Documentary raising interest in bikes as main form of transport

Trailer for The Bicycle City highlights the impact of cycling in developing nations

What happens when a poor town in an impoverished nation is flooded with tens of thousands of bicycles? That’s the question filmmaker Greg Sucharew is attempting to answer in his documentary, The Bicycle City.

Work on the film began in May 2009 and is currently in post-production, but the trailer is available below. The film follows Pedals for Progress, an organisation that collects used bikes and ships them to developing nations as economic aid. It tracks the life of a bike from the moment it’s donated to the time it reaches its new owner. In the case of the documentary, that destination is Rivas, Nicaragua, a city which uses bikes as its primary mode of transportation.

“The inspiration for film came from my volunteering for Pedals for Progress throughout college and seeing how much the bicycle could change somebody's life,” Greg told BikeRadar. “I had the opportunity to visit one of their programmes in Sierra Leone and was struck by how much more one could do in a day if they only had the mobility to get where they needed to go.

“I chose Nicaragua for the film because that is where the idea for Pedals for Progress began, that is where they perfected what they do, and the city of Rivas now serves as an example to the world of an alternate path to development.”

He expects the film will be finished early next year - funding permitting - and hopes to see it aired on US television. He also hopes to take the film round the US festival circuit, as well as an eventual DVD release. Check out the trailer below for a further look at the documentary.

After early cycling flirtations with the Tour de France on childhood holidays, John Whitney fell for it hook, line and sinker in his mid-20s as an escape from the more sedate sports of his youth. As a classically trained news reporter, he snagged his dream job as a cycling writer straight out of college and is now fully immersed in the industry and wouldn't have it any other way.
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