When environmentalists talk about bicycle-friendly cities, Amsterdam always comes up as the city to be envied. Well, Long Beach wants to become the most bicycle-friendly city in America — the Amsterdam of California, so to speak — and is working hard to follow in Holland’s footsteps. In fact, the Southern California city is having a bike festival next month, complete with a film festival featuring a documentary that connects Long Beach to Amsterdam: "Riding Bikes with the Dutch".

In addition to the film fest, the Long Beach Bike Festival, happening May 7-9, will feature everything from Fixed Gear Fest contests to a CYCLESTYLE Fashion Show. Bicyclists and the bike-curious will get to race in a Bike Push/Pull event, play bicycle polo, take a 30-mile “see cruise” ride around Long Beach, bid on bike-centric art works created by artists at the Plein Air Bicycle Painting event — and enjoy general festivities and merrymaking with food, music, bike-friendly vendors, and more.

After a busy weekend of cycling, festival attendees can take a load off at The Bicycle Film Festival, happening the last day of the event. The headlining film, "Riding Bikes with the Dutch," highlights not high-speed bike racing or flashy bike maneuvers, but everyday cycling as a convenient, healthy, and eco-friendly mode of transportation — and is the brainchild of Long Beach resident and filmmaker Michael Bauch. Watch the preview below:

The Long Beach Bicycle Festival celebrates and reinforces all the initiatives happening in the city, which has been making news with its recent bike-friendly initiatives. Earlier this year, the L.A. Times reported on how city “raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs.” The city even celebrated Earth Day by creating two additional miles of bike lanes.

Jealous that Long Beach gets its own bike film festival? Don’t despair — the next international Bicycle Film Festival will be in your town — or at least somewhat closer to it — before you know it.

Long Beach: The next Amsterdam?
Can car-dependent Southern California become more like bike-friendly Amsterdam? A documentary headlining Long Beach Bicycle Festival says yes.