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Paris and Taipei cycling experience

Paris, Taipei: Bicycles Forever (巴黎.台北 單車萬歲) is a documentary directed by Jean-Robert Thomann (尚若白). It looks at the experience of bicycle commuters in Paris and Taipei. I went to the premiere screening at Eslite Dunnan Bookstore today and it will screen on PTS (公視) tomorrow.

The documentary explores the attitudes of those who have chosen to use a bicycle as their primary form of transport. It looks at both the positives and negatives of this lifestyle choice. The people featured are quite a diverse group. I thought the most interesting one was a woman who uses a bicycle to send her two children to school. If only more people in Taipei would follow her example.

The documentary also considers the development of bicycle paths and bike sharing systems. Taipei’s U-bike system obviously lags a long way behind Paris’s Velib system. It shows that while there have been some improvements in Taipei, the city still has a long way to go before it provides a friendly environment for bicycle commuters.

The photo above shows Jean-Robert filming Bike Smiling in Taipei in March 2009. There is a funny story related to this photo. Before being interviewed the man said they should interview the foreigner to make it more international (國際化). I replied that it was better to film him to make it more local (本土化). I make several brief appearances in the documentary.

Paris, Taipei: Bicycles Forever premieres on PTS at 10pm on Tuesday 9 March 2010. There are repeats at 3am on 10 March and 3pm on 13 March. The documentary is in French and Mandarin with Chinese subtitles.

【巴黎.台北 單車萬歲】
3/9   週二 晚間十點
3/10  週三 凌晨兩點半
3/13  周六 下午三點

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Comment from Jens
Time 8 March 2010 at 7:56 pm

Just arrived in Taipei, so I think I should try out this U-Bike system …

Comment from MartHo
Time 8 March 2010 at 11:27 pm

dear David, can you also post this on bikesmiling blog? or digest the article and leave a link to here? thank you~

Comment from David Reid
Time 9 March 2010 at 8:42 am

Jens, I must admit I have never used the U-bike system in Taipei. Once it expands to Gongguan area it will be more useful and I might try it.

MartHo, I’ve posted it on the Bike Smiling blog now.

Comment from ssf-in-SSF
Time 12 March 2010 at 12:14 am

Our office complex has 2000 employees, parking space for about 1500 cars, and a bike rake for 10 bicycles. We have 3 bikes every day and this is the greenest city where most people hug trees and worship Al Gore. My commute is 45 miles crossing a 7 mile bridge with no shoulder, so I drive 2 miles to bus stop and take bus. There was one guy cycling to bus stop, the drive had to take time to load the bike, and all passengers gave that look which eventually made him give up and join the rank of driving. It takes both good infrastructure and people’s understanding/tolerance to make cycling more acceptable as a mean of transportation and a great form of exercise, on the road, not just on bike paths.