Girls in cycling friendly countries continue to cycle into adulthood, whilst in many other countries they tend to give up during the teenage years. Why?
Beauty and the Bike follows two groups of young women over a period of a year. One is from the Cycling Demonstration town of Darlington, England, where nearly all teenage girls have stopped using a bicycle. The other is from Bremen, where cycling is the transport mode of choice for most teenagers. Over the course of the year, each group visits the other to discover just why their habits – and attitudes towards cycling – are so different.
What they find is a searing indictment of transport policy in the 21st century. To attract people to cycling, politicians need to make it actually attractive, rather than some kind of military expedition. With so much energy being spent looking for technological solutions, why are politicians so reluctant to do the obvious – build attractive cycling infrastructure?
The film concludes with the English girls expressing a new understanding of the political implications of their new-found love of cycling – the car needs to be tamed in our cities and towns, and space re-allocated to sustainable forms of transport.