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"We live in a cities where cycling is still seen as complicated, dangerous, and political. We want to counter that messaging and prove that it is a fun, safe, enjoyable way to experience your city."

Chris Bruntlett is not your typical cyclist. For him, riding a bike is more than just a mode of transport, it is an enjoyable, healthy way of living for his entire family. In fact, he’d rather you not refer to him as a cyclist at all.

"I am no more an avid cyclist than I am an avid walker or avid eater. I am someone who often uses a bicycle, simply because it is the most civilized, efficient, enjoyable, and economical way to get around my city.”

In the summer of 2010, Chris, his wife Melissa and their two young children, decided to sell the family car and move to a multi-modal commute - relying on public transit, walking and a lot of cycling. 

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Chris and his family

As the Bruntletts began to wholly embrace life on two wheels, they felt the need to normalize the image of cycling in Vancouver. They began to share stories of their experience and raise awareness of local cycling issues by writing articles in the Vancouver bloggosphere. This eventually led to Chris joining forces with David Phu, founder of Vancouver Cycle Chic, a photo blog documenting Vancouver’s stylish people on bikes (the Cycle Chic manifesto is: “Dress for the destination, not the journey”).The website is part of the Cycle Chic Republic — a group of cycling photo blogs around the world that began with Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

In 2013, David and Chris wanted to take their “little photo blog” to the next level, so they created Cycle Chic Films, a series of six short films that aim to highlight the benefits of two-wheeled transportation and inspire others to give it a try. 

"After seeing the “Cycling With” series out of Dublin in late 2012, David and I were inspired to produce our own series. But with day jobs, and no practical experience in the world of film - I literally began the process by checking out a copy of “Filmmaking For Dummies” from the library - we started assembling a team of friends who were willing to learn with us.”

According to Chris, each film was shot in a single, 5-6 hour day, throughout different times of the year, to capture the changing seasons.

"We were influenced by the “profile on a bike” format, but wanted to make them shorter, sexier, and more intimate. We shot a couple of pilots first to establish our method of working together and style of shooting, and eventually went on to produce our first two films with cyclists Simon and Cecily."

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Simon - a father with his cargo bike. Watch his film here.

The films offer a glimpse into the lives of everyday people in Vancouver - a father, a young female designer, a librarian, a DJ, a Hong Kong transplant and a former Vancouver City Councillour (Gordon Price) and his partner - who have embraced the cycling lifestyle. And they make it look pretty darn chic.

"We have a hunch that, although Gore-Tex is great for commuting in the rain, there’s more to cycling in our city," said Chris, "We imagine a Vancouver where stylish people on bikes are commonplace. Where people are comfortable on bikes.Where bicycles help us express our personal style and connect with our neighbourhoods."
 
The Cycle Chic Films have garnered over 15,000 views and one of the films: ‘Heart and Soul,’ was awarded ‘Best Bicycle Short Film’ at the New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles. Most recently, the films were named ‘Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Series’ at the inaugural Vancouver Web Fest. They recently held screenings at Portland’s Filmed By Bike Festival, the Go Bike Montreal Festival and Buffalo’s 22nd Congress for the New Urbanism , as well as events in Calgary, Toronto, and Auckland, N.Z.
 
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If Chris hasn’t convinced you yet to get on your bike more often, stay tuned for the next series of Cycle Chic Films. He and his team recently started pre-production on six new films – to be shot and released in 2014 – and are looking for partners. 
 
 
"You don’t need to be a "cyclist" to get on a bike," he says. "Just hop on and go. Meet your friend for coffee. Go pick up kitty litter. Make a late-night poutine run. Whatever. We would love to see you riding a bike - and looking damn fine while you’re at it."
 
imageThe Bruntlett’s #bikeYVR campaign, featuring photos of twelve Vancouverites - of all ages and abilities - sharing what makes them passionate about riding a bike.