3/30/2011 - Childhood Obesity Conference
Pick up your kids from school, shop for groceries or just go for a joy ride—but take a bike instead of your car—and repeat this every day. It’s a lifestyle for some and inspiration for the documentary Riding Bikes with the Dutch, screening at the Childhood Obesity Conference on Wednesday, June 29, at 7:15pm.
The film compares the bicycling culture of Holland with the car-centered lifestyle of Southern California. “In the U.S., bicycles are perceived either as high-performance sports machines, toys for children or a last resort,” says filmmaker Michael Wolfgang Bauch, resident of Long Beach, California, and speaker on the mini-plenary session “Visionary Approaches to Creating Active Communities.” “This cultural perception intrigued me as it was in direct contrast to the values shared by my family living in Europe who use bikes as daily transport.”
Bauch, who counts bike riding as one of his favorite activities, noticed that many of his errands were less than three miles away by bike. After equipping his bike with a simple and inexpensive basket, he began pedaling to the grocery store, bank, post office and cross-town meetings. According to Bauch, integrating a bike into his daily life was easy, and biking was oftentimes quicker than going by car and facing traffic and finding a parking spot.
In 2007, Bauch and his family exchanged their California home for an apartment in Amsterdam, where Bauch embraced—and filmed—the city’s bike culture. When Bauch returned home to complete the film—with the plan to compare the Los Angeles freeways with the bike-filled streets of Amsterdam—efforts to make Long Beach more bike-friendly had increased. In the film, Bauch presents Long Beach as a foreshadowing of the rethinking of America’s preferred mode of transportation. Along with Bauch, Charlie Gandy, Long Beach’s mobility coordinator, will contribute to the mini-plenary session, offering an inside look at Long Beach’s transportation transformation.