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Power to the Pedals

Bob Nesson; Nesson, Bob; Kanopy (Firm)
Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
This documentary portrays the transformative vision and extraordinary efforts of Wenzday Jane, a young woman whose mechanical skills and innovative actions are reshaping her community. Wenzday Jane goes to the heart of the sustainability issue by offering practical economic solutions, and suggests that things don't have to be the way they are. As a young child growing up in public housing, Wenzday's bicycle meant personal responsibility and self-direction. She watched her family struggle with dependence, disempowerment, and inertia. Determined to pull herself out from those inherited conditions, she gradually built up her skill set. Learning construction techniques and welding, she realized that she literally had the power to reshape her world. Now, with a passion for mechanics and organization, she is creating the means and cultural conditions to replace trucks with human-powered, souped-up bicycles for many local deliveries. Shot in an intimate, lyrical style, the film follows Wenzday as she builds an organization of riders and cargo bicycles that work in agriculture and food delivery, composting, recycling and waste-hauling — and community building. We follow a rider making the rounds of municipal recycling bins, emptying bottles and cans into the bike's cavernous tank. Weaving his 300-pound load through traffic, he heads for the city's waste sorting facility where he dumps into a mountain of trash "just like any other gigantic truck." Wenzday reflects on winning a substantial contract for municipal recycling pickup. "I've always been interested in challenges — in problem-solving. There's an opportunity to learn something new by solving a problem." Power-lifting a huge axle onto a stand, Wenzday disassembles a complex wheel assembly. "There's no alternative: you can't just take these to the nearest garage, like a car, to get them repaired." Her hands are covered with grease as she removes a planetary gear. "Bikes represent self-reliance and autonomy," she says. "Working on bikes gives me a platform for really thinking about how things work." By building a fleet of cargo bikes and creating a business around them, Wenzday is lowering the carbon footprint of our transportation system, one bike at a time.
Director
Bob Nesson
Release Date
2014
Language
English
Notes
Title from title frames.
Published
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2015.
Recording Info
Originally produced by Documentary Educational Resources in 2014.
Publisher no.
1136383 Kanopy
Description
1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 32 minutes) : digital, .flv file, sound
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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