Our Story: Local Cycling Network's film "Working Class Cyclocross: Do It The Hard Way"

Bike racing is a sport full of creatives and romantics.  We are storytellers, photographers, filmmakers, poets, painters, comics, dramatists, directors, players, and more.  Most of all, we are collaborators, as evidenced by the ways in which bike racing (in its various formats) fundamentally works. 

Drew Coleman of Local Cycling Network is a longtime Sellwood resident and friend of the shop and Team S&M.  Drew is a rider, a racer, and a teacher of English as well as film making.  

At the beginning of this special '17-'18 CX season, Drew created a short film on the team, introducing our cast of characters and our style to the world.  He expressed his desire to create a longer film over the course of our season that would showcase who we are.  Team S&M is synonymous with Erik Tonkin, and inextricably married to Sellwood Cycle Repair.  Our motto of "Do it the hard way" and our tagline "Working Class Cyclocross" are from this cross-section of the individual, the shop, and the team together.  The style Drew employed for this cumulative video plays beautifully with the cooperative spirit of bike racing, utilizing still photography of multiple formats and race videography from ten other creative individuals who are all also riders.  Please join me in viewing Drew's latest piece--we feel so lucky to be its subject.

In Drew's own words:

"When I first got into cycling years and years ago, Sellwood Cycle Repair (SCR) was the first shop I really ever went to for anything. It has a long history in our neighborhood. Throughout my evolution as a cyclist - from casual rider to competitive racer - SCR and its mechanics have been a constant. I owe them all a debt of gratitude. The series of videos I am producing is, in a way, a chance for me to give them something in return. This is the second video in conjunction with the shop and, specifically, Team S&M CX and its trio of professional racers. I decided to expand who to include within the piece because this is really about a philosophy of the place and the cyclists who ride for SCR. The video is voiced by shop owner and team director, Erik Tonkin and in this he speaks to the team and shop ethos which is expressed in the title of this video. As Erik explains, the term “Working Class Cyclocross” was coined by racer and chief mechanic Brenna Wrye-Simpson and is an allusion to a quote about Erik from his days as a professional racer and the early days of the shop. The second part of the title, “Do It The Hard Way” has long been a phrase the shop has had on team kits. I walked away from the conversations with Erik fully understanding why his shop does so well and why all of his riders succeed as racers. As I type this, Team S&M CX racer Beth Ann and Erik are in Tulsa while teammate Clara Honsinger is across the pond somewhere in Europe racing for Team USA against the top racers in the world.

The production and the video is framed and held-together by shots of a morning commute with Clara and Brenna. We met in North Portland for coffee early one morning and I followed them on a mountain bike and filmed them as the commuted in to work. Our route took us up some steep climbs (which I was told Clara does intervals on) and through Portland’s Forest Park and we made our way South, back across the East Side and on in to Sellwood. I think the two of them found every spec of dirt that you can on the route. In this way the commute doubled as a training ride (although my weak legs and one-handed mountain biking slowed them down considerably.) It was fun, though, to ride around Portland with two of the fastest women around and talk cycling and life. I hope to do it again someday.

I have been increasingly interested in using stills and I was graciously provided access to some stunning images shot locally and nationally on both digital and film. They really inspired me to craft my own shots and shaped the look in post."

Special thanks to Patrick Croasdaile and River City Bicycles for their race cinematography contributions, and to Michael Jasinski, Andrew Shimizu, Adam Koble, Ben Guernsey, Eloy Anzola, Mike Albright, and Kona Bicycles for their still photography.

Brenna Wrye-SimpsonComment