At 24, Amanda Feder began to wonder if, perhaps, her inability to ride a bicycle was hurting her chances for finding love in a bicycle friendly city. So, she decided to learn to ride a bike of course, and make a movie about it. The short documentary has been submitted to festivals and the World Premiere is expected sometime this summer. Curious about the project I emailed Amanda a few questions and she was kind enough to respond.
I really want to start off and just ask you about those shoulder pads, but let’s start with the introductions, give us a brief bio?
My name is Amanda Feder, and I directed Sex on Wheels. I graduated from Film Studies at Ryerson University, and recently went back to school to do an MA in Media Studies at Concordia University. I’ve also worked as a production coordinator and researcher for documentary film and television. This short film was my first time directing outside of school.
I get that you wanted to learn to ride a bike to impress, or maybe just not be embarrassed around a boy, but most of us would have probably gone out in the back yard, by ourselves, and figured it out. What made you want to learn so publicly? Why make a film?
This film is really about putting yourself out there, trying something new, and not being afraid to be yourself, to show your limitations and vulnerabilities. That theme is of course in the film in my journey of learning to ride a bike, but it was also an important part of me actually making the film, producing a creative project on my own, which was really scary. So it was important for me to make the film on both those levels.
Ok, the shoulder pads. I’ve not seen the film, but in the trailer you’re often wearing what looks like full football gear. How much of that was you really being nervous about crashing and how much of it was just being a little goofy?
A little of both. The idea came from the sincere place of me being terrified of hurting myself. A lot of the funny moments in the film came from that place. I wasn’t trying to be funny on purpose (my sense of comedic timing is actually pretty horrific), but a person being horrified of something everyone else takes for granted lends itself to humour. Instead of my friends telling me I looked ridiculous in those pads, which they probably would have done normally, they told me to run with it for the sake of the film.
Judging by the trailer, it looks like you did learn to ride a bike – how much is cycling a part of your daily life post film?
I did learn to ride a bike! However, I am not 100% comfortable on a bike yet. I still have a lot more practice to do to get over my fear. I never bike outside of a bike lane, and I can’t bike in high traffic areas. So it’s not my main mode of transportation yet, but I’m still hopeful I can get there.
Like most people, I learned to ride a bike at 5 or 6 and don’t really remember much about the process – I do remember riding directly into a telephone pole – you now have this unique memory of learning as an adult. What was it like the first time you got rolling?
It was terrifying and exhilarating. But mainly terrifying. I didn’t understand how anybody could enjoy biking I was so nervous. But I kept biking for the sake of the film, thinking I’d never be able to really take pleasure in it. And then one day we were shooting on a scenic bike path just to get some footage of me biking, and I biked for 30 minutes straight, something I had never done before (I had always stopped and started before). I suddenly realized I was liking biking, loving it. It was totally a new kind of feeling of freedom. That’s really when I felt I had learned how to bike.
How long did it take you to learn?
I learned to balance in one afternoon, it didn’t even take me an hour. A year passed in making the film before I learned to love it.
I also asked if learning to ride helped her accomplish that other goal she mentions in the film description, meeting boys, and she said we’d have to watch to film to find out.
As a cyclist who takes for granted the joy I get from simply being in the saddle, I look forward to seeing a film about a girl who has to learn to love cycling.