Biking in heels. In a long dress. In the rain. You can always make it work. Stylish Spokes is a short film celebrating the freedom of biking, whatever journey you need to make, whatever the weather or ultimate destination. To a wedding reception, to speak at a conference, to a business meeting or party with friends.
Biking and beautiful shoes are not incompatible although many think they are. Stylish spokes illustrates to women that you don’t have to wear gym clothes to ride a bicycle. You can ride a bicycle wearing a business outfit or a party dress. And fellow cyclists, drivers and pedestrians will comment on your style. And because you aren’t sealed in a car, stuck in traffic, you’ll hear them, you’ll grin and you can thank them. Cycling is a joy every day. Cycling in fabulous shoes is sheer delight.
In conversation with writer/producer, Claire Bonham-Carter
What were some of your experiences that inspired this story?
I was due to go for drinks to celebrate a friend’s post City Hall wedding ceremony at an up market bar and as I went to leave the office, I realized it was raining. So I pulled on waterproof trousers, galoshes and jacket over my long tweed dress, fishnet tights and patent high heels. As I was locking up my bike at the rock star parking directly outside the bar, it stopped raining so I started to peel off the waterproofs in the street. ‘Look it’s Wonder Woman!’ remarked a couple walking past.
I once got a round of applause peeling off waterproofs inside a conference complex while standing in line at a coffee stand. I was due to give a presentation later than morning and had the purple and green shoes on that star in one of the scenes of the film.
Even just yesterday a woman rode up next to me at a junction and said ‘That’s f**king awesome, look at your riding shoes AND you are faster than the rest of us’.
Is there ever a situation or perhaps an outfit you’re wearing where biking is not practical?
Ha! Not often! I can usually make an outfit work but sometimes you do have to take special care with long, flowing skirts as they could get caught in the spokes. Pencil skirts need to have some sort of shorts underneath to be decent. It is usually only a really heavy load that pushes me onto the bus.
What does success look like for this film?
I really want this film to inspire more women to ride bikes everyday, for work, for errands, to go out in the evening. The more that do, the better our cities will be.
Writer and Producer
A bike has always been my primary form of transport. I have never owned a car and never intend to. I conceived the idea for this film a few years ago, as I realized from the comments I would get about my outfits that people thought it unusual and a skill to ride a bike in a dress and a pair of high heels. So I wrote a script, intending to shoot it on my digital camera. But then my friend Greg got excited about the concept and suggested we do it properly with his cinematographer friends. We revisited the script, and Greg helped developed the storyline. We got cinematographers Jason, Clare and Lincoln excited about the idea. Finally we found actresses and friends willing to support the project. I am a Principal at a design-planning-engineering-landscape firm, and my work focuses on climate change resilience in cities. I want to encourage more people to ride bikes, for commuting and everyday errands to improve quality of life in cities, reduce congestion and increase community. You don’t need a car, get a bike!
Director and Co-Writer/Producer
Claire’s concept for Stylish Spokes resonated with me because I’ve been an avid cyclist since I was a child, regularly commuting several miles to school beginning in the 8th grade. Today I seize every opportunity to ride to work, towing my production equipment in a trailer or with it mounted directly to my bicycle so I can put my bike on BART or Caltrain.
I want to leverage the power of media to educate, inspire, and move people to action. In the case of this project that means inspiring people to get out of their cars and onto a bike. Documentary lies at the root of my passion, but I play many roles in a diversity of productions. As a location sound mixer I work on programming for National Geographic, PBS, and the Food Network, as well as on documentaries, such as The Pat Tillman Story, We Are Legion, and Academy Award nominated, Extremis. In 2011 I helped release the feature documentary, Patagonia Rising, a project I produced from concept to a theatrical run in New York City. Stylish Spokes is my directorial debut, and I continue to freelance as a sound mixer and collaborate on films that help create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Find out more about my work: gregorsound.com
Lech Naumovich: lechphoto.com
Directors of Photography
Jason Joseffer: jasonjoseffer.com
Clare Major: claremajor.com
Lincoln Else: lincolnelse.com
Claire is somewhat of an addict of Fluevog shoes and boots. She thinks she owns 10 pairs and is often wearing them when riding a bike so it seemed natural to have all the cyclists in the film borrow her shoes. It was only after making the film that she realized that Fluevog might be interested in the film. And they were. Thank you Fluevog!