute movie will be shown.

The wheel turns

All of the events pave the way for Sunday’s Streets Alive, sponsored by the Dakota Medical Foundation and the Cass Clay Healthy People Initiative. By closing five miles of streets and paths to motorized vehicles, organizer Rory Beil hopes to create “a festival of physical activity and healthy eating,” with events and stands along the way.

While Beil hopes bike week generates some buzz for Sunday’s event, and a follow-up ride on Sept. 19, both he and Watson Curry hope it creates a longer-lasting impact.

“We’re leading the way in changing people’s perceptions of transportation and health,” she says. “I think we’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

If you go

  • What: Bike, Art & Community Health Week
  • When: Today through Sunday
  • Where: Various locations around Fargo and Moorhead
  • Info: All events are free.
  • Online: Visit www.fmbikeworkshop.org or www.fmstreetsalive.org for more information.

Gearing up

There will be daily events planned during the Bike, Art and Community Health week. Here’s a breakdown of a few interesting events:

  • Family bike ride, 6 to 8 p.m. today – From Great Northern Bicycle Co. to the Plains Art Museum; make spoke cards and eat ice cream.
  • Bike art, 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday – Painting with bikes at the Plains Art Museum.
  • Bike Olympics, 9 p.m. Wednesday – Bike sprints and other events at Great Northern Bicycle Co.
  • Bike-powered film, 9 to 11 p.m. Thursday – “The Triplets of Bellville” shown on the side of the Plains Art Museum.
  • Bike-deco, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday – Bike decorating and safety checks at Woodlawn Park in Moorhead.
  • Streets Alive, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday – Five miles of downtown Fargo-Moorhead closed to motorized vehicles to encourage active living and healthy eating.

Readers can reach Forum reporterJohn Lamb at (701) 241-5533