Inspired by a love for bikes, city cruising, critical mass, costumes, silliness and things that inflate, Aeolian Ride is a free event that is open to everyone with a love of biking and a sense of humor.
It inspires those who are riding and delights those who watch them go by, while transforming local landscapes into a playground of wind-blown shapes.
The ride is the brainchild of artist Jessica Findley, who was inspired by the monthly ‘critical mass’ bicycle rides through New York. These are spontaneous gatherings of riders who come together to celebrate biking. In Findley’s words, “They transformed a street into a playground, a community space and an adventure.” The idea of adding a costume that inflates with the wind consummates the experience of the Aeolian Ride: “When your shape is changed, you are invited to expand your inner self as well.”
The cyclists are all volunteers and come from all walks of life, a mix of dedicated bikers, art enthusiasts, commuters and others who simply want to participate in this kinetic happening. The fifty-two Aeolian suits used for the rides come in three whimsical styles (bubble, bunny or teardrop—it’s up to the rider) and are handmade in ripstop nylon. They are designed to inflate while riding at low speeds. True enthusiasts can also design their own Aeolian suit for the ride.
For those who happen to be on the path of an Aeolian Ride, watching the bikers pass can be a journey all on its own. Some gasp, others clap, and still others call out their impressions to the cyclists. “Angel!” “Sperm!”
The maiden voyage of the Aeolian Ride took place in New York City in 2004. Since then, it has cruised on to cities across the world. “When I thought of this project,” says Findley, “I had no idea how far it would go and how many places it would visit. It’s strange when a dream becomes a reality.” Anyone interested in making the dream come true in their city can contact the artist for more information.
Jessica was invited to Rio by her friend Liana Brazil and Brazil’s design company SuperUber. The two had met in New York ten years earlier, right when Jessica had come up with the Aeolian idea. SuperUber was responsible for mapping the Rio de Janiero ride. The ride started at Copacabana beach and ended in Gamboa, a port area on the north side of Rio. The goal was to reconnect these two very different parts of the city.