You are quietly riding your bike, minding your own business – not emitting environmental hazards as you get to your destination – through the busy streets of New York City. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bus hits you. What do you do? Instead of losing all faith in the universe, or if you are less dramatic sue the hell out of the MTA and go back home to California where you’re from, Brendt Barbur turned his unfortunate bump on the road (Ha! See what I did there?) into a game-changing idea. He started the Bicycle Film Festival in 2001 with the goal of celebrating the bicycle culture through music, art and film, and hopefully, with the awareness it brings, avoid getting hit by a bus again.

The Bicycle Film Festival, or BFF for short, has kicked off a spark in the urban bike movement in the past decade. From its early beginning as a family event that screened Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure for free, to now touring 29 cities around the world, the festival has become a game changer that made riding a bike, well, cool again, in the process creating a more socially and eco-conscious culture that celebrate an alternative lifestyle.

This year, BFF will make its way to Los Angeles on Sept. 8 fresh from Tokyo and Montreal. The party starts at the El Cid in Silver Lake with Bikes Rock! presented by Nomerica. On Sept. 9, the film fest begins at the Downtown Independent where they will be screening clips and shorts in addition to two feature presentations of Racing Towards Red Hook and Bill Cunningham New York.

In Racing Towards Red Hook, directors Jessica Scott and Hyde Harper document three cyclists of different backgrounds who compete in the 2011 Red Hook Criterium, one of New York City’s biggest underground events. Every year in March, more than 80 hopefuls – most of whom are amateur cyclists – pedal through the streets of Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood with three simple rules: 20 laps, one gear, zero brakes. The 2011 competition, which is featured in the film, challenged its participants with an 11pm start, windy weather and sub-freezing temperatures. The three participants documented in the film include a Brooklyn cafe owner, a long time cyclist who teaches children how to ride track bikes and last year’s champion, a bike messenger and an up-and-comer in the world of cycling.

In Bill Cunningham New York, director Richard Press explores the life of the legendary fashion photographer who has been snapping street style shots around the Big Apple armed only with his camera and his bike since 1978. There will be an after party back at El Cid at 11 p.m.

On Sept. 10, the line-up includes a screening of With My Own Two Wheels. Shot in Zambia, Ghana, India, Guatemala and California, it tells the story of how the bicycle plays a big role in the lives of people around the world. In Zambia, for instance, a health worker uses his bike as a means of helping twice as many patients. In California, a young man uses it as a diversion from the gangs that plague his neighborhood. This is followed by “fun” and “urban” bike shorts and BMX screenings. Highlights include Estonia’s Simpel Dream, which follows the story of an aspiring BMX rider and Canada’s Fabric Bike, which documents an all-girl midnight bike gang called the Deadly Nightshades and their three-month process of creating a bicycle.

The festival’s L.A. visit wraps up on Sept. 11, where there will be a BFF Street Party from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Paragon Parking Lot at 232 S. Main Street. Their next stops will be Vienna, Lisbon and London.

Downtown Independent Theater is located at 251 S. Main St., Downtown. For more information, visit