Chris Bruntlett Talks About His Family Ditching Their Car For Bicycles [#BikeLife]

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Chris Bruntlett and his wife Melissa might be two of the coolest parents you’ll ever meet. They decided to ditch their car in Vancouver, to show their kids how to live healthy and how to have fun while doing it.

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Photo Credit: Christoph Prevost

 

2db061ab5aa085da3e95e46b85251b54Photo Credit: David Phu

I first met Chris via instagram. I’ve been a big fan of IG for a while now. One day, I somehow stumbled onto chris’s page @cbruntlett. It was one of those times where you start feeling like you know someone based on their photos. Anyways, I saw that Chris was making a trip down to LA to promote and talk about a short film that he helped create. I reached out and we met up in Venice.

 

I really appreciated his views on bicycle culture and how he’s pushing the bar not just in Vancouver, but for bikers all across the globe. Chris, his wife @mbruntlett, and their two kids all live a modern-lifestyle based around their bicycles, after ditching their family car.

chrisbruntlettfamily

I wanted to give you all his take on bicycling with his family and show you his short films that he created about bicycle culture…

For more Interviews like this Check out »> 7 Days Theory Interviews

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Photo Credit: David Phu

 

Please describe what you do.

During the day, I work as a Residential Designer, designing single family homes, duplexes and laneway houses in the City of Vancouver. But outside of the office, I spent a great deal of my evenings and weekends (through writing, photography, speaking, and filmmaking) encouraging people to get on a bicycle.

Check out The Vancouver Chic Blog that Chris writes for HERE

 

How long have you known you wanted to do what you are currently working on?

It really started with our family of four selling our car, and starting to travel the city via bike and public transit. We found it changed our collective health, happiness, and finances, and we wondered why others didn’t try it. Through social media, I started sharing our story with words and photos, and more and more people seemed to tune in to what I was saying…

 

Why are you passionate about what you do?

Riding a bicycle is probably the most civilized, efficient, and pleasurable mode of transportation ever invented. It allows me to travel moderate distances with little effort, while keeping me fit and costing me very little. I believe it has the power to solve a great number of the world’s problems, and transform the cities we live in, if we let it.

 

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Photo Credit: ”The Peak SFU”

How did you overcome your own doubts and the doubts of other people?

It was just a matter of believing in your message, no matter how small your audience is. You may be an anomaly, but if you are doing things for the right reasons, people will listen to what you have to say. As my audience has grown, so has my confidence in what I’m doing…

 

What were some bumps you hit to get where you’re at now?

The Vancouver Cycle Chic message (when you’re on a bike, dress for the destination, not the journey) still gets dismissed as “pretentious” from the existing cycling community, and I get called “smug” and a “hipster”. But we are simply trying to normalize the act of getting on a bike in your street clothes, as it is in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. For some reason, that seems to threaten existing North American cyclists, and they resort to name calling…

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Photo Credit: David Phu

 

What is a way you got your name out there?

Social media really has changed the way I operate. I use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to connect with like-minded people, share my work (writing, photographs, speaking, films, etc.), and find potential partners for all kinds of exciting collaborations and projects (like Enrico). It has helped me shape my personal “brand”, create a “following”, and made me feel like no matter what I do, I will always have an audience there interested in it.

 

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Photo Credit: David Phu

Is there anything that almost stopped you from doing this?

Riding a bike in your street clothes in Vancouver is still (sadly) an act of defiance. The bike culture here is still very much sports and recreation-orientated, which makes what I do somewhat isolating and incredibly frustrating. Couple that with a mandatory helmet law that has police patrolling the bikeways on motorcycles and issuing tickets to bareheaded cyclists (such as myself, on three different occasions), and you can understand what I sometimes feel like packing up and moving elsewhere…

 

Is there anyone in your profession that you admire and/or model yourself after?

Mikael Colville-Andersen is the founder of the original Copenhagen Cycle Chic, and the Copenhagenize Design Company. He has single-handedly built a social media empire around himself, under the simple message that cities of the 21st century need to stop catering to cars, and start catering to bicyclists. I constantly reference his writing and speaking in my own work.

 

How do you continue to perfect your craft?

One simple concept: always trying to outdo whatever you did last. Whether it’s writing, photography, or film, the next thing I work on should not necessarily be bigger, but definitely be better than the last.

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Photo Credit: David Phu

 

 

How do you envision the future of your journey?

Ideally, I’d like to reach a point where I’m able to charge for my writing, photography, speaking and filmmaking. I have been unable to monetize any of it at this point, but I’m working on it. For now, the day job will have to do…

 

What’s some advice you can share for anyone who wants to pursue what you are doing?

Speak from the heart. If you’re confident and clear about what you have to say, people will listen.

 

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Photo Credit: David Phu

 

I see you have a large online presence, what platforms do you mostly use?

Everything I have done up to this point has been driven by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

 

Where can people go to find out more about what your working on next?

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @cbruntlett

 

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Photo Credit: David Phu

 

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Check out The four mini-films by Cycle Chic Films

 

 

 

 

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