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●INTERVIEW● Retratos en Bici

Inteview by Pablo León for his I LOVE BICIS blog in El País newspaper. Foto by Moeh Atitar.


Ioannes likes cinema and video editing more than structures. He came to Madrid from Oñati (Gipuzkoa) in 2003 to study architecture. He is living with his cousin in Leganés, to save expenses, and travels every day to the capital. “I made a calculation on how much I expended per month in transportation. My travel expenses were 70€. The one-month train travel pass cost me 30€. The other 40€ were the metro pass to conmute from Prinicipe Pío to the university. I decided to save those 40€ and buy a bike by installments instead ”, he tells from the patio of the university mounted on his BMX. Thus, in July 2011 he bought his small BMX. If he would do that calculation now,  he would choose to switch to the wheels even faster.

Pedaling on a BMX is not easy. The short distance between the saddle and the pedals makes it necessary to stand up most of the time. “These bikes were mythical when I was a kid. In my town we called them "Motoretas" and they seemed super cool to us; I haven't ridden in one since I was 11, ” he exclaims, staring blankly into his school cafeteria. His technique is based on pedaling and sliding; on the slopes he makes legs, climbs to the top and then lets himself go. “It is a different bike. I don't know if I would recommend it but right now I wouldn't change it ”, he admits.

Seven installments of his travel pass made Ioannes the owner of his BMX. “I use it for short distances. At first, I didn't feel like going between cars and I was on the sidewalk, ” he says. But after a while, Madrid's traffic did not seem as chaotic as that of Mexico D.F. where he spent six months studying. The volume of cars in the capital of the North American country is not comparable to that of Madrid. "There, despite the distances and the saturation of cars, many people dare to ride a bicycle," he recalls as he looks back at infinity.

Retratos en Bici 'Portraits in bikes'  is a section of I LOVE BICIS that wants to reflect the diversity, in images, of cyclists in Madrid. Moeh Atitar, a fellow El País journalist and photographer, carries the camera. The idea for the section came after the interview with Dmitri Gudkov, a photographer based in New York, who, in February 2010, began a series of portraits of citizens of the North American city with his bike. He gives each image the hashtag #BikeNYC. This is, with our style, #BikeMAD.