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The Power of Bicycling (Get Psyched)

Has winter fatigue set in yet? Time to get psyched about biking again!

This has been the worst winter of my adult life. And if you live most places in the United States you'd probably agree.  Between the extreme below-average temperatures and the constant barrage of snowstorms, it's made cycling outdoors a rough proposition - even for the intrepid.

To attempt to lift my spirits, I started browsing archived Streetfilms bike b-roll from all over the world, and I could feel my mood instantly change. We've certainly been lucky to shoot in great bicycle places in beautiful weather and that magic of bike love easily translates via the camera.  So I thought maybe I should share some of that joy and get some of you looking forward to the Spring with this hasty-assembled montage.  

Warmer days are coming my friends. Enjoy the bike porn.

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  • Highwayman

    Thanks for the visual indulgence.

    The Highwayman.
    (NOT the ranty one)

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    As you can see from the visual evidence, it is interesting to observe helmet use in the various cities. In the Netherlands there is very little. Copenhagen as well. Cities like London and Montreal have more and the U.S. cities - although it varies a bit, has the most helmet use.

    When I put these kinds of montages together, I never worry about how many riders are wearing helmets or not wearing helmets. I try to show cities as they are. Although many times I get accused by both sides of showing too many people wearing helmets or too few people wearing helmets.

    My personal view is that I have no problem with helmet use. I do think laws requiring helmets are not healthy (though I do not object to helmets required for younger riders). Helmet use for adults should be a personal judgement. We all have our own experience and choosing whether to ride with one there are many factors (type of bike, climate, safety of cycling amenities, where you are riding, your speed, if you are riding alone or in a pack, etc etc.) For those who think it should be one way or the other in absolutism, I think that is not looking logically at the issue and taking into account factors that your city may not face.

    In NYC I ride a helmet about 98% of the time on my bikes. But almost never with the Citi bike share, which is typical for me bike share. When I go to another city, I look at the other people and how my comfort level is before renting a bike. In most cases that means in places like Amsterdam, Groningen, and Copenhagen I am not even thinking about a helmet. But if I am riding in NYC, SF, LA, I am more likely too.

  • Russ

    Thanks Clarence! I was noticing the exact same thing about helmet use. Especially the shots of San Fran all looked younger strong crowd unlike the families and kids shots in Europe. Also, its the same way for me in Chicago regarding (98% helmet with own bike and none using Divvy)...speaking of, you guys should make a trek over to the lovely Second city to shoot for our first spring/summer of bike share with expansion plans under way!!!! Gonna be awesome to see along with installation of first concrete PBLs on state controlled road ha

  • Boots

    Awesome and so telling that only in the Anglophone cities (not Guadalajara, not Montreal) did you see people wearing helmets. Based on North and South American cities in general, I imagine that Guadalajara is no cycling paradise (nor is Montreal apart from its random and few separated cycle tracks), yet it's interesting to see that they're not all donning helmets. This culture of fear and its subsequent reaction (buying a helmet in hopes that it will provide some protective aura), is quite interesting! As if a helmet protects the rest of your body. I mean, it doesn't even do a good job protecting your head and can sometimes even create impacts that wouldn't have occurred w/o one because of the increased size of your head area (very scientific, "head area", I know).

    Still, it's great to see U.S. cities taking up the bicycle, though I feel that it would be more productive to show people--especially in these big group rides--without helmets than with them.

  • Boots

    Having studied journalism myself and knowing that part of your profession is indeed journalism, I wouldn't expect you to try to get people to take off or put on a helmet in the cities where helmets are used. As you mention, it is quite telling that Americans--and perhaps to a lesser extent Anglophone Canucks and Brits--would chastize you for showing videos of people without helmets. You guys at Streetfilms/blogs do your job quite well--and that's promoting cycling and safe streets, not crusading for or against helmets!

  • Boots

    Well, not more productive to "show" them like that, but rather, when people go on these big group rides, I wish they wouldn't all wear helmets and (often) reflective vests.