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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

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Cycling On Film


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)
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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
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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


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

Great Britain Director. Frank Prendergast

View Tom's Ride
Tom's Ride
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Tom's Ride

United Kingdom Director. Darrel Catling

View Sky Bike
Sky Bike
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Sky Bike

United Kingdom Director. Charles Frend

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