Take Bike the Streets:
Active Transportation for all
Gary Indiana is a misunderstood place with an infamous reputation. Take Bike the Streets follows a group of grassroots activists as they advocate for active transportation for all and implement tangible changes.
Take Bike the Streets! is a grassroots tale told with true guerrilla filmmaking techniques. This short documentary showcases how one man's passion for cycling changed a community forever. As someone who never considered themselves athletic nor mechanically inclined, I somehow found myself running a volunteer bike shop in my mid thirties. I knew this story needed to be documented so I began to capture footage on a variety of devices and eventually partnered with our vocational institution to help complete post production. In 2015, after a decade living in LA and working in film/TV, I decided to take a job as a community organizer in my hometown. Nestled in the buckle of the rustbelt, Gary Indiana, is known for its high crime rate and depressed economy. A once thriving boomtown that was originally built to serve 200,000 people we now have 70,000 residents living across 56 square miles. That’s 4 miles bigger than San Fransisco! With 19% of our population depending solely on active and public transportation there was a huge need for a bike shop. I got involved with active transportation advocacy as I helmed Gary’s Miller Spotlight initiative. I met a gentleman named Ken Parr who had just retired from teaching science and was ready to donate his time to a good cause. Ken had always been a unique individual, he was a bike advocate for over forty years and a member of the Major Taylor Cycling Club in Chicago. We started advocating as a group to allow people to bring their bikes on our commuter trains in 2015. The South Shore folks were receptive and the community was happy to finally be able to bring bikes on the train. On the tail of this success we started a pop up shop at our farmers market. It was an ad hoc start with Ken running the shop and teaching people the basics of bike maintenance. The need was obvious and so the group and I submitted grant applications to try and get funding. Just as Ken and I were about to go in to pitch the concept to a major sponsor he called me to let me know he was on his way to the hospital. He encouraged me to go ahead and make the pitch and check in with him after it was over. Within an hour I secured funding for our shop and Ken passed away. Now seven years after his death Take Bike the Streets is still advocating, still teaching and still up cycling old bikes. The initiative is run 100% by volunteers, donors and sponsors. (The grant I was originally hired under completed in 2017, but I knew the need was still there for this initiative so I stayed on to help organize it.) This film shows the evolution of a project and how a community can come together to help create safe spaces for lifelong learning. It has given me such joy to produce and I hope it will find its audience. Thank you for your consideration. Click here to read the filmmaker's bio.