The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind,” said William Saroyan, Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning novelist, playwright and short story writer.
Giuseppe Marinoni would heartily agree.
The Italian-born competitive cyclist and master bike craftsman is the subject of a new work coming to the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Titled “Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame,” the 87-minute, feature length documentary is family friendly (ages 12 and over) and will be screened Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1:30 p.m. (Native Sons, St. Helena) and Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1:15 p.m. (Uptown Theatre, Napa). For ticket information, visit www.napavalleyfilmfest.org.
The film chronicles Marinoni’s remarkable achievements though his passion nearly ended his life after decades hunched over toxic fumes. Now 75, the Montreal-based cycling hero is back in top shape and attempting the world “hour record” for his age category, all on a bike he built almost 40 years ago with his own hands.
Montreal bike collector and the film’s director, Tony Giradin, found his subject when he discovered a Marinoni frame in the basement of a bike shop in Drummondville, Quebec. “The bike spoke to me somehow — the curves, the color and the detail with which it was built,” Giradin said. While he assumed it was built in Italy, he soon discovered that all Marinonis came from the Montreal suburb of Lachenaie.
“It took me about three years to convince him to let me make a film about him,” Giradin continued. “The biggest obstacle was Marinoni himself, who bristled at the prospect of being followed around.”
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Giradin set up shop in Marinoni’s factory and rarely turned off the camera once he wedged himself into Marinoni’s life. The result is an uplifting, quirky character study of a cycling legend.
This is the fifth in as many years that a bicycling-themed film has been included as part of the Napa Valley Film Festival thanks to Rebecca Kotch, former bike racer and marketing/event producer in the world of cycling, and film sponsors Cathy D’Angelo Holmes and Mike Moffett of Coldwell Banker Commercial.
“Bicycling is the second most popular sport in the world,” shared Kotch, who sits on the boards of both the Napa County Bicycle Coalition and Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition. “For Americans, bicycling is now more popular than skiing, golf and tennis combined. Plus, there are so many great reasons to participate whether for fun, fitness or training for an event.”
Grab your bikes and helmets and ride with Marinoni and Giradin for two special events taking place Sunday, Nov. 13, preceding the screening:
— for moderate and advanced cyclists, join Marinoni and guest cyclist/professional racer Kathryn Bertine for a 30-mile ride from downtown Napa to Oakville, followed by a light lunch, local wines and reception, benefitting the Napa Valley Bicycle Coalition; or
— for a more leisurely 18-mile jaunt, enjoy the Vine Trial with Giradin followed by lunch, wine and reception, benefitting the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition.
For information on participating in the rides, visit www.ridenapavalley.com.