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!
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)
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
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
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.
The sedate peace of Victorian England is disrupted by bumbling comedian Claude Dampier and that miracle of modern transport - the penny farthing...
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.
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.
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)
Non-Fiction19027 minsSilent Location: Headingley
Athletes and acrobats wow the crowds at the annual Cycling Club carnival.
National Bicycle Week Begins
Speeding wheels and speedy reels… Thrilling scenes of high-speed cycle racing are captured with a super-fast film camera.
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.
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
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
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.