Searching for freedom and connection in a gas-powered, digital and divided world.
Motherload is a crowdsourced documentary about a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of the digital age, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote.
Filmmaker Liz Canning cycled everywhere until she had twins in 2008. Hauling babies via car was not only unsustainable but took the freedom and adventure out of life, and Liz felt trapped. She Googled “family bike” and uncovered a global movement of people replacing cars with cargo bikes: long-frame bicycles designed for carrying passengers and heavy loads. Liz set out to learn more, and Motherload was born.
In the joy and dedication of the cargo bike community Liz saw that the choice to live by bike, instead of by car, has powerful positive repercussions. These people make sustainability looking really fun! Motherload asks why this is so and what it can teach us about mainstream culture.
Through her research Liz learns how the bicycle transformed society faster and more effectively than any other invention, facilitating women’s fight for the vote and giving the poor mobility for the first time in history. In 1896 Maria Ward wrote in Bicycling for Ladies:
“Riding the wheel, our own powers are revealed to us, a new sense is seemingly created… You have conquered a new world, and exultingly, you take possession of it.”
This all makes sense when Liz finds that humans are genetically hardwired to crave outdoor sensory experiences like riding a bicycle.
We feel this most urgently today, as our hunter-gatherer instincts are drowned out by the clamor of the digital age, and Americans spend 95% of our time indoors.