REANIMATOR: The Self-Sufficiency Bicycle Tour
Bike / BMX
On April 10, 2023, nine individuals began their sewing machine–laden ride from Salt Lake City to Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of the first REANIMATOR bicycle tour. The group aims to build community, create a model of self-sufficiency through cycling and sewing repairs and enjoy the almost 1000-mile journey of beautiful land and companionship.
The bike tour, an idea that initially began a few years ago, became a reality with the support and funding from Chauncey Foster and Foster’s Santa Fe–based nonprofit, we.grow.eco, an action-oriented coalition that focuses on environmental conservation and education. Enoch Cincotta, the facilitator and mind behind the REANIMATOR bike tour, first collaborated with Foster when Cincotta created backpacks out of trash that Foster would use to pick up and carry more trash as he organized community waste cleanup events across the country.
“Before Chauncey stepped in to help with funding this trip, I was imagining doing it by myself,” says Cincotta. “It’s just one person and one sewing machine and a bike.” With encouragement and direction from Foster to grow the tour, Cincotta realized the ride should become a larger, crew-focused event—the group of nine will now travel with five sewing machines, a number of solar-powered generators and upcycled gear of their own creation. Cincotta says, “Why not turn this into a residency program where we talk about how to get involved in sewing repairs? Learning how to use a sewing machine, how to bike tour and how to coordinate community events … It’s bringing people together and learning how to share an idea.”
“Biking and sewing are the visual vectors for this idea that you as a person are capable of change.”
With an “everything is a material” mentality, the tour group plans to pause along their route and offer multiple, community-centered events. As the group approaches each stop, they mention the resources they offer will depend on the needs of the community. Such resources may include sewing/textile repairs in a “pay what you can” format, educational workshops discussing the significance of sewing and tailoring clothing to fit various body types and the empowerment that comes from “using garbage as a primary resource for sewing projects.” Beyond repurposing trash and scraps into backpacks, clothing and other gear, REANIMATOR also creates junk journals, which transform trash into notebooks. “Biking and sewing are the visual vectors for this idea that you as a person are capable of change,” says Cincotta.
“A big part of this project is developing alternative structures that allow us to incorporate reuse strategies,” says tour participant Lena Jaffe, who has experience repurposing often discarded building materials. “I love all of the metaphors of sewing and building—it’s the quintessential act of creation.” As part of the tour, two individuals will be provided a sewing repair technician residency and stipend to cover cycling costs that, through the course of their ride, grants them the necessary skills to build and maintain sewing clinics in their own communities. Jaffe and Cassandra DePetrillo are the two members joining the tour as part of the residency. “I’m inspired by [the tour], and working together will give me energy to bring back to my community,” says DePetrillo, who has a background in sewing repairs and is an active member of her bike community in Vancouver. “It feels like a pebble in a lake that will continue to ripple out.”
“Learning how to use a sewing machine, how to bike tour and how to coordinate community events … It’s bringing people together.”
Preston Searl, Ciera Shelling and Ben Teames, three participants from Logan with a background in outdoor product design, are also meeting up with the tour, and Davi Cheshire is joining the ride having traveled all the way from Durham, North Carolina. “Investing in something that is seen as disposable and being able to transform it is a big reason I was drawn to this trip,” says Cheshire. “I think a lot about the way we treat people and the culture of disposability. I’ve done a lot of thinking about transformative justice and treating people like they’re capable of change. Applying that minutely to this makes me hopeful we can apply that to each other.” Stay up to date with REANIMATOR and the bike tour through their website, reanimator.work, and Instagram, @reanimateordie.
Read more about the ways biking fits into daily life:
Mcycle: Spinning You into Control
All Seasons Commuter Diary
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