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The film "Georgena Terry" by Amanda Zackem will be shown at the 11th annual LUNAFEST in Boulder. Courtesy photo
The film “Georgena Terry” by Amanda Zackem will be shown at the 11th annual LUNAFEST in Boulder. Courtesy photo
If you go


When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street

More info:

I n six short minutes, filmmaker Amanda Zackem succinctly captures the most important moments of bike maker Georgena Terry’s life.

The 32-year-old filmmaker details Terry’s discomfort with riding bikes created for male bodies, and how Terry refused to believe a male bike dealer who said women would never pay for custom bicycles. Zackem also empathetically portrays Terry’s lingering limp, a result of having polio as a young child, which has never stopped her from cycling.

Zackem’s film “Georgena Terry” is one of nine films being shown around the country at the 11th annual LUNAFEST, a festival created by Clif Bar, the makers of LUNA bars. The film festival will stop at the Boulder Theater on Thursday.

The festival seeks to showcase short films created “by, for and about” women, according to spokeswoman Colleen Cooke.

Terry, who lives in Rochester, New York, founded Terry Bicycles in 1985 when she built her first bicycle catering to female bodies.

“This woman just had this vision and she just went for it,” said Cooke. “That’s what stood out for me. She was tired of riding men’s bicycles and she took the next step and said ‘There’s got to be a way to design a bike for women.’ She just went for it.”

Terry began building bikes in her basement, opting to design a smaller overall frame. Her bike’s front wheel was smaller than its back wheel. Her friends and neighbors began asking for their own specialty bikes, complaining of neck and back pain on their bikes made for men.

She began researching and discovered that women’s bodies are in fact different enough from men’s to warrant a unique design. Terry describes in the film the differences between male and female muscles and their centers of gravity. She deduced that she could easily tweak a bicycle’s design to account for these differences.

“It continues the message of what a great machine the bicycle is,” Terry said in a phone interview from New York. “It can work in a lot of different circumstances. If you’re young, you’re old, if you have weakness in one leg and not the other.”

Terry has her own experiences with bicycles as equalizers. She suffered from polio as a 2-year-old, she says in the film, which causes her to limp. When she rides her bicycle, though, there’s no trace of the effects of the illness.

Filmmaker Zackem, who got her film degree from Syracuse University, said she and Terry instantly connected as friends. When Zackem wanted to film people making bikes in a factory, Terry picked up the phone and got Richard Schwinn on the line. Zackem flew to Milwaukee to film at Schwinn’s Waterford Precision Cycles factory.

“This is a woman who is extremely intelligent, she is extremely hard working and she has had to overcome some obstacles in her life that people don’t even know about,” Zackem said. “Those are things that when I met her, I immediately resonated with.”

–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.

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