Photographer and Amsterdamize subscriber Stefanella Orzan from Rome was so kind to send me this video today, called Pedal Power, excerpts from a bicycle documentary produced by Canada’s CBC. It aired a few months ago, unfortunately you can only watch the whole film online if you actually live in Canada, but I guess you can circumvent that by proxy :).
Bicycles and automobiles have to share the same roads – a recipe for conflict – and many potential cyclists just won’t ride in the city because they see it as too dangerous. Add in the plague of bike theft and a lot of cyclists are simply leaving their bikes at home.
In Canada, bicycles “don’t get no respect.” From the story of Igor, and the anatomy of the underground world of bike peddlers in Toronto, this film spins out to how other cities are making riding safe. Using innovative “bike-cam” techniques to convey, up-close, the sensation of bike riding, a series of character-driven mini-narratives propel the film through a study of what makes a city “bikeable”. Whether it’s the public bike program in Paris, bike mega-garages in Amsterdam, bike paths in Vancouver and Montreal, or the surprising leadership of New York City, we follow the story of this remarkable little conveyance as it wheels though the first decade of the 21st century.
This video includes samples of the everyday cycle life of a Dutch family and a very nice expose on the world’s first (attempt at a) bike share program by the Provos, the 1965 White Bicycle Plan, initiated by Luud Schimmelpennink.
Although the narrator mentions some data that are in fact not correct, it doesn’t hurt the premise of this fine piece of work. Normalcy in cycling is here, there and spreading everywhere.