How Dublin is Making Cycling Normal

About two years ago, Chris came upon a small series of films from Dublin called Cycling With. A joint venture between Irish filmmaker, Paddy Cahill, and Dutch blogger, Philip de Roos, the series follows various people on their journey by bike, having a little chat along the way. The films were an inspiration for Chris and the rest of the Vancouver Cycle Chic team, and from there, the Cycle Chic Films were born. Back in Dublin, Paddy and Philip are still filming the Cycling With series, aiming to make one hundred of these documentaries in order "to show the world how gloriously easy, fun and sexy a bike ride can be."

But that's not all Paddy is up to. Most recently, he has teamed up with Jason Butler to create a new cycling series, Dublin Cycling Stories. While the Cycling With series focuses on the individual and their story, this new series is aimed at showing people getting around Dublin on bikes. These short portraits feature peoples of different ages and lifestyles using bicycles as a way to get around the city, including the unique ways in which each of them has made the bicycle work for their daily travels. From the young professional getting around the city for appointments, to the mother dropping her child off at daycare, and even a young woman heading out for a night out with friends, each film exemplifies how cycling can work for anyone.

What's important to note about these films is that it's more than just a creative project by local artists. These films are being made with the full support of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, the Dublin City Council and even the National Transportation Authority. Each of these civic groups and their leaders have recognized the value in creating and promoting positive images of average people using the humble bicycle as a means of transportation. By supporting this initiative, they are leading by example for cities around the world, namely in comparison to cities here in North America. They understand the importance of the imagery in the films, and how it is only by normalizing, or "humanizing", cycling that a city can truly grow it's modal share.

In viewing the films myself, I couldn't help but see the similarities to the Cycle Chic Films, with the exception that the films in Vancouver are not sponsored by the city's cycling groups or the city council. The production team makes these films to help showcase various people in Vancouver as a means to present a more human side to the West Coast cycling culture, just as Chris' Irish inspiration has done. Where Dublin has got it right, and where other emerging cycling cities should take note, is that the influencers in the city have made it a priority to promote the Cycling Stories as a normal way of life for Dubliners, and not just a fringe lifestyle for the brave few. Perhaps these films will help inspire others in cities around the world to create their own documentaries, and with a little intuition and forethought, their civic leaders will recognize their importance to growing to a true city of the new millennium - one which embraces multi-modal transportation, including the simple bicycle.