For this week's Blog Roundup we're sitting back and watching videos. There are lots of people out there producing video that accompanies or even holds it own alongside the blogs we regularly cover. So we thought it would be a good idea to pick out a selection of videos so that as the nights draw in we can all sit with a mug of tea in hand and watch people cycling both in comfort and in conflict the world over.
Making a good video is not an easy task! Even a simple two minutes on the evening news may have as many as ten or twenty different shots within it alongside numerous graphics and plenty of factual content. The other side of that is that a good video can do much to change views of those, well, viewing them. Many of us who have now been to the Netherlands and other places to explore their cycling had our heads turned in part by watching videos such as those we'll cover here.
As with our earlier post on 'greatest hits', this is by no means a comprehensive account - just some highlights. There is also a great crossover in the people whose videos we are featuring with that greatest hits post, but these . If there's other fantastic video out there that's not mentioned here, please let us know, either in the comments, or by contacting us directly - we may well return to this in future.
Seeing over the channel...
It is from seeing how cycling is done elsewhere that many of us have had our eyes opened to the possibilities presented by following best practice in other countries. However, I will start with a bit of worst practice, from Utrecht where Mark Wagenbuur made a very inteligent film a protest on red lights delaying people cycling. Watch carefully and you will see that despite the myriad of timing and design issues at this junction the forgiving nature of the kerbs means several unorthodox routes are reasonably safe and comfortable. Naturally he has more information in a detailed blog post.
Mark has also produced several other very informative videos that encompass background, history and the possibilities of strong design such as his video on junction design the Dutch cycle-friendly way responding to plans from the USA.
David Hembrow, the former Cambridge resident who not only writes well but also captures video and guides tours on the finer points of cycling in Assen and surrounds also makes great videos. His video Two Transport Revolutions captures the nature of change in a town in the Netherlands where one revolution brought the car into Dutch towns and then a second revolution brought the bicycle back. He explains in full in his accompanying blog post.
Some of the most interesting long videos that have featured cycling have come from Streetfilms, often with a wider perspective of liveable cities rather than the finer points of cycle facility design. By far the most relevant for this roundup is the Streetfilms video all about Groningen which also features David Hembrow talking about a city he has become well aquainted.
The stories of these videos, all produced by ordinary people, have not gone entirely unnoticed by the mass media. When ITV (well, ITV4) in the UK were covering the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht this summer they got Chris Boardman (or perhaps the dynamic was the opposite of that!) to make a video on cycling in Utrecht. His five minute video just shows what extra polish a major broadcaster can give whilst essentially summarising what others had by this summer been videoing and then publishing themselves for years. You can almost picture Boardman's face as he finally decided on "dressed for their destination, not the journey" and fair enough, it's a great point to make, and he makes it very well.
You can see much of the historic elements of Boardman's video in two videos earlier made by Mark Wagenbuur, the seminal (so you surely you've seen it but watch it again) How The Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths and a clip he translated of children in De Pijp in Amsterdam around the time of 70s protests for spaces to play. Boardman himself also made an earlier video in Copenhagen which made similar points (but with less budget). The local authorities in Malmo tried their hand at a video in English as well, though their riduculous car journeys video is a lot more fun.
One of the great things you can do with a video is to repeat the video but with a different theme. So Mark Wagenbuur has not only videos like that above of rush hours but also showing people cycling in the spring, in the summer, the rain, at Christmas, with a baby, in the snow or even the freezing cold.
Meanwhile in the UK
There has been a remarkable amount of archive footage that's turned up online in recent years that helps to give some of the longer history of cycling campaigning in the UK. Horizon had a special all about cycling as far back as 1974, and in 1985 the London Cycling Campaign were battling ignorant views from Westminster. It is the GLC that we'll pick out of the archive to feature here though, with this enthralling (if rather annoying at the slow progress since) video from 1984 on the then Greater London Council's Cycling Unit.
Of course, those aren't the only thwarted plans in London, as Jay Foreman's entertaining Unfinished London series showed when it looked at Ringways.
Much (or at least, some) has been written ascribing the success of modern cycle campaigning to blogging, but it is interesting even now to dig into the archives and look at the videos from around those heady days when the Cycle Embassy itself was created. Perhaps you have the time to watch Londonneur's video of the 2011 Tour Du Danger in full, but if you don't you may want to spot Joanna Lumley giving her support (in a car). (We'll say nothing about The Garden Bridge!) But of course at the time of the new wave of cycle campaigning and their associated blogs there was already a number of people who'd taken to strapping cameras onto their faces (via helmets). We've resisted delving into that culture too deeply (we're not sure where to begin!) but CycleGaz made a good video showing the varying (if all similarly weak) meanings of paint in the London Superhighways.
All of this is fun, but it isn't directly campaigning for a change on the ground, but in recent years that has seen much effort. Such as from campaigners pushing the Get Britain Cycling report be they in Scotland or even if they're Jon Snow himself. One video that has seen success in gaining at least a trial implementation was this from Camden Cyclists pushing for more space for cycling on Tavistock Place cycle tracks.
We should remind you now that if you like that trial on Tavistock Place, now is the time to let Camden Council know!
But such a positive demand can also be made in an abstract and charming fashion that maybe we'll just curl up by the fire to watch with the kids, as here from Pedal on Parliament.
Sometimes it all gets too much though, and as in Edinburgh you might realise that the cycle lanes you've gained on George Street might find that the annual Festival is their Downfall.