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From Huck Magazine #35: The On The Road Issue - October/November 2012
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If you thought cycling made you automatically eco-conscious, think again. Not content with a zero-emission machine, this Argentine workshop has crafted a range of fully capable bikes from bamboo, using approximately 10% of the energy and resources used in traditional bike manufacture. The bamboo fixie is DOPE!
Housed in an abandoned pizzeria, Fabricicleta is a community workshop and bike repair cooperative. Inspired by the anarchist ideal of self-sufficiency, they provide tools and know-how to anyone with a broken bike, or to whom just wants to learn more about cycle maintenance.
La Vida en Bici:
Artist Mati Kalwill's La Vida en Bici project aims to "fill the world with bicycles" through encouraging love for cycling. Mati's blog is the best place to hear about anything on two wheels and the Biciconga parties he helps run are not to be missed.
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Javier Salas, one of the original instigators of the Masa Crítica (Critical Mass) in Buenos Aires, and his girlfriend Giselle, recently pedalled off on an epic journey to spread a love of cycling throughout Latin America.
Dubbing themselves Viajeros de los Vientos they plan to visit every Critical Mass in Latin America. Where no Masa exists they will encourage local cyclists to set up their own in as many towns as possible. After seeing Critical Mass explode in their home city "we thought maybe we could spread the use of the bicycle around our country and the rest of the world."
As winter descends on Europe and North America, and ever bleaker weather makes getting on a bike a less and less appealing prospect for cyclists in the northern hemisphere, one of the most vibrant cycling communities in the world is just coming out of hibernation in Argentina.
With the blossoming of spring in the southern hemisphere, Buenos Aires retakes the mantle of world cycling capital. Over the last decade an incredibly vibrant subculture has grown up around the bike, one that has spawned anarchist bike maintenance cooperatives, clandestine "closed-door" bike modding worships and mysterious riding groups who make secretive midnight explorations of the city. Oh, and tons of great parties.
While the movement is too diverse to generalise, B.A.'s cyclists reject the selfishness of the car-dominated society and instead use the bike as a political tool to push for self-sufficiency, sustainability and cooperation.
Once a month the phenomenal Masa Critíca (Critical Mass) brings the city's cyclists together into a rolling street carnival one thousand strong to reclaim the streets and spread awareness of the bike. Free of the militant edge sometimes found at Critical Mass in the northern hemisphere, the buena onda (Argentine slang for/roughly translated as "good vibes") radiates from the river of cyclists. Or in the words of Javi and Giselle, "We believe the bike is a step/means towards a more evolved society."
Javi and Giselle are pedalling as you read this, and you can follow their year-long journey on Instagram and Twitter at viajerosdelosvientos.com