About this project
The tireless LESS CAR MORE GO Co-Directors have emboldened me to post...
Stretch Goal #3!: $60,000
There's been talk for a while about how effective it would be to have aerial footage of cyclists in motion for LESS CAR MORE GO. We could make that happen with a GoPro camera mounted on a flying drone, such as the GoPro HERO3: Silver Edition Camera & Phantom Quadcopter with GoPro Mount Kit. We would also need--at lease initially--to hire an operator to make sure we captured what we desired and learned how to best use it.
The equipment could be shared amongst Co-Directors within certain limits and always under the watch of a trained operator. Watch the amazing things it can do here. What do you say? We have 2 days! Make it happen!!!
Stretch Goal #2!: 1000 Backers --In Progress!
Think you can get 10 friends to donate $1? Or 20 friends? If we can reach 1000 Backers--at any pledge level, even $1.00 each--Metrofiets has offered to donate one of their beautiful bakfiets to a low-income family willing to try living car-lite or car-free. I will follow this family, camera in hand, and capture the story for inclusion in LESS CAR MORE GO!
This could not only transform a family life, but put a spotlight on the practical benefits of cargo bikes we all know so well. To get us started, Arleen McGlade will match the first $1000 to come in!! We have 3 days. We NEED 438 NEW BACKERS. GO!!!!!!!!!
Stretch Goal #1: $50,000 -- Achieved!
$50,000 would enable us to capture a wider cross-section of the cargo bike movement while also completing LCMG sooner and in a more professional fashion. That's our best chance at catching the current wave and getting the mainstream to jump on for the ride!
To reward you for your love and support, if we hit $50,000, I will give ALL Backers backstage (online) access to uncut, uncensored interviews with cargo bike luminaries such as Ross Evans, Mikael Colville Andersen, George Bliss, Emily Finch, Ben Sarrazin, and yours truly--Liz Canning!
LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!
In early 2011, almost three years before the Wall Street Journal dubbed cargo bikes "the New Station Wagon," filmmaker Liz Canning began making LESS CAR MORE GO. The project is a crowdsourced documentary on the past, present and future of the cargo bike movement, co-directed by over 100 cargo cyclists. A rapidly growing online network of bike lovers from all over the world has shared hours of video footage capturing how cargo bikes change lives. The number, quality and content of submissions to LESS CAR MORE GO is a stunning testament to the power of bicycles, community and art. And we’ve only just begun!
By interweaving Co-Directors’ footage with interviews Liz has shot with riders, designers, shop owners, advocates and pioneers, LESS CAR MORE GO will tell the tale of the cargo bike, from the original bakfiets and rickshaws in Europe and Asia, to the birth of the Longtail in Australia and Nicaragua, through the year 2014 when sales are doubling and tripling annually, and the global cargo bike culture is exploding!
Furthermore, the collectively illustrated story of the cargo bike boom will be framed by the parallel story of the synergistic LESS CAR MORE GO project. Our goal is to produce an authentic, collaborative document of a cultural revolution in progress: a tribute to the potential of teamwork, bikes and the internet.
The LESS CAR MORE GO trailer, produced in 2011 as a way to introduce the concept to potential Co-Directors:
I, Liz Canning, became a filmmaker while studying at Brown University's Department of Modern Culture and Media. After years of making and curating experimental films in San Francisco, I began a career as an editor (Bio/resume/previous work available here.)
I have always loved bikes. Just never entirely grasped the car-as-rite-of-passage-into-adulthood thing; it was my bike that made me feel free, bold, and adventurous. This was surely inconvenient at times, but I didn’t drive until I was almost 40! By that time I felt intimately familiar with the power of life on 2-wheels. I did not expect that mid-midlife crisis I would be Reborn as a new kind of cyclist: empowered and called to action--by new kind of a bicycle.
It happened when my twins were about two. I was forced to admit that dragging the double bike trailer stuffed with fat toddlers up the very long steep hill to our house--though adventurous-- was not at all fun and becoming dangerous. So, defeated and bored, I resorted to the car, even for 2 mile-trips to preschool or the store.
The thought that kids--beings undeniably drawn to, and seemingly designed for transport via bicycle, whose future may depend on on our consuming less--the thought that they could actually force our family into a car just killed me.
I began to wonder: might there be a bike out there that could happily and safely get us up and down that hill? I typed “carry kids on bike” and hit “search.” In a pivotal, life-changing moment I discovered what would become my lifestyle, my fellow filmmakers and my extended family. There it was: the beginnings of the cargo bike boom, manifested in blogs, groups, chats and tweets, buzzing with passion and decorated with the elated faces of families, commuters, messengers and business owners moving heavy things on giant, burly bicycles.
A month or so later I was riding a beautiful blue front loader. Within a year, we’d added an electric assist hub motor. The steep climb that once forced us into a car became irrelevant. What had previously been a chore--errand-running and carting kids--became an adventure. I began to pile things on: 2 kids plus their bikes, 4 kids and backpacks. I could ride farther, faster, with awesome acceleration and, frankly, more fun! I charged that battery about every three days and the car sat idle for weeks.
At once I understood all the stories I was reading of regular folk--some who hadn’t been on a bike in years, getting on a cargo bike and instantly becoming fanatic evangelical advocates, reaching out and befriending every cargo bike lover they could find. They can’t contain their excitement and neither could I. I felt duty-bound to make the cargo bike experience accessible, to show people how easily it can be done, how much sense it makes, how completely ALIVE it makes you feel.
It was obvious that the rapidly growing network of cargo bike users heard the same call; what if I helped them connect and we tackled this project as a team? I had to try it. Given my knowledge and love of filmmaking, we had to make a film.
So, in the Spring of 2011 we started LESS CAR MORE GO (formerly know as (R)Evolutions per Minute) with a video trailer, a website and a Facebook Group. I bought a handful of mini-hard drives, a couple HD mini-cams, and two GoPros. Through our cargo bike network we began to share equipment, resources, and the skills of several like-minded professional shooters.
Since then the 2 edits of LESS CAR MORE GO trailer have been viewed over 107,000 times and traveled the world as part of the Bicycle Film Festival. The very active Facebook group has over 1500 members. I’ve been inundated with email. And Co-Directors just keep shooting. Some have hosted gatherings now called “Cargo Bike Roll Call”s wherein cyclists bond, tell there story and go for a ride, all on video. Others have spent their summer vacation interviewing riders wherever they found them. Some started wearing a helmet-cam when running errands At the same time Co-directors have flown, housed and fed me while I’ve been shooting up and down the west coast.
This is one of the most inspiring videos I've ever seen. Thank you!....Bo***ox to the car, I'm selling it in favor of an electric assist cargo bike and if I can do it here in the NorthWest Scottish Highlands then it should be possible anywhere...... I'm in!!!
It plays to people culturally outside of cycling's perceived core of radicals and racers, but who definitely connect the dots in terms of larger community benefits extending citywide and globally.
The cargo bike video is changing the way I view bikes, and I've never owned a car. She converted a convert, freaking awesome.
I drive a big truck= 7 mpg. I am what you would call a conservative. Having said that...I feel inspired! If it wasn't 50+ miles to work, I would totally consider a bike commute. Maybe a change in employer or career in my future!
A 100% promise to the world: My family will be living with one of these very soon!
Since I rely on bikes for transportation, this beautiful video hits close to home....With a surprising emphasis on electric assist, it's all very hopeful and exciting -- the start of something new.
LESS CAR MORE GO and the Hero’s Quest:
Ross relayed his amazing story: At age 19, while collaborating with disabled veterans as part of a Bikes Not Bombs program in war-torn Nicaragua, he invented the Xtracycle cargo bike conversion kit.
When I began following the Xtracycle story in 2011, the stakes for Ross were enormously high. He and his company were broke, beat and bitter. He had a new wife and son and faced losing his legacy; could he summon the wherewithal to save Xtracycle and take his rightful place as father of the American cargo bike? Here was a fascinating coming of age tale of dedication, betrayal and redemption, played out on the east and north sides of the San Francisco Bay. With plenty of “impassioned visionary vs. savvy businessman” drama to spare.
So, modern bike advocacy was formed in the 60’s and 70’s, by many of the same wise people behind the concurrent growth of environmentalism, right? But 50 years later, these movements have failed to appeal to the public at large and their great ideas have yet to truly sink into the mainstream consciousness. This is no surprise to urban mobility expert Mikael Colville-Andersen. In his interview for LESS CAR MORE GO he explained that the finger-pointing, guilt-tripping, and holier-than-thou tone typical of their messaging does not engage your average Joe, and instead encourages inherently exclusive subcultures of Avid Cyclists and Nature Lovers. (“You’re not a real cyclist, on that cruiser, in that skirt and heels...”)
Colville-Andersen goes on:
Ownership of cycling--for almost an entire generation in some countries--has been claimed by the roadies, the Mountain Bikers, the recreationalists. But they don’t own the Bike! ...And they have nothing to do with mainstreaming bicycles. Let them ride their bikes and let them love it--it’s not about them anymore, it’s about the 99% who could be riding bikes, who maybe want to ride a bike, if they are given the right inspiration.
For these reasons, LESS CAR MORE GO will not be a sort of Inconvenient-Truth-on-two wheels; our message is urgent, to be sure, but cargo bikes are FUN! Our documentary will instead offer an accessible and exciting alternative to the lycra-clad, gear-obsessed archetype of the modern cyclist. The characters in the film are not showing off, competing or shaming anyone; they ride because it makes sense and it feels good. No scary climate-change messaging needed; all it takes is a test ride!
When it was invented 125 years ago, the bicycle was meant for the common man and woman: it liberated women, it liberated the working classes, it impacted the gene pool positively...it was amazing stuff that happened, and that’s what’s happening again! --Mikael Colville-Andersen
The utility cycling explosion is, like this documentary, not about the bikes! Modern life is crazy-making, yes? Hyper-paced, high-tech, disempowering, overwhelming. The sort of cognitive dissonance created by living in a system we don’t control or necessarily believe in can leave us feeling boxed-in, worn-out and disconnected.
Get on a bike. Preferably one with the power to replace your car. Ideally carrying a passenger. Pedal. Breathe. Wave. Smell. Comment on the changing colors. Stop to chat. Sweat. Notice how your legs are moving two people where they need to go. Notice smiles. Smile back! Then smile to yourself. Congratulations, and welcome back. You are reconnecting; to your body, your community, your family and your environment.
Like the first time you balanced on two-wheels, the freedom is intoxicating. Underlying all this is a calming awareness that you are simultaneously saving resources, money and (often) time, reducing traffic and emissions, and creating health and happiness. You are doing all these things, in public, everyday. We believe this is immensely powerful.
Josef Bray-Ali rides and sells cargo bikes at Flying Pigeon LA. He said it best: The night I assembled my Workcycles bakfiets in the autumn of 2007 and rode it home, I cried tears of joy. For me, the bakfiets was a release from the obligation most parents feel to trap themselves in minivans, traffic, stress, and health and happiness goals that are ‘unrealistic given our hectic schedule’. It was a middle finger to the entire 20th century pattern of sprawl, urban ruin, and over-investment in a car-only lifestyle.
Thus far the project been fueled by passion and funded by co-directors and myself. A successful Kickstarter campaign will sustain us through post-production and ensure that all this inspired work pays off. A documentary (especially a crowdsourced one) is really made in the editing. I will need time and some assistance to weave all these disparate elements into a coherent and exciting story.
These rewards are no longer available. Sorry!:
Click on this list to find out more about the LCMG Co-Directors!
Risks and challenges
LESS CAR MORE GO is a marathon of a project and will require patience and persistence. I've got to organize and edit a huge variety and amount of footage; I must constantly be in communication with many Co-Directors; I'll need to capture the right events in order to bring the film to a closing that convincingly demonstrates a real cultural shift. To make all this happen I will need not only to enlist committed Co-Directors, but also to find a great assistant editor/producer and summon a lot of focused energy.
It is easy to lose perspective when working on such an epic, long-term project, so I'll have to reach out to story consultants and documentary experts for feedback. My assistant editor/producer and I will have to be very organized and detail-driven as far as credit and rights issues.
As mentioned above, it is of the utmost importance that LESS CAR MORE GO avoid being pigeon-holed as a movie for cyclists. We'll have to work hard to be clear that we're talking about a lifestyle choice that makes sense on numerous levels and has the potential to bring health and happiness to millions!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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