Keeping It Wheel: St. Paul teens’ bicycle and movie-making adventure

“Sore, painful, pretty country farms, small towns, things looked different, I learned a lot.” That’s how Tiana Liggins and Shanay Miles, High School Recording Arts (HSRA) 12th grade students and cyclists, described their bicycle journey in the “Keeping it Wheel” documentary film project.  With a group of twelve fellow classmates and staff advisors, including project coordinator Renee Swanson, they traveled by plane from Minnesota to Montréal, Canada and then biked 350 miles to Quebec City, Canada.  For some of the students, this was the first time on a plane or traveling outside of the United States; this was the first of many firsts.“Keeping It Wheel” had a celebration debut at HSRA Friday October 11. Cornelius Sangster HSRA student and, film director of “Keeping it Wheel,” documented this bike journey from the perspective of the HSRA students. Sangster dedicated the film to the 19th century African American race cyclist Major Taylor.  With Two Wheel View providing bikes upon their Montréal arrival, the group spent time touring the Montréal neighborhood, Côte-des-Neiges, and McGill University radio station, where the young people shared beats and rhymes. The film captures beautifully how music breaks the ice between the young people from Montréal and Minnesota. Continue Reading

Women of color who ride bikes in the Twin Cities

On a rainy Saturday morning two women are at bike work stations receiving hands-on learning about the ins and outs of bicycle mechanics. These two women are not white or Lycra clad, nor would you confuse them with the “creative class” that is associated with the biking community. They are learning bike maintenance skills at SPOKES Bike-Walk Connections (1915 E. 22nd Street) in the Seward Minneapolis neighborhood. According to their bulletin, this organization is an innovative community bike and walking center with a goal of getting more people biking and walking for transportation and exercise. On their wall is a picture of bicycle parts written in Amharic, Eritrean, Ojibwa, and Oromo translations.Fatima Omer, a thirty-something Somali woman, is one of the two women working on a donated but still in good condition bike. Continue Reading