In June, the New York Times published a story headlined "The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, But a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital" that instigated much debate (over 365 reader comments in one day) and a torrent of emails to the editor. The Times followed up by seeking a "dialogue" with its readers about the supposed "swamping" of Amsterdam by bicycles. Then came all the echoes of the Times narrative in other media.
So, are there really too many bikes in Amsterdam? On a recent trip to the Netherlands, I got to experience this "sea of bikes" first-hand, and I saw no true problems other than pockets of less-than-ideal bike parking accommodations.
Over 30 percent of trips in Amsterdam are done by bike, and many locals have decried the Times article as hyperbole. See what some of them have to say about the situation in this Streetfilm.
Ahead of some longer and slightly more serious Streetfilms, I thought it would be prudent to throw up some of the everyday life the bicycle inspires in the world of Amsterdam. Some of this is light commentary but all meant to be in great fun.
Enjoy and make sure to check back for far more treats and coverage!
It's no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.
The story of how they got there is a mix of great transportation policy, location and chance. You'll learn quite a bit of history in the film, but essentially Groningen decided in the 1970s to enact policies to make it easier to walk and bike, and discourage the use of cars in the city center. By pedestrianizing some streets, building cycle tracks everywhere, and creating a unique transportation circulation pattern that prohibits vehicles from cutting through the city, Groningen actually made the bicycle -- in most cases -- the fastest and most preferred choice of transportation.
It does feel like bicycle nirvana. When I first got off the train in Groningen, I couldn't stop smiling at what I saw around me. In an email exchange with my friend Jonathan Maus from Bike Portland, he described it as being "like a fairy tale." This jibed with my first thought to him -- that I had "entered the game Candyland, but for bikes!" In fact, for our teaser I originally titled this Streetfilm "Groningen: The Bicycle World of Your Dreams," before I talked myself out of it. Although there is a magical quality about being there, in reality there is nothing dreamy or childlike about it. With political will and planning, what they have done should and can be done everywhere.
In our Streetfilm you'll see the 10,000 (!) bicycle parking spaces at the train station, some of the incredible infrastructure that enables cyclists to make their journeys safer and quicker, and you'll hear from many residents we encountered who go by bike just about everywhere they travel. But as one of my interview subjects, Professor Ashworth, wanted me to point out: the three days I was there were bright and sunny, and the hardy people keep up the bicycling through the cold winters. As with many bicycling cities, there area also big problems with cycle theft, and residents are always yearning for more bicycle parking.
I think most of us would trade some of those problems for a city with 50 percent mode share (and up to 60 percent in the city center!!).
Midtown New York City is the place to be. The lights, cars, traffic, architecture and people make the city come to life as a living, breathing, organism that never sleeps. Take a trip with this time-lapse production into the city and see the sights and sounds that create this magnificent destination.
For us, this time-lapse production was produced using more than 50,000 still frames, shot over the course of 6 months traveling back and forth from Washington DC to New York City while we shot for clients. Our main goal was to capture the central part of the city in both visuals and audio. The sound effects used in this production were taken from the various locations we shot and were added in to give you the feeling of actually being there.
There were multiple times during this shoot that we were chased off, either by cops or the cold. The subway shots were particularly difficult to get, especially in the wake of the Boston bombings. We were led out and in some cases followed by police officers or MTA officials who seemed intent on getting us for using tripods.
The music is performed by the talented Danny McCarthy (Fracture)
(Music has been licensed through Killertracks.com)
***MIDTOWN Water UFO***
We captured something we can't explain. If you know what these lights are, let us know!
The majority of this footage is own exclusively by 3rd party clients and we can not license out certain shots. If you're interested in licensing non-exclusive material please contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 513-259-9231
Our gear consisted of the following;
(4) Canon 5D Mark III's
(2) Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II
Canon 24-105mm f/4
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II
This production would not be possible without the help, assistance, guidance and inspiration of some of the most talented people out there;
Arthur Breese, Jimmy Shea, Gregg Lehrman, Jay Burlage, CA Time-lapse Crew (Joe Capra, Colin Rich, Andrew Walker, Matt Givot, Chris Pritchard, Michael Shainblum, Eric Hinds, Ben Canales, Sheldon Neil) Richard Bently, Patryk Kizny and the rest of the time-lapse community.
MIDTOWN - Cinematography, production and motion graphics by Andrew "Drew" Geraci
©2013 District 7 Media All Rights Reserved. No images, video or parts of this production may be used without authorization. This production is for portfolio use only.
Today I had my single speed tattoo-ed by Amsterdam's bike office engraving team.