River Laker has turned selling his old Volvo station wagon into the “CarLess Brit” franchise over the past six months – all because the Roanoke City Libraries development coordinator is going without a car. Laker has chronicled his new life on bike and foot via his Facebook and Tumblr pages,and has been the subject of several media stories, spawning a legion of admirers along the way.
The CarLess Brit even sports a new logo, courtesy of John Reburn (Roanoke Valley Printworks), and as of June 10 will unveil the CarLess Brit Museum at 310 2nd Street SW in the old Angler’s Café space (across from the courthouse complex). Laker, who expects to be in the space for about six months, will cover utilities, but pay no rent.
The native of England isn’t quite sure what will fill up that space, but said there will be a connection to biking and alternative transportation.
“The oddities and wonders of the Roanoke bike culture – and anything else of interest. I’m very open to suggestions,” Laker said.
“The CarLess Brit experiment,” as he calls it, will be the first focus, with content from blogs and photographs from his journey on the side of the road. One “critics corner” will be devoted to those that have been less enthusiastic about Laker’s CarLess journey, those still tethered to their automobiles. Look for visual art and reading materials, as well as painter Susan Jamison’s “crusty, mildewed bike that she’s never ridden,” as Laker describes it.
After that, he is open for suggestions, and Laker has enlisted Erin Wommack, an assistant curator at the Taubman Museum, to help him determine future features.
“Its not going to be like any museum I’ve worked in so far,” said the Hollins graduate. “It will be an experiment for me as well,” Wommack said. She sees the bike culture theme as a jumping off point, and the potential for a more hands-on facility.
They’ll both find out, beginning June 10, with a pre-opening viewing at the Carles Brit museum from 12:00 pm-1:00pm.
“Its kind of an unexpected museum,” said Laker, who studied contemporary art in college. “You don’t know what you’re going to see when you come in.”
Visit carlessbrit.tumblr.com/ for more details.