Recently I came across three incredible stories where the bike and its biker played a central role. I came across one on Instagram, one story slept at our home for 2 days and the last one is the love story of a couple in Boltaña, that also happens to tell the story of the last wild river in the Spanish Pyrenees.
I have been lucky enough to travel with my bike and create some stories of my own, but last week these three stories past by in one week.
Cinecicleta is one of the more powerful but simple projects I have seen over the last years. There are a lot of people trying to change the world, but most of them are more of the same and you might wonder what the impact /damage is... but not Isabela and Carmelo from Spain. They took on the adventure to bike through Africa for two years towing a mobile cinema in a bike trailer. This cinema , includes a beamer which is paddle powered! They started in Madrid and biked to Madagaskar. Everywhere they stopped they showed films and shorts documentaries bringing joy and laughter to the people. To me this is so powerful because first of all Carmelo and Isabela actually took the effort to go biking for two years and second they use low end power generation/ zero emission techniques to show movies. They prove you don’t need high tech to bring something positive into the world.
Since we moved to the Spanish Pyrenees we have met a lot of inspiring people that are living similar lives like us. Two of these inspiring minds are Isabel Santolaria and Martin Campoy. Martin is Argentinian and he met the Spanish Isabel in this area while he was biking through parts of Europe. The rest is history aka a love story. Two weeks ago Marce and I went to see Ara Salvaje in the cinema of Jaca. I loved the movie, the passion of Martin and Isabel, it made me want to explore our region even more. Although I only understood 3/4 of it as it is a Spanish movie.
The last couple of years they worked on a movie project telling the story of the last wild river in the Spanish Pyrenees, the Ara river. In Ara Salvaje Martin Campoy rides his mountainbike from the origin of the Ara at almost 3000 meters of altitude to Ainsa where the Ara ends in the dam lake of the Cinca river. On this trip Ara Salvaje not only shows the harsh and sometimes violent history of the river but also tells the love story between Martin and Isabel. Last but not least the love for the bike. Go see this movie as soon it is available in English. This movie fits perfectly in the Blue Heart campaign from Patagonia - The Fight for Europe’s Last Wild Rivers.
Ainsa is this village on a cross road. It is the last big village before France in the heart of the Pyrenees and it is in the middle of the Eje Pirenaico (N-260 ) national road that runs from east to west through the Pyrenees. A lot of interesting people pass through this cross road. Some stop for a longer period and build a life here just like us. Others are just passers by. Olivier is one of the last kind, but he is a special one. He left home on his bike in Switzerland 24 years old in 2014.
He embarked on a 4 year journey taking him to almost every African country over 65.000 km. We offered him our guest room for two nights for him to repair his bike and to have a couple of chill days around Ainsa. Meanwhile he shared incredible stories, learnings and adventures. This journey turned him into a wise 28 year old man. We are grateful to have met Olivier and wish him all the luck in the world with his next adventures. For now he is heading home for Switzerland.
These are just three examples of how powerful a bike can be. Sometimes I have the feeling that being a mountain bike guide is not the most meaningful job in the world, but it's not true. Yes mountain biking is a leisure & luxury thing, but if I can share the incredible impactful stories about biking I come across then that is my small contribution to the world. Now im sitting on my desk feeling inspired and lucky for meeting this people. Can't wait to get on my bike and create some stories myself. See you on the trails!
Author: Jeroen Spoelstra