A love story

I Want a Wheel (Voglio Una Ruota) tells the love story of women and bikes, but it is far from a romantic film. Instead the documentary is taking an important look at what cycling has meant and still means for empowering women worldwide.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Illustration: Fabrizio Montesanto
Photo: from Voglio Una Ruota

When you are five, your mom and dad takes you out to the backyard, put you on a bike and learn you the one thing you will never forget: how to bike. You may go on to use the bike as your main mode of transportation, you may go on to never use the bike again or you may go on to use in occasionally. Nevertheless you know how to do it. And that initial feeling of freedom, to be able to go anywhere now that you know how to, never go away.

I Want a Wheel (Voglio Una Ruota) is the story of how bicycles have changed women and of how women have changed the bicycle. Ever since the bicycle was first brought to England in the Victorian time, it has been a synonym to freedom. Before the bike you walked. And walking takes time. With the bike both men and women were able to travel longer distances faster and without depending on anything else but themselves and their two wheels. Women started wearing trousers as a part of their uniform and were finally able to come and go as they pleased. Naturally this newborn freedom for women was not well received by everyone, and female cyclists were often insulted. That however did not stop them, and the female cyclists became pioneers of both political and social change.

“We take it for granted. Our dads taught us how to bike when we wee kids, but we fail to acknowledge the century of women before us who have fought for the right to ride”, screenwriter of the documentary Voglio Una Ruota (I Want a Wheel) Alessia Rotondo, says.

The documentary originates from director Antonella Bianco, who came to Alessia in 2014 asking if she wanted to participate in a story she wanted to tell. The result will be released sometime in 2016 and tells the story of how the bicycle is a tool for independence in many different ways and told by different portraits that are connected. The viewers get to meet Eyerusalem Dino Keli, an Ethiopian champion who fulfilled her dream of a successful career and now races in the Michela Fanini and Edita Pučinskaitė, the only woman to won both Giro D’Italia, Tour the France and World Championship, among others.

“One of our starting points was discovering that in Italy, the women that dedicate their lives to this sport are all considered to be amateurs in the face of law: a baffling legislative loophole that is the cause of incredible discrimination which is far from being discussed enough. This is not a romantic film about cycling, but a documentary about an important issue. The project is not just about history, but also about modern gender equality. These are issues that can be translated into other sports as well, not just cycling. The changes are already happening whether people want it or not”, director Antonella Bianco, says.

The documentary will be released in early 2017.
Check out vogliounarouta.com for more information.