For Those Who Suffer intimately wraps emotion around why we do what we do in the outdoors

FIREFLIES. FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER. from Andre Stringer on Vimeo.

We’ve all been there, staring at the ceiling in the blue light of dawn, questioning some arbitrary fitness or adventure goal we set for ourselves. So tired. So ready for it to end.

Then some spark occurs, stoked by the months of days that preceded this one. We wake, we prepare, and go after it one more time.

“Fireflies: For Those Who Suffer” is a promotional short film for a cancer research support group of cyclists who ride for City of Hope. It captures so well the point at which personal pain crosses into adventure endeavors, and how the fire at the confluence forces us forward. It’s a few minutes long, but really engaging. So many of us have been, and are, the subject of this film. Enjoy.

Cyclists, what’s with the outfits?

I love bikes. I was a bmx-punk in my pre-teens, always zipping around town, inspired by the pages of BMX Action. I was always hitting the mail truck’s loading ramp and the corners of sidwalk blocks pushed up by the roots of chesnut trees. We tore ass. I can still recite the first five minutes of “RAD.” As an adult, sort of, I evolved into mountain biking.

A few months into knee rehab last year I picked up a single speed for trips to the gym and bank and Fresh-n-Easy to help with the non-impact component of rebuilding all those disintegrated ligaments. I know all about sharing the road. I bought my wife a nice mid-grade Raleigh road bike for her birthday and she’s a fan of rides into the desert and Red Rock Canyon NCA. So yeah, I’m familiar with the joys of bicycling and I’ll support every rule and law that encourages our increased use of two wheels.

I just don’t get the outfits.

If you’re in a race and have a local bike shop sponsor, awesome. Represent. Although, what if you’re just riding for exercise after work? Are you really part of the U.S. Mail/Specialized/Trek/Shimano teams? I also don’t get it when there are four or five of you sporting coordinated ride garb. This next question is legititmate but yeah, it’s kind of a jab too: Do you call each other to discuss outfits prior to the ride? I have to assume you do.

If I’m just ignorant about the inner workings of the road cyclist, please let me know. If I’m not, at least give me an explanation for the shorts.

A Manifesto: It’s all about the bike

I was a BMX punk. Ate it. Slept it. I helped the local grocery store guy open his box of BMX Plus and Action magazines. And this was long before the X-Games made jumping curbs and endos cool. If there is one thing I can thank ESPN for besides Erin Andrews, it’s recognizing that the kids who fly off shaky block-and-plywood ramps and over infield dirt piles behind their baseball park’s backstop are actually pretty damn good athletes.

After college, in Florida of all places, my BMX-jones rekindled itself into a love for single track. Believe it or not, the soft soiled, root-coiled woods of central Florida hold a helluva lot of reasons to own a mountain bike. More than a decade later and now living in the Southwest, where mountain biking is what Hawaii is to surfing, my love for fat-tire antics remains red hot, although temporarily restrained by a bum knee.

Yet, because of my injury, I’ve entered into yet another stage of my love for pedal sports. To help in recovery I bought a Schwinn Cutter, a simple single-speed commuter. I upgraded it with a pair of fluorescent green Redline Deep Vs, which are boss against the frame’s flat black. I use it to head to the gym, deposit checks, grab lunch and even some groceries. (What few may realize is that Las Vegas is very bike friendly; Nevada just made it illegal for drivers to not give ample space to cyclists sharing the road.)

So now I’m the guy you see in this video. Helmet. Old weathered bag flung around my shoulder. Zipping in and out of traffic. The video helps illustrate “A Manifesto,” which was written by folks with Holstee, a lifestyle goods company in New York. It’s bounced around the net a few times already. I came across the video on Fast Company’s new CoExist blog.

Yeah, the Manifesto gets a bit preachy at times, sounding a bit like one of those tired e-mails you receive from your one friend who isn’t online often enough to know that when you’re waiting for the car on the mountain road to do something cool, a horrifying demon is going to leap into full-frame and scream at them. “Hey, watch this … look carefully. 😉 ” But just before you think the video is going to go all “Occupy,” you realize that it’s actually calling for a movement in the other direction: Make change, but make change yourself. Create things and find a way to make them make society better. Who can’t get behind that?

Heavy stuff made all the more easy to grasp because of the presence of bikes. Simple, human-powered bikes.