Bikes vs cars

Bikes vs. Cars – The Movie

For any of you out there with offspring, you will know that the cinematic experience of a typical North American parent is less than stellar. The early years were promising, when Pixar replaced the Disney Princesses (who’s mothers are all inexplicably dead or absent). Those days were quickly replaced by the unbearable ’talking animal’ phase, which transitioned into ‘movies in which people fart’, and most recently, the age of the superhero. At least in this phase my sons and I have come to some common ground. They get bad guys and explosions. I get super-ripped beefcake in spandex.

But I digress.

If you are hankering to get out to see a movie that has no talking animals, is made for grown ups, and more importantly, is all about how bikes can make the world a better place, I have just the thing. Starting today, Cinematheque is showing Bikes vs. Cars – a documentary by Swedish director Fredrik Gertten that explores the bicycle as a solution to climate change, grid lock, and our old friend, road rage (which, by the way, is hardly unique to people driving cars). The film follows individuals from Sao Paulo to Toronto who are fighting to create a world where people are less reliant on cars and oil to get around, and less likely to die when they opt to ride bikes instead. You would think it would be as easy as, well – you know – and yet there are obstacles at every turn. In most cities, the car is King. There are currently one billion cars in the world. By 2020, there will be two billion.

From the short film The Invisible Bicycle Helmet, by Fredrik Gertten, with Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, Malmö, Sweden. Photo: Marek Wieser

From the short film The Invisible Bicycle Helmet, by Fredrik Gertten, with Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, Malmö, Sweden.
Photo: Marek Wieser

So to be consistent with my cinematically-themed intro, let’s imagine the people on bikes are the Jedi, and the car and oil companies are the Evil Empire. I’m just not sure if Rob Ford is Darth Vader or Jabba the Hutt.

Have a look.

You can find the showtimes here.

After the Saturday, November 21 showing at 3pm, there will be a panel discussion with some titans of the local active transportation movement:

Curt Hull – Long time cycling advocate, Can-Bike instructor, and Director of Bike Winnipeg
Janice Lukes – City counsellor, active transportation advocate, and champion of the city’s new $334-million Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy.
Erik Dickson – AT specialist at urban design firm Scatliff+ Miller + Murray
(who was involved in the bike lane projects such as the protected lanes on Assiniboine, through the Forks, and the Disraeli Bridge).
Andrea Tetrault – Snarky blogger who likes bikes

(Ahem. It seems Anders Swanson was not available).

Needless to say I am a little intimidated by the credentials of my fellow panellists, and concerned about my ability to contribute any meaningful insight to the discussion. So I would love it if you guys could come and help me out. I figure a few scripted questions asked by discreetly planted audience members could go a long way in helping me look smart and relevant.

Here are some suggestions for questions you could direct my way:

1) What is the correct length for cycling socks?
2) Where should I go for a cycling holiday?
3) What is your favourite colour?

My knowledge of these topics will be so profound they won’t even know what hit them. I thank you in advance. Thanks also to Dave Barber from Cinematheque for his persistence – I’m really looking forward to it!