Beauty and the Bike is a new film all about cycling.
It follows twenty young women from Darlington in the north east of England and Bremen in Germany over the course of a year, finding out why most of the British girls did not use a bicycle as their everyday means of transport, whilst all of the German girls did.
The film begins in Darlington - a Cycling Demonstration Town - and asks the question "why do British girls stop cycling?"
Most of the girls pointed to road dangers, and the fact that cycling is un-cool and unfashionable, so the film-makers introduced the Darlington girls to a group of their peers from the cycling-friendly city of Bremen. Cycling in Bremen is regarded as de rigour and a necessary pre-requisite for teenage independence from parents. Crucially, cycling in Bremen is easy, relaxed and a social activity, with traffic-free cycle paths on every main road. Car drivers are respectful towards cyclists - the law tells them to give way.
The film's Director Richard Grassick said "Is it any wonder that cycling is so unpopular in this country?" It's treated a bit like a military expedition by some policy makers. Cyclists are expected to cope with road dangers by better training and protective gear."
Co-director Dr. Beatrix Wupperman added: "The needs of women cyclists seem to be a blind spot with British transport politicians. They still look at the world through the windscreen. Women typically do not want to fight their way through traffic. Perspectives have to change completely or there will be little progress."
The film concludes with what, for the girls, has become obvious; if a road is busy, cyclists need their own separated space alongside it. This simple understanding is how politicians in cycling-friendly towns and cities approach cycling as a part of their transport policy.
Grat film and great concept
For more on the female cycling perspective follow the link below