Wednesday 31 March 2010

Beauty and the Bike - what happened next

Last year I blogged about the Beauty and the Bike movie. Now there is a summary film from the project giving a little information about what has happened since the film was released.

From the Beauty and the Bike blog: "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?"

The film and its accompanying book (which explains from the point of view of Beatrix Wupperman about the difference between her youth in bike friendly Bremen in Germany and the experiences of teenagers in bike hostile Darlingon in the UK) are essential reading and viewing for campaigners, especially in English speaking countries, all of which share much the same problems as the UK.

Between them, they offer an exceptional insight into why it is that teenagers in the UK predominantly don't cycle. Teenagers who don't cycle mostly turn into adults who don't cycle. And of course while girls and women in Britain are even less likely to cycle than boys and men, the same issues also prevent males in Britain from cycling to any significant degree.

The book and video are both available from the Beauty and the Bike website. These are exceptional pieces of work and I really can't recommend them highly enough.

As they say on the website: "It's the infrastructure, stupid."

I'm in the film for a few seconds and so is one of my daughters.


Anonymous said...

It is a wonderful production, I agree. Kudos to all involved, including you, David.

I bought both the DVD and the book and I really must recommend purchasing both to anyone interested. The book covers much more than the film and is required reading.

I really felt empathy for these girls and was saddened to hear the German girls getting such a hard time from (some) drivers riding in the UK.


Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

David J said...

Isn't that amazing! I had no idea the UK was such a hostile place for bicyclists.

I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about seeing the film. It's hard enough here in Australia, I don't know that I want to hear about how badly cyclists are treated elsewhere...
Brave Girls though to have a go and dare to confront such negative perceptions.