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Pedal Power

Riding to the challenge: the competition to be the best, toughest or fastest on two wheels.

For some cyclists, a leisurely ride from A to B will never be enough. They need challenges: to be the best, the toughest, the fastest on two wheels. This collection of films celebrates cycling's sporting champions, from a simple informal Edwardian street race to the bright lights of the velodrome during the 1920s cycling boom, and from the endurance athletes of the Tour of Britain to some more unusual feats accomplished on a bike. Although some of these contraptions might test your definition of 'bike'... These films highlight challenges for filmmakers, too. The Topical Budget newsreel proudly unveiled a special new camera for its coverage of bank holiday racing at London's legendary Herne Hill in 1924: the results are stunning, even 90 years later. Not all filmmakers managed to keep up with the blur of speeding wheels - but that just adds to the furious energy of it all. Ready... steady... GO!

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Cycling Stunt Man
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Cycling Stunt Man

Non-Fiction19743 mins Location: Gloucester

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

Race for the Muratti Cup at Manchester Wheelers' Annual Meet (1901)
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Race for the Muratti Cup at Manchester Wheelers' Annual Meet (1901)

Non-Fiction190115 minsSilent Location: Manchester

Exciting scenes of amateur cycling's 'Race of Champions' at Manchester's Fallowfield track.

Flying the Foam and Some Fancy Diving
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Flying the Foam and Some Fancy Diving

Sport19062 minsSilent Location: Brighton

Innovative early 'trick' film showing the popular 'flying the foam' stunt performed on - or rather off - Brighton's West Pier.

Herne Hill - Pedals & Puddles
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Herne Hill - Pedals & Puddles

Non-Fiction19271 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill

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

Riding High
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Riding High

Comedy1939 mins

The sedate peace of Victorian England is disrupted by bumbling comedian Claude Dampier and that miracle of modern transport - the penny farthing...

Woman Wheelers
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Woman Wheelers

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill

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

Six Days in Romandie
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Six Days in Romandie

Sport198331 mins

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

Cycling: 1962 Tour of East Anglia
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Cycling: 1962 Tour of East Anglia

Non-Fiction19622 minsSilent Location: Felixstowe

Cyclists and Cinzano! An interesting mix of competitors and sponsors take to the road for the exciting three-day, three-stage, 350-mile Tour of East Anglia.

United Service Sports
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United Service Sports

Non-Fiction19171 minsSilent

Army athletes compete for glory on foot and bike.

Olympic Trials
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Olympic Trials

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill

With neither gears nor lycra to help them, the cream of Britain's cyclists battle it out at the Herne Hill velodrome ahead of the 1928 Olympics.

Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)
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Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)

Non-Fiction19027 minsSilent Location: Headingley

Athletes and acrobats wow the crowds at the annual Cycling Club carnival.

National Bicycle Week Begins
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National Bicycle Week Begins

Non-Fiction19231 minsSilent

Speeding wheels and speedy reels… Thrilling scenes of high-speed cycle racing are captured with a super-fast film camera.

Cycling the Channel
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Cycling the Channel

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Dover

A Fine Feat of Endurance. Why swim the Channel when you can go by hydrocycle?

Women Rule the Waves
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Women Rule the Waves

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Dover

Take to the surf with valiant French 'hydro-cyclist' Aimee Pfanner, as she gamely pedals from Calais to Dover.

Wheel in Britain
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Wheel in Britain

Documentary195327 mins Location: London

Speeding round Britain by bike: taking in the scenery in a 1,600-mile competitive tour.

Ladies Training for Cycle Races
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Ladies Training for Cycle Races

Non-Fiction19021 minsSilent Location: Leeds

Edwardian ladies work their pedals, eagerly watched by workers and an attention-seeking dog.

Early Season Kermesse
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Early Season Kermesse

Amateur film19626 minsSilent Location: Great Yarmouth

The dedication and enthusiasm of Club cyclists is put to the test big time at the early season Kermesse on Norfolk's chilly east coast.

Informal Cycle Race in a Village Road
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Informal Cycle Race in a Village Road

Non-Fiction1902 minsSilent

Edwardian cycle racing at its best - albeit a little fuzzy! Riders take on all comers on an intriguing variety of bicycles.

Holiday Cycling at Herne Hill
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Holiday Cycling at Herne Hill

Non-Fiction19241 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill

Stunning, 360-degree action of the speeding wheels at London's premier cycling circuit.

Ashlee Family Films: Whirling Wheels, Bexley (1963)
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Ashlee Family Films: Whirling Wheels, Bexley (1963)

Amateur film19637 minsSilent Location: Kent Street

Lycra-clad cyclists take part in a fierce race around the London-Kent borders, diligently filmed by a Bexley amateur film-maker.

Dunston C.C. Road Race
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Dunston C.C. Road Race

Amateur film19609 minsSilent Location: Dunston

Celebrating cycling culture in the north east on a 70 mile road race from Blaydon.

Newcastle Rag Race
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Newcastle Rag Race

Amateur film19609 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Top rider Bill Baty triumphs in a charity road race for Newcastle Rag Week.

Weston-super-Mare hosts 1962 Tour of Britain cycle race
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Weston-super-Mare hosts 1962 Tour of Britain cycle race

News19623 mins Location: Weston-super-Mare

Ready, steady, go! Europe's best cyclists arrive in Weston-super-Mare to complete stage 6 of the 1962 Tour of Britain Milk Race.

Race for a Bride
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Race for a Bride

Drama192215 minsSilent Location: Sunningdale

Dastardly deeds are afoot when rivals for the hand of a young woman vie against each other in a bicycle race.

Tour of the North
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Tour of the North

Sport19575 minsSilent Location: Belfast

Crowds flood Belfast to catch a glimpse of the Tour of the North cyclists

Hugh Porter Interview
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Hugh Porter Interview

Non-Fiction19706 mins Location: Wolverhampton

A tough training regime for a cycling world champion. Although it helps that he goes home to a fellow Olympian.

CCPCC Cycling
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CCPCC Cycling

Non-Fiction194714 minsSilent Location: Sheffield

Rare film of an exciting sprint and cycle racing event just after the war, capturing most of the large expectant crowd and many competitors.

British Cycling Federation National Road Race Championship
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British Cycling Federation National Road Race Championship

Amateur film196011 minsSilent Location: Blaydon

Blazing saddles on the 140-mile Blaydon route of the 1960 British National Road Race with one of the greatest amateur road cyclists of all time.

See-saw Cycling
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See-saw Cycling

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Mitcham

Thrills and spills on two wheels at a charity motorcycling gymkhana in Mitcham, Surrey.