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First Look: People for Bikes’ “Bikes Make Life Better” video

Posted by on May 11th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Photo from filming of the video in Los Angeles.
(Photos © J. Maus)

People for Bikes, the national effort by Bikes Belong to raise awareness and support for bicycling, has just released a new video they hope will spread the idea that “Bikes Make Life Better.”

The short video, filmed in Los Angeles, uses projection technology to visually illustrate the impact bicycling has on cities. As riders — a woman on a Dutch bike, a profession commuter on a single-speed, and a group of BMX’ers — roll through the streets, birds, trees and waterfalls appear on structures around them.

Watch the video below:

Bikes Belong invited me to L.A. last month to go behind the scenes on this project. While there, I got to chat with John Frahm, account executive with Colle+McVoy, the creative firm that created the People for Bikes campaign and that oversaw production of this video.

“When they came to us initially a year and a half ago,” Frahm said, “they said we really want to do a movement to unite the masses. Something that breaks down the walls of all these different advocacy groups.”

People for Bikes video shoot-8-13

People for Bikes video shoot-10-15

But that was then. With one year under their belts and well over 200,000 signatures on their petition, People for Bikes needs to get beyond the bike.

People for Bikes video shoot-9-14

Frahm said so far they’ve focused on people who are already for bikes.

“Over the last year we’ve really spent focused on the endemic people; launching at the Bike Summit, then going to big events like Sea Otter and having displays in bike shops. Now we’re at the point where we’re trying to break it out into the masses.”

The “Bikes Make Life Better” video is part of that strategy. Colle+McVoy and Bikes Belong hope the video spreads virally online.

“It’s all about trying to seed it online and put it in front of people outside the bike industry and advocacy world. This is the first big thing we’ve done not solely served up through a bike filter… The first time we’ve tried to focus on building something that’s going to be sharable outside the industry.”

Frahm says the goal of the video is to, “… demonstrate how bikes improve life.” “Hopefully,” he adds, “people will take this and find something they identify with and use it to help build awareness and spread our cause.”

People for Bikes is taking the lead to create a national groundswell of support for bicycling. It’s no easy task; but branding and communications will play a huge role. I think the video makes a simple — yet important — point that’s often overlooked; that just by hopping on a bike good things happen to you and the world around you.

We’d love to hear what you think about it…

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  • Paul Hanrahan May 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Sure, nice video, but it bothers me that almost no one is wearing helmets or using lights on their bikes, even though they are riding at night. Not the image you want to take to the general publuic.

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  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson May 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    it was kind of refreshing to see people biking without helmets, almost like the real world. reminds me of the videos european cities make to promote bicycling; where people look like they are enjoying themselves. I don’t really see this video going “viral” or getting more people to ride bikes who otherwise wouldn’t. The scene of the highway (or what they call a neighborhood street in LA) with no cars and only the group of people on bikes is nice and I’m sure lots of people would bike if the streets were like that but they are not.

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  • Bud Maier May 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Great video and truly captures the freedom and emotions of riding. Filled with great visuals.

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  • rootbeerguy May 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm


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  • Jessica Roberts May 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I wanted to like it – I really did! But I couldn’t help cringing at all those people riding at night with no lights on the sidewalk. I can get over no helmets, but that just couldn’t resonate with me. OK, you can call me a grinch now.

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    • Jill VW May 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Same here – my thoughts exactly.

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  • captainkarma May 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    It’s just a movie. don’t everybody take everything too seriously. It took me back to being the wild-child on my balloon-tire-bomber, filling up my senses with the wonder of the nights, the sights, the sounds & smells wafting through my head, gravity & gyro-energy weaving the whole experience together. It’s what its all about. Wonder.

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    • wally May 12, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Except, it’s not being used as “just a movie.” It’s supposed to “help spread our cause,” and I don’t think seeing a bunch of unlit bikes ridden on sidewalks is going to win over many people to how bikes can make their life better. The more likely reaction from those who are not already believers is, “there go those damn scofflaw cyclists again….”

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  • John Lascurettes May 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Feels like a “miss” to me. I am a bike advocate and it does nothing to get me stirred about bikes.

    Even though it’s selling a brand, this video by Planet Bike does a better job of making the choice of using a bike to get around much more appealing and seemingly universal: http://vimeo.com/20069909

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    • k. May 12, 2011 at 9:11 am

      But a bunch of those people aren’t wearing helmets either.

      Really thought all safety advocates need to realize that not everything is literal. I think both these videos are effective about expressing the joy of riding bikes. Let’s get that message to people first. We can worry about the helmets and lights issue later. Geez.

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  • Mina May 12, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Jessica Roberts
    I wanted to like it – I really did! But I couldn’t help cringing at all those people riding at night with no lights on the sidewalk. I can get over no helmets, but that just couldn’t resonate with me. OK, you can call me a grinch now.

    Grinch : )

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  • Robert Watling May 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Cycling makes my life better. My helmet makes my life possible. I’ve crashed twice. Both times I hit my helmet.

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  • Mark Hashizume May 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Cool video but I don’t connect the message on how bikes make life better. A bunch of people riding around the city with no traffic and with no helmets with a light show behind them. Bikes make life better? huh?

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  • wally May 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I’m with those who don’t get it. I also can get over no helmets, but the lack of lights immediately jumped out at me and put me off the video. It does, however, emphasize just how hard it is to see an “unlit” bike in the dark.

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  • Mark Hashizume May 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

    If they make a video during Sunday Parkways then that would be a great visual of how non-motorized transportation is fun and good for everyone.

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    • wally May 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Great point!

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  • Dan Kaufman May 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Love it!

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  • Russ Roca May 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    love the concept, but the sidewalk riding (yes i know its just a movie and i shouldn’t take it literally), reflexively bothered me.

    its a big undertaking to try to bring bikey folks together and I applaud their effort. i can’t even begin to conceive of how you try to communicate that

    i found this video recently, made by Travel Oregon of all people, that made me want to hop on a bike that very instant!


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  • brooke omar June 10, 2011 at 8:23 am

    it may not be “cool” but you just gotta show helmets. wearing a helmet shows personal responsibility and is one way bicyclists earn respect from car drivers.

    yes on the whimsical illustration and the idea that bikes make life better. check it out in this TV ad for GetAbout Columbia, in Columbia, Missouri:


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