This great little video has just been posted on YouTube by Leigh Andrews. It explores how young women in London take on crap infrastructure and the need to share road space with motorised traffic by building their self-confidence and taking road space.
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.
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.
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.
Monday May 31st (6:15pm)
Potter Auditorium, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Tuesday June 15th (evening)
LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney Street, Cambridge, MASS. USA
Saturday June 19th (afternoon)
Chesterfield Library, Chesterfield, UK
Tuesday June 22nd
Little Theatre, Bath, UK
Friday June 25th (1 to 2 pm)
CM 107, Science Site, Durham University, Cit of Durham, UK
Tuesday 29 June ( 8:30pm)
City Screen Picturehouse, York, UK
Thursday 1st July (7:30pm)
Landratsamt, Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany.
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.