Sat on top of two wheels, James Lucas, and his bike, are a vehicle for change. Born from a fragment of an idea James had on a cycle trip through Norway, the Bristol Bike Project is the beating heart for mobilising local people on bikes. Through the people James meets and connects to everyday, a life in motion can have a powerful transformation for yourself and a community.
We first met James on a photoshoot for Millican. His humble approach to life, paired with his love of the bicycle and all it encompasses, stuck with us. Over the years James has brought to life what it means to truly ride a bike.
Director | Editor - Sim Warren
Creative Director | Producer - Jeffrey Bowman
Producer | Coordinator - Laura Richards
Executive Producer - Jorrit Jorritsma
Concept Development - Sim Warren & Jeffrey Bowman
Sound Design - James Locke-hart
You know for a lot of the people we work with they’ve come to the UK and it’s not, not because they’ve chosen to but because their situation has meant that they’ve been forced to leave where they live and their family and friends and work and the life they have there and the connections they have. And suddenly they find themselves in a foreign place without those connections and without that community and having a bike will hopefully make it easier for them to forge a new community here.
Pretty much all of the bikes that come in are donations from individuals, you know some of them will have sat in their sheds for years not being used, and for many of the people that bring their bikes in, they wouldn’t necessarily have any idea of how much difference that bike might make to someone’s life.
So Mohammed was referred to us to come in, get a bicycle through the earn a bike program, and he’s at college and he’s training to be a mechanic, and for him having a bicycle will really help enable him to get to college, get to and from college.
You forget the human story there, the direct contact you have with people is, I think, absolutely key to building more resilient communities.
What’s not to love about riding a bike? You know they’re fabulous for both your physical and your mental health. They connect you to a place in a way you don’t get otherwise, even if it’s miles away. I know that if I put in the time and energy, I can do it under my own steam and I’m not relying on anyone else.
There’s like, a doing and a non-doing that sort of exists at a certain point. Your bottom half is in motion and it’s moving and then the top can be quite still and there’s space for thought.
I guess the sort of independence to just be getting around on your own terms.
The earn a bike programme is at the core of The Bristol bike project, and it’s welcoming in people who wouldn’t be able to access a bicycle, and they get to spend an afternoon or a morning fixing up a bike that they then get to take away. And rather than it just being a handout, it’s part of a process that hopefully is much more empowering.
Even if you took away all the bikes, the project is totally powered by people and breaking down a lot of barriers.