“In some way I succeeded the day I left my apartment in Montreal, walked out, and locked the door behind me.”
So says Jean-Aimé Bigirimana, or “JaBig.” JaBig was born in Rwanda, but moved with his family to Canada when he was young. He is a DJ in Montreal who one day, for no apparent reason, bought a single-speed road bike. He wasn’t a cyclist. The bike caught his eye, he wanted something else to do, so made an impulse purchase. First, he rode around the block. Then, around Montreal. Then he started riding “so far away I’d have to catch the bus back home.”
Wrestling with the concept of success in a hypercapitalist world, JaBig needed an escape. An escape from his day-to-day. An escape from expectations. So, he decided he’d go on a truly epic bike ride, across all of Canada, in an attempt to set a world record for the longest continuous bike ride in one country; it would also be the longest continuous ride on a single-speed bike.
He left from Montreal and headed east for St. John’s, Newfoundland, before turning around and heading west to British Columbia, then north and heading through the Yukon for the Arctic shore. 17,763 kilometers, 1 year, 2 months, and 21 days on the bike, JaBig reached his goal.
This powerful and stunningly shot film, picks up on JaBig’s final day, pedaling through the starkly beautiful snowbound Northwest Territory as he finishes his ride. From the cool Darth Vader-esque mask to the ice road he rides on, it’s unlike any other bike ride you’ve probably seen.