In 2019, Enoch Cincotta embarked on a bike trip that ultimately became the beginning of the “Reanimator” project: they biked from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia Bike Exhibition with a custom bike trailer made out of a shopping cart. At the expo, in addition to showing off the bike, they used their industrial sewing machine to create art out of the trash the event generated.
“I had a lot of success with that event—and then I was like, ‘I want to do more,’” Cincotta said. “Why not have a group of people, and we all bring sewing machines, and we do sewing repair events? … We could start a conversation about using what we have, how all these bikes that already exist are great, and we don’t need to keep making new bikes.”
That idea became the Salt Lake City-based Reanimator project, which encourages “sewing and bicycles as powerful tools for self-sufficiency.” Volunteers involved help put on clothing and outdoor gear repair workshops, where people can bring items that need repairs and learn a bit about how to sew, too. Now, the project is going on the road: Cincotta and the team will bike from Salt Lake City to Albuquerque, NM, hosting community sewing events along the way. The bike tour is partnered with the nonprofit we.grow.eco. and will stop in Moab to host a repair event from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 22 at Moab Arts.
“It’s turned into something really special so far,” Cincotta said. Another aspect of the bike tour is the sewing repair technician residency: Reanimator and we.grow.eco. fundraised to host two technicians for the entirety of the tour, who will learn the ins and outs of sewing repairs on outdoor technical gear, clothing modifications, and product design. The residency is paid, Cincotta said—they wanted to make it accessible.
At the Moab event, there will be free sewing repairs available to the public: anyone can bring items they want modified or repaired, and learn about the process as Reanimator volunteers sew.
“What I’m enjoying more than the process of sewing is sharing that skill with people,” Cincotta said—they learned how to sew because they were a homeschooled and tall child, and had the time and necessity to modify their clothes. “A big part of the bike tour is empowering people to believe in themselves: you have the ability to manipulate your reality, and even if you have limited resources, there are still ways you can do that. Even if you don’t end up sewing and you’re just hanging out with us, hopefully you’re able to witness this group of people who are trusting in this process of trying to leave things better than how we found them.”
Cincotta believes strongly in not buying or making new things: there are already enough backpacks in the world, they said, so why buy a new one when you could repair one that already exists? Zippers and buckles can be found from other packs; same with patch materials.
The entire tour—from Salt Lake to Albuquerque—will take until June, with many stops along the way. The team will transport all their gear with bike trailers and power their sewing machines with solar power.
“If folks are excited and want to come check us out, we’d love to chat with them,” Cincotta said.
More information about the tour can be found at www.reanimator.work/reanimator-bike-tour-2023; you can also follow along on Instagram @reanimateordie.