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What to know:
BICYCLE LIFE, THE: A DUTCH LOVE OF PEDAL POWER is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 5-18
74 minutes
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This documentary makes bicycling seem as natural as breathing. Everybody should do it! I got a kick out of the different styles and functions of the bikes shown here in Amsterdam. It is clear that everyday bike riding keeps the population of this city physically fit and happy. There is an initial sense of "bike pollution," based on the sheer number of bikes present.

Bikes are shown to be a major cultural phenomenon in this country, used by all ages of people while pursuing all aspects of life. One interviewee describes her bike as her best friend! The convenience, quickness, affordability and overall safety of bike transportation are very obvious. Biking is an easy way to interact with other people around you and also to preserve the environment.

I enjoyed the ongoing relationship that the Director, Shake Jones, had with one of Amsterdam's resident bikers, Claudia Sky. At first, it seems a little suspicious how he keeps repeatedly interviewing her, almost like he is stalking her. Then SURPRISE, at the end of the film, you find out that he actually becomes the proud father of Claudia's daughter, Isabella. It turns out to be a nice love story.

The background music has a peppy, staccato beat. It is energizing and helps the viewer visualize riding and movement. The architectural views of Amsterdam are great, especially the 3-tier bike garage and the ice skating scenes on the frozen canals just outside the school building.

I have many favorite parts of the movie. The quotes about bikes from famous historical figures such as Albert Einstein are fun. It is humorous seeing how easy it is to lose your bike in a huge crowd of other parked bikes. There are some unique uses for bikes such as the BBQ bike, the mobile coffee shop, the folding bike for commuting on buses or trains, and the "spare" bike wheeled around as backup in case your primary bike breaks down.

The message of the film is that bicycling needs to be an integral part of life, even in rain or snow. Bicycling should be viewed as an effortless, enjoyable, beneficial form of physical activity, rather than as exercising chore or task. It will have a positive impact on your life.

I give this documentary 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18 as well as adults. Reviewed by Jeff M., KIDS FIRST! Juror.

Arriving Amsterdam, I was mesmerized and awe struck by the shear number of bikes. They were literally everywhere: chained to every lamp-post, tree, other bike, on bridges, outside restaurants, super markets & every now and then, a bike rack and the list goes on! In Amsterdam, a bicycle is just part of every day life! A bike is a real form of transport, not just a recreational toy. In fact, a bicycle is the primary means of transport in Amsterdam and in most Dutch cities. Cycling is just a fundamental part of life for the Dutch. A bike is used for every day activities like getting groceries, taking and picking up the kids from school, running errands, meeting up with friends or just going to visit family! A bike is truly the smartest and fastest way of getting around town. Best of all you have freedom, complete utter freedom, to stop and go - as you wish! This film was shot in Amsterdam over the course of 6-years beginning June 2012. Were we completely immersed ourselves in Amsterdam's bicycle lifestyle and culture. Via this deeper understanding we present our story to you. We hope our film will inspire and resonate with children of all ages and their parents. Encouraging families to make cycling a viable, integral part of their every day lives. Never before has the distinction between what most Americans focus on - exercise, versus what we should do more of, physical activity - been so crystal clear. We can learn a thing or two from the experts themselves, The Dutch.
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