Have you ever dreamed about a long road trip through the most beautiful places in Europe? In 2011, twenty-three year old filmmaker Levente Klara and his friends recorded his 2040 mile-long bike ride through six countries, from Madrid to Budapest. Cycle Me Home is more than just a film, it’s about being an active part of a strong community. An open mind and a biking lifestyle are cohesive driving forces behind the project, which will make its debut on April 6th accompanied by Italian producer Dusty Kid’s album release party.
How did the idea for the road trip and the documentary start?
I’m graduating from the University of Film and Theater Budapest and spent six months last year in Madrid with the Erasmus program. Before I left to the Spanish capital, I had the idea to ride back, so I brought my bike to Madrid. My Spanish classmates and biker friends urged me to set up a crew, including my friends Daniel Vérten (director, the film Cycle Me Home is his diploma work) and Máté Pálla (dop). Scheduled for the final day of the prestigious ECMC (European Cycle Messenger Championship 2012) in Madrid, we departed thirty-eight days before the start of Sziget Festival in Budapest.
People were enthusiastic about being involved?
Lot of friends volunteered in Madrid. At the last moment we also got a sponsored van from Mali Budapest. More than ten people wanted to join the ride, but in the end it was only six. Adam, my Spanish-Danish bike partner, accompanied me the whole way, and also made the route and time plan. He was the serious guy who always woke me up in the morning. This tour was his personal challenge, just like it was mine, because we didn’t have any experience doing long-distance trips by bike. We also had two drivers as well as the filmmaker duo. In each city new people joined us for a short-distance ride, celebrating the project and having fun together.
Did you feel satisfied when you arrived successfully?
I really needed something like this. 2040 miles through six countries on a fixed-gear was a challenge. But actually it could have been anything. I’m satisfied with the fact I could make an idea into reality. Everything else has been developed automatically. We just made a project out of this trip, and then people joined and made the project grow into a community.
What was the biggest change this trip has made in participants’ life?
We got to know lot of people on the road who have good memories about meeting us and became part of a community. My life has changed, too. Aside from successfully facing a big challenge, I’ve become very much involved with the biking subculture. Now I’m a bike messenger! The biggest change (that I know about) happened in the Slovenian graphic designer Neza’s life. She joined us in Ljubljana as a fan who came across the project on Facebook. Then a bit later she moved here and launched the designer label Blind Chic together with my other friend, fashion designer Júlia Vesmás. They’re producing bike bags now.
What do you plan for the future?
We like the idea of this evolving into a kind of movement. We see that it’s now much more like just a simple trip or a fun documentary. This is about community, participation, co-creation and delivering a message: Set your goals and reach them, and realize your dreams. We represent this statement through the cycling lifestyle. We’d like to organize other trips, too, but after the upcoming film premier.
The young Italian techno producer Dusty Kid provided his new album Beyond That Hill as the soundtrack for Cycle Me Home. How did he come into the picture?
Actually I accidentally found his music. I like his tunes and came across the news last year that he was going to release his new album, so I emailed him about our project and that we’d like to use his tracks for the feature film. The management liked the idea and things turned out much better than expected. Dusty Kid is also playing at the album launch party. In addition we’re preparing an exclusive installation of bikes with special visual mapping.
The Cycle Me Home film celebrates its premiere on April 6th at Merlin Theater in Budapest followed by Dusty Kid’s Beyond That Hill album release party.
Published April 05, 2012. Words by Andras G. Varga.