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Cycling On Film

The bike is back! British cycling is enjoying a 21st-century renaissance, so what better time to celebrate a century of cycling on film?

Flushed with Olympics success and now welcoming the Tour de France's Grand Départ, Britain is enjoying a 21st-century cycling renaissance. So what better time to celebrate a century and more of cycling on film?

Cycling was enjoying its first 'golden age' while film was in its infancy, which helps explain early filmmakers' fascination with bicycles. French pioneers the Lumière brothers filmed a trick-performing bicycliste as early as 1897, while two British films from the 1890s highlight the role of the bike in women's emancipation.

Our tour of cinematic cycling has three stages. In Setting Off we capture the thrill of that first bike, the joys and perils of learning to ride, and all manner of adventure on two wheels. The romance of the open road is the focus of Freewheeling, a selection evoking a leisurely ride on our rural backways. Finally, Pedal Power changes gear as we look at cycling's competitive streak, as would-be champions push their two wheeled machines to the limits.

All in all, it's a selection to get even the weariest rider back in the saddle.

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."

H.G. Wells

triangle triangle
Cycling On Film

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View Bicycle Thieves
Bicycle Thieves
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Bicycle Thieves 1948 U

Vittorio De Sica’s story of a father and son searching for a stolen bicycle on the streets of Rome is a classic of post-war Italian cinema.

88 mins Italy Director. Vittorio De Sica

View BMX (Here and Now, 1983)
BMX (Here and Now, 1983)
Watch for free 4 mins

BMX (Here and Now, 1983) 1983

Riders from the Birmingham Wheels Project show off the tricks and techniques of the new BMX craze.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Six Days in Romandie
Six Days in Romandie
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Six Days in Romandie 1983

Six days of punishing wheel-to-wheel action as the TI Raleigh racing team competes against the best European squads.

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Lindsey Clennell

View Peddlers' Progress
Peddlers' Progress
Watch for free 9 mins

Peddlers' Progress 1949

Join four clean-cut intrepid youngsters on an awfully big 1940s adventure as they sing and cycle their way around the youth hostels of scenic Scotland in glorious colour. Tally ho!

9 mins

View Cyclists Special
Cyclists Special
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Cyclists Special 1956

A wonderful short film, produced by British Transport Films, about travelling around Britain by bicycle - with the help of the odd train.

United Kingdom

View Cycling Proficiency Scheme: Father and Son
Cycling Proficiency Scheme: Father and Son
Watch from £0.85 1 mins

Cycling Proficiency Scheme: Father and Son 1959

"Dad... I want a bike!” Fun animated campaign aimed at 50s parents and their over-eager offspring.

1 mins United Kingdom Director. Allan Smith

CYCLING ON FILM COLLECTIONS

View Tom's Ride
Tom's Ride
Watch from £0.85 11 mins

Tom's Ride 1944

Temptation on two wheels: should young Tom use the money he's found to buy himself a bike? Or should he do the right thing?

11 mins United Kingdom Director. Darrel Catling

View It's a Bike!
It's a Bike!
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It's a Bike! 1983

A ripe slice of 80s cheese: a lively, rapping cautionary tale for the young cyclist.

21 mins Great Britain Director. Frank Prendergast

View Riding on Air
Riding on Air
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Riding on Air 1959

A beautiful and evocative survey of cycling's golden years.

16 mins United Kingdom

View Riding Abreast
Riding Abreast
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Riding Abreast 1940

Three carefree schoolgirl cyclists learn the dangers of 'riding abreast' in this quaint cautionary tale shot in idyllic countryside.

22 mins United Kingdom

View Cyclist Turning Right
Cyclist Turning Right
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Cyclist Turning Right 1983

Two young BMX-ers nearly come a cropper in this short and shocking cycling safety film.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Boy and Bicycle
Boy and Bicycle
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Boy and Bicycle 1965 PG

Ridley Scott's first film features his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day to meander around Hartlepool on his bicycle, lost in his own thoughts.

United Kingdom Director. Ridley Scott

View The Sky-Bike
The Sky-Bike
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The Sky-Bike 1967 U

Schoolboy Tom Smith flies a man-powered flying machine to win a handsome prize.

United Kingdom Director. Charles Frend

View Rider!
Rider!
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Rider! 1945

Cycling stunts and sight gags in a music hall curio.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Cyclists Special
Cyclists Special
Watch for free

Cyclists Special 1956

A wonderful short film, produced by British Transport Films, about travelling around Britain by bicycle - with the help of the odd train.

United Kingdom

View Ladies on Bicycles
Ladies on Bicycles
Watch for free 1 mins

Ladies on Bicycles 1899

Anyone for synchronised cycling? Victorian belles show off their riding skills.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Green on the Horizon
Green on the Horizon
Watch from £0.85 18 mins

Green on the Horizon 1988

The haunting qualities of the English countryside are evoked in this enigmatic film: part fake public information film, part occult jaunt.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Philip Sanderson, Steven Ball

View Peddlers' Progress
Peddlers' Progress
Watch for free 9 mins

Peddlers' Progress 1949

Join four clean-cut intrepid youngsters on an awfully big 1940s adventure as they sing and cycle their way around the youth hostels of scenic Scotland in glorious colour. Tally ho!

9 mins

View Trick Cyclist Alf Tabb
Trick Cyclist Alf Tabb
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Trick Cyclist Alf Tabb 1972

Could you ride one of Alf Tabb's tiny home made bicycles? £5 says you can't.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Nottingham: Cycle City
Nottingham: Cycle City
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Nottingham: Cycle City 1973

Can Nottingham become another Amsterdam? A visit to the city where cyclists and pedestrians are living in harmony.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Cycling Stunt Man
Cycling Stunt Man
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Cycling Stunt Man 1974

Gloucester's answer to Evel Knievel may not be able to afford a motorbike but he won't let that deter him...

2 mins United Kingdom

View Racing Cyclist
Racing Cyclist
Watch for free 13 mins

Racing Cyclist 1966

A fascinating insight into lightweight racing cycle manufacture, featuring cycling hero Barry Witcomb.

13 mins Great Britain

View Herne Hill - Pedals & Puddles
Herne Hill - Pedals & Puddles
Watch for free 10 mins

Herne Hill - Pedals & Puddles 1927

The adrenaline rush of a race at South London's famous velodrome at the height of a cycling boom.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Six Days in Romandie
Six Days in Romandie
Watch for free

Six Days in Romandie 1983

Six days of punishing wheel-to-wheel action as the TI Raleigh racing team competes against the best European squads.

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Lindsey Clennell

View Woman Wheelers
Woman Wheelers
Watch for free 10 mins

Woman Wheelers 1929

Women cyclists go for gold! Singer Gracie Fields presents the grand prize at South London's premier women's cycling event.

10 mins United Kingdom

View United Service Sports
United Service Sports
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United Service Sports 1917

Army athletes compete for glory on foot and bike.

United Kingdom

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