Great news, funding for the following project has been approved, which means Electric Pedals are off the Malawi early next year! Woo Hoo!
A meeting with Elspeth Waldie founder of Purple Field Productions the other week has sent us off on yet another adventure….
Purple Field Productions is a charity that makes films and videos for educational and humanitarian purposes. Their mission is to not only increase awareness and understanding, but also to give people a voice.
A few months ago, Elspeth and team just happened to be out in Kisoro, Uganda making a film about protection of the environment and improving livelihoods in the face of climate change, and bumped into our old friend Denis Agaba from the Wild Life Clubs of Uganda. We met Denis in 2009 having handed over our first prototype of the Field Cinema to support the conservation work he and GAFI were doing in the surrounding schools. Denis gave Elspeth a demonstration of his field cinema and talked about the good work it was doing (see Purple Production’s director having a pedal above). Elspeth and her team were excited at the prospect of using this system in some of the regions they support in Africa. They currently take their films about HIV/AIDS, disability awareness, cerebral palsy, agriculture/food security and the environment to Malawi, Ghana and Rwanda and beyond.
For each project Purple Field Productions works in partnership with a collaborator – usually a small charity or NGO who work in the field and see the need for a film, but cannot afford to make one themselves. At the moment many of the educational films end up being shown on a TV powered by a petrol generator. The equipment is heavy, and fuel for the generator is not always available. One of Elspeth’s potential partner groups in Malawi sent this statement and pictures:
“This last year we have found it has been an extremely difficult year with regards to running mobile film shows, there has been (and there still is) a fuel crisis in Malawi, obviously we cannot run film shows without fuel as we use a generator to power it. Our staff have been walking to reach projects when we do not have fuel.”
We met Elspeth and talked through some ways we could solve these issues. One of the things that was clear was that our Electric Pedals bicycle generator and bicycle combination was not the solutions. They felt that it was just too cumbersome and heavy. So we needed to devise a energy generating unit that was fit for purpose; light, efficient, rugged and ultra portable.
This is what my dad and I have come up with so far (to be fair, he’s done most of the work!).
It’s early days yet, we’re meeting with Purple Field Productions again in a few weeks to continue discussions and iterations of this new design. We’ve tested the kit and it works brilliantly and at a mere 7kg, you can put it on you back and climb a mountain with it. Fingers crossed we’ll start sending these out to Africa next year to continue the great work the field cinema started.
Aside from anything, it’s been ace working with my dad on this project, who I have to say has been a legend…thanks Dad.
I heard of this great event and I thought I should share…
Sunday 11th September 2011
Ride the track on your own bike between
Free bike-powered cinema
Screening: Breaking Away & The Best Seat In The World
Herne Hill Velodrome
Burbage Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9HE, UK
This weekend sees “Save the Velodrome” host an evening of free green entertainment, first on the bill is “have-a-go” cycling on the newly laid track at Herne Hill Velodrome followed by a bicycle powered outdoor cinema night as part of the Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival. The screening will be showing the cycling classic “Breaking Away” it will be accompanied by the premiere of “The Best Seat In The World,” a new documentary about Herne Hill’s Velodrome and it’s long history and struggle to stay open, it’s peppered with interviews from cyclists young and old, past and present.
It promises to be a great night for all the family, volunteers will take it in turns to have a go at powering the cinema on the special bikes provided.
For more information on the event please click here to be taken to the Free Film Festival Website.
Herne Hill Track League Grand Finale Image ©Copyright Martin Dixon
Those of our readers in the UK who compete at any level or follow professional cycling will be aware of the ongoing battle to keep the wonderful Herne Hill Velodrome open, for our readers from further afield who are less familiar with Herne Hill you may be aware of similar stories of cycling venues near to you. Herne Hill is in London, it’s been at the heart of British cycling since 1891 and manage to survive the damage it sustained during blitz of the Second World War. The velodrome was a venue in the 1948 Olympic Games, it has an amazing history and many passionate people who use the track and fight to give it an amazing future. When Herne Hill was repaired after the war it was given permanent grandstands and buildings, these are now unfortunately closed to the public because of the upkeep costs and health & safety, but if the velodrome can be given a more secure financial future and a longer lease can be obtained, then one day the grandstands will hopefully be restored to their former glory.
Herne Hill Supporters Club Image ©Copyright Pete @Fixedgear
The velodrome still continues to attract cyclists and supporters to it’s grounds, including the ever popular Good Friday Meeting that attracts cyclists of all levels from all over the world to compete.
Herne Hill is one of the oldest velodromes in the world and it has seen racing from many cycling greats including Jaques Anquetil, Fuasto Coppi and Tom Simpson. Bradley Wigginsfirst raced at Herne Hill when he was just 12.
For more information on the Save The Velodrome Campaign and events please click here.
This event is presented by Free Film Festivals in association with Herne Hill Velodrome, Electric Pedals, Hackney Bicycle Film Society and Save the Velodrome. Free energy drinks and snacks for cyclists kindly provided by Vaidas Bicycles. Future Projections provide the inflatable screen for the event.