Monday 26 January 2009

The Gentle Cyclist

This short edit now includes material shot in Darlington's Pedestrian Heart, one of the few places in the town where our cyclists can pace themselves in a way that better suits their cycling style. Never underestimate the psychology of cycling onroad with fast-moving cars, and feeling the pressure to always cycle faster than you really want to.

Gentle Cycling is indeed the norm for cycle-friendly towns and cities. Anyone interested in cycling as a means of transport should spend some time observing the speed, posture and facial expression of cyclists forced to share busy urban roads, and compare these with the teenagers in this film. It seems that we Brits are being asked to consider adopting sports cycling attitudes, speed and clothing for city cycling purposes. Is it any wonder then, that so many more men than women cycle in the UK?

The lessons for infrastructure development seem pretty clear - good cycle path infrastructure on all busy main urban roads, and traffic calming on all other residential streets. Not exactly rocket science.

What Teenagers Want

This is the first edit of some of the material we shot over the summer of 2008 in Bremen, Germany and Darlington, England. It establishes for the first time the feel and direction of the film project. Beauty and the Bike takes as its starting point the way teenage girls see cycling in both countries. Rather than dismissing British teenagers' attitudes towards cycling as "uncool", we ask "why are attitudes so different"?

For policy makers, parents and cycling professionals in the UK this is an opportunity to learn from successful European cycling cultures - and perhaps to admit that the British approach to developing cycling infrastructure is not simply unattractive, but unsuitable, for many potential cyclists.

As further edits are produced, these will be posted here.