On a brilliant Southern California evening I loaded up a truck with a bunch of fresh-from-Holland Batavus Old Dutch bikes along with a Nihola Family Cargo tricycle and drove down to the Art Theater in Long Beach for a screening of the film “Riding Bikes with the Dutch“.
Riding Bikes with the Dutch is a creation of Long Beach local Michael Wolfgang Bauch, who filmed the first half of this advocacy/documentary in 2007 with his wife and young son on a trip to Amsterdam.
The second half of the film shows us how the Dutch lessons of normalizing bicycling have travelled across the globe, to land right in Bauch’s home town of Long Beach.
Long Beach’s transformation into an emerging cycling city is very inspiring to shops like ours. We’re committed to making bicycling a normal part of transportation in Los Angeles. If only our local leaders could match the effectiveness of those in Long Beach! In one year, the City of Long Beach has laid out a massive amount of bicycle infrastructure. They’ve worked to help local businesses with foot traffic and more humane street design.
That’s a far cry from Los Angeles, which has a Department of Transportation stuck in the 20th Century – turning down Safe Routes to School money, turning down the construction of fully funded bike lanes, disregarding consultants suggestions to make North Figueroa Street into a bike friendly boulevard, and the list goes on.
Hand wringing about LA aside, there are some important lessons that Bauch distills for us from Holland, and they apply equally well here in Los Angeles, Long Beach, or in Anytown, USA:
- Bikes aren’t just for Lance Armstrong. You don’t have to have the latest carbon fiber frame and wear a spandex body suit to ride a bike … what a revelation.
- Bicycling is a lifestyle – not just a race, a hobby, or the latest fashion craze.
- Bikes aren’t just for kids. Adults can play too!
- Cars treat bikes with respect. Cyclists are treated like real modes of transportation, not second class citizens.
- Cities should be designed for people – not cars.
- Bicycling infrastructure is a key part of the planning process for new construction, not an after thought.
-from the web-site for the film Riding Bikes with the Dutch
We’re hopeful that Micahel Wolfgang Bauch can find a film distributor for Riding Bikes with the Dutch. Or perhaps he can find someone to fund another bicycle-inspired documentary. Our shop wishes him all the best, and we also promise to come down to Long Beach (and try and stifle our jealous rage) more often. We also sincerely hope that our own city would respect the health, happiness, and economic fortunes of it’s citizens as well as the City of Long Beach protects it’s own.
Flying Pigeon LA is a specialty bike retailer located at 3404 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065. Our phone number is 213-909-8986 but you’re better off trying to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We stock Flying Pigeon bicycles (of course), our “Deluxe” line of Flying Pigeons, Batavus, Gazelle, Pashley, Biomega, Achielle, Torker, Velorbis, and Nihola Family bikes. Our accessories include the Bobike Mini/Maxi/Junior line, Design House Stockholm baskets, Pocampo Bags, Basil bags & baskets, various rear wheel locks from AXA & Abus, a select line of tires from Schwalbe, saddles and other goodies from Velo Orange and Brooks and loads of other good stuff.