You Never Bike Alone - a documentary
You Never Bike Alone is an 80 minute documentary looking at how cyclists are building critical mass in Vancouver, Canada, and changing the face of the city. It is the story of how a social movement grows and the people behind it. It is available to rent or buy online at Vimeo and Reelhouse. You can also buy the DVD at our store on Reelhouse.
The cycling phenomenon known as Critical Mass is a reclamation of public space that started in San Francisco in the early 1990s and spread by the internet throughout the world. On a set day, at the end of every month, cyclists and other self-propelled people ride en masse through city streets.
Vancouver has become renowned for its big Critical Mass bike rides, and particularly the party spirit that attracts all types of cyclists.
You Never Bike Alone charts the development of these mass rides in Vancouver from the (pre-Critical Mass) protest rides across the historic Lions Gate Bridge in the early to mid-Nineties, through the "No Fun City" years of the late 1990s and early 2000s, where cyclists were routinely arrested for riding together, up to giant Critical Mass rides of more recent years.
Along the way, You Never Bike Alone strips down for the Wholesome Undie (an underwear ride protesting the Molson Indy race) and throws caution to the wind for the World Naked Bike Ride, a ride founded in Vancouver by a Critical Mass regular.
YNBA catches up with the local "freak" bike collective (who make art bikes from recycled machines) and looks at how cyclists are sharing the "velo love" through buildathons, street theatre, and rides.
Drawing on footage shot over the last decade, it asks whether cycle activists are succeeding in their goals. Through interviews with motorists "stuck in traffic," cyclists of all backgrounds, and local politicians, some of whom ride on the Mass themselves, it asks whether Critical Mass and similarly styled rides are winning hearts and minds.
"What Alstead's documentary captures is the absolutely exhilarating feeling of riding your bike with several hundred other cyclists on city streets."
"a compelling and intelligent film. Deftly edited and covering a lot of ground in 80 minutes"
"a lovely piece of agitprop. It isn't didactic, nor proselytizing, but blunt and straightforward. The people interviewed seem so sane, so reasonable and so utterly practical that I wanted to ride off in the sunset with all of them."
"I laughed, I cried. I felt stronger and more optimistic about our chances after watching You Never Bike Alone."