After spending three years touring our cycling film Beauty and the Bike, in 2013 we sat down to take stock of what we could offer as a follow-up. That film had contrasted cycling conditions in a UK town with Bremen. In doing so, it dwelt largely on the many positives that Bremen offers. Yet there was little explanation of how Bremen became a cycling city in the first place. This pricked our curiosity, so we decided to set out on a journey of enquiry to better understand why, at around 25% of journeys, Bremen is the outstanding large city in Germany for everyday cycling. The result is the blog Bremenize.
Bremenize has set itself the task of looking behind the scenes of the city’s cycling politics, to better understand Bremen’s cycling history, and to challenge the transport policy objectives of the Hanseatic city. Bremenize is therefore as much an exploration as a celebration of Bremen’s cycling culture. Beyond the statistics and policy debates, there is no doubt that Bremen’s status as a cycling city rides above all on its citizens’ enthusiasm for using the bicycle for everyday mobility. And here the city’s cycling history plays a key role. To paraphrase Karl Marx, the tradition of all dead generations weighs like a pleasant dream on the brains of the living. The fact that such a strong culture exists today gives the city a peoples’ resilience and a respected voice in the face of sometimes sluggish policy developments. It is the relationship between that history, our everyday cycling culture, and the contemporary politics of cycling, that we aim to capture in words and in moving images. To date we have produced over 20 short films for the site. Below we showcase a small selection.