Freedom is two wheels and an open road. Take a blissful ride through cycling's golden past.

Perhaps it's hard to imagine today, but the motor car wasn't always the unchallenged king of Britain's roads. In the mid 20th century, one fifth of Britain's population cycled. The bicycle making industry boomed, and brands like Raleigh, Hercules, Phillips, Moulton, Humber, Rudge and Witcomb were known the world over. Easy, democratic and affordable, cycling remains a massively popular leisure activity. And for most cyclists, a leisurely summer ride on country roads - with a gentle breeze on your face (but preferably not a strong headwind) - is one of life's great pleasures. The bike still is one of the best ways to see rural Britain, but for anyone riding today's country roads, the virtually car-free world presented in this evocative selection of films will seem like a vision of a lost paradise.

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Government sponsored film19454 mins

Cycling stunts and sight gags in a music hall curio.

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Cyclists SpecialCyclists Special

Travelogue195615 mins Location: Rugby

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

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Ladies on BicyclesLadies on Bicycles

Non-Fiction18991 mins

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

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Peddlers' ProgressPeddlers' Progress

Amateur film194925 minsSilent Location: Ben Nevis

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!

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Fat Man on a BicycleFat Man on a Bicycle

Comedy19142 minsSilent Location: Teddington

A clumsy oversized cyclist causes chaos in this knockabout silent comedy.

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Lady CyclistsLady Cyclists

Interest film18991 minsSilent

A two-wheeled convoy of Victorian gentlewomen in a charming early film enigma.

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Bicycle CollectionBicycle Collection

Non-Fiction19766 mins Location: Arbury Park

Bone shakers, penny farthings and other antique cycles live on in Warwickshire rural retreat.

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Nottingham: Cycle CityNottingham: Cycle City

Non-Fiction19736 mins Location: Nottingham

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

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Riding AbreastRiding Abreast

194023 minsSilent

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

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Boy and BicycleBoy and Bicycle

Drama196528 mins Location: Hartlepool

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.

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Cinema Adverts for Humber, Raleigh and Rudge BicyclesCinema Adverts for Humber, Raleigh and Rudge Bicycles

Advert19382 minsSilent

A fun selection of vintage animated adverts promoting some of Britain's leading bicycle brands.

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Phillips Bicycles - Publicity Films for West AfricaPhillips Bicycles - Publicity Films for West Africa

Industry sponsored film19545 minsSilent

From the West Midlands to West Africa: tour the Phillips bicycle plant in Smethwick and see the products in action overseas.

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The Bespoke BikeThe Bespoke Bike

Interest film19744 mins

Where two-wheeled dreams come true: a visit to the legendary Witcomb bike shop in Deptford.

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Moulton BicycleMoulton Bicycle

School programme and Educational film197221 minsSilent

Innovation on two wheels - presenting the latest model of the design classic that reinvented British commuting.

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Riding on AirRiding on Air

Documentary195916 mins Location: London

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

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Rudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best BicycleRudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best Bicycle

Advert19021 minsSilent

A gentleman cyclist learns the error of his ways in one of the earliest surviving British film advertisements.

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Raleigh: Fred MitchellRaleigh: Fred Mitchell

Documentary198026 mins Location: Nottingham

Industrial relations and management's 'pound of flesh', on the shop floor of a large engineering firm in Nottingham.

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Raleigh: Alan OakleyRaleigh: Alan Oakley

Documentary198026 mins

Alan Oakley is the man that gave Britain the iconic Raleigh Chopper bike. This 1980 profile finds him moving from drawing board to boardroom.

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Parisian PedallersParisian Pedallers

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent

Take a tour de France as cyclists double up for a tandem race through Paris's Bois de Boulogne.