Thursday 9 December 2010

1 Year On - So Much Inspiration Out There!

A year ago this week, our film and book were launched into the world, with public screenings in Bremen and Darlington. Since then, we have been sending copies out to cycling advocates, campaigns, officers and research organisations all around the world. We have produced an NTSC version, a new 26 minute edit, and are now putting the finishing touches on Spanish and Portuguese subtitles for a multi-lingual DVD.

All of this new work has been inspired by the remarkable range of people out there who are trying to make cycling more attractive as an everyday means of transport. Many of them got in touch with us to order a DVD or book. Many of them have used Beauty and the Bike to raise debate about the state of cycling in their town or region.

So starting today, we’d like to share with you some of the work, more often than not voluntary, that is going on around the world. The one common factor is that they have all used Beauty and the Bike in some way or another.

Within a few weeks of our premieres last year, we were contacted by Emily Crompton, a post-graduate in Manchester, England. She described her group there in the following terms:

“I am .. from the group called The Spokes (part of i bike mcr) - the UKs only all-women-bicycle-dance-troupe!”

With an introduction like that, it was impossible not to want to follow up the contact. Emily and her colleagues were organising a bike festival, and wanted to screen the film as part of that. So a couple of the girls from the film accompanied us down to Manchester on 31st March for a wild evening at the Lass o’ Gowrie pub.

The screening was dogged by a temperamental projector, but we were all too wowed by the amazing determination of this group of women to cycle on the roads of Manchester, whatever the conditions.

What was perhaps most remarkable was the obvious cultural gap between these women and Kate and Lauren, who had travelled down from Darlington for the evening. The former, with their light racing bikes and waterproof gear (as usual it was wet in Manchester), the latter changing into their high heels and lippie just before arriving on the train. It was an amusing encounter, ending with the promise from Manchester that, if they ever organised a Critical Mass Ride in Darlington, the Spokes women would be up there to help.

So as a thank you to Emily and the others in Manchester, sit back and enjoy one of their performances, from a Critical Mass event in Manchester.

Monday 23 August 2010

Release of North American DVD

photo:Sabine Bungert

A new version of Beauty and the Bike has now been released in the North American (NTSC) DVD standard. The release includes a new 27 minute version of the film, giving cycling advocates the choice of three screening versions (8minute, 27minute and 57minute) for different circumstances.

The 27 minute version was premiered at the ninth Car-Free Cities Conference in York this summer to wide acclaim. Its production follows a number of requests from activists wanting to show the full film, but needing more time for discussion

The NTSC DVD standard is widely used in the USA and Canada, as the default domestic DVD player standard. Most of the rest of the world uses the UK PAL standard, although all personal computers, and an increasing range of DVD players, can handle both formats

A special thanks must go to the wonderful Tad & Lisa Salyards, the Minneapolis cycling advocates, for their help and support during the production of the NTSC DVD. The NTSC version of Beauty and the Bike is available here.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Darlovelo Takes Off

Darlington’s very own bike hire scheme was formally launched on 25 August at the Darlington Festival of Cycling in South Park. Compared to London’s estimated £25m annual budget, Darlovelo’s £40k is modest indeed. The scheme is benefitting from a £35k grant from Bike Hub, the bicycle industry’s “New Ideas” fund. There will also be “in kind” contributions from Darlington Borough Council, though no cash.

Darlovelo is inheriting the bikes that featured in the Beauty and the Bike project, and will be based at Darlington Media Group’s workshop, behind Darlington Arts Centre. Three of the young women who starred in our film have now bought their bikes, but another eight bikes are still being hired out by Darlington Media Group. Six further bikes are being donated to the scheme by Darlington Borough Council. With 18 new bikes purchased, the Darlovelo scheme now has 32 bikes available for hire.

If the scheme goes well, there are plans to expand over the next two years, with two further bases and up to 100 bikes.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Screening Dates

Cycling groups around the world are organising public screenings of Beauty and the Bike. Here is a list of dates and venues coming up in the near future :

Monday May 31st (6:15pm)

Potter Auditorium, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax Cycling Coalition

Tuesday June 15th (evening)

LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney Street, Cambridge, MASS. USA

Boston Liveable Streets

Saturday June 19th (afternoon)

Chesterfield Library, Chesterfield, UK

Chesterfield Bicycle Film Festival

Tuesday June 22nd

Little Theatre, Bath, UK

Bath Cycling Campaign

Friday June 25th (1 to 2 pm)

CM 107, Science Site, Durham University, Cit of Durham, UK

Durham Bicycle Users' Group

Tuesday 29 June ( 8:30pm)

City Screen Picturehouse, York, UK

World Car Free Network

Thursday 1st July (7:30pm)

Landratsamt, Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany.

ADFC Neumarkt

Many screenings are organised informally by cycling advocates. Just let us know well in advance if you plan to screen the film, and we'll post details here.

Wednesday 31 March 2010

Beauty and the Bike-What Happened Next?

The excitement of the film premiere is over. Back we go to "normal" life in Darlington. We've managed to keep the beautiful dutch bikes - in fact we're going to buy 40 more this year and expand the bike hire scheme. But how many girls will keep on cycling? We know that cycling is still "uncool" for many UK teenagers - perhaps because it feels so unsafe on our meagre infrastructure? Here, one of the girls from Beauty and the Bike, Lauren Pyrah, comes behind the camera to ask what is happening to the Darlington girls now. Kate, one of the original group, is joined by Francesca to shout the praises of everyday cycling. But Ashley has stopped. Why? And will politicians listen?