Setting Off

Remember your first bike? Those first faltering moments after the stabilisers came off? A lifetime of cycling starts here.

The cycling bug bites early. Getting that first bike - be it racer, tourer, mountain bike, Chopper or BMX - is as much a rite of passage as the first day at school or swimming without armbands. Cycling means a chance to travel, to explore, and spend time away from mum and dad. These films evoke all the joy of a childhood on two wheels: the exploits and escapades, the stunts and tricks. But youthful exuberance has its risks, and film can be a powerful tool in making cycling safer. Armed with a cycling proficiency certificate, a well-tuned bike and the lessons of a legion of public information films, the youngsters of yesteryear could ride with confidence - always remembering to keep an eye out for that dastardly villain, the bike thief...

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

Sponsored film198321 mins Location: Yaxley

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

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Magazine and Review show19835 mins Location: Adderley Park Sta

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

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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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Cyclist Turning RightCyclist Turning Right

Instructional film/TV programme19831 mins

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

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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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The Ballad of the Battered BicycleThe Ballad of the Battered Bicycle

Children's19479 mins

Henry demonstrates his two-wheel tomfoolery, but there's no happy ending for this bike.

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Good Cycles Deserve Good RidersGood Cycles Deserve Good Riders

Public Information Filler19503 mins

The car-free, Kodachrome streets of 1950s London offer an idyllic environment for acting out the 'wrongs' of cycling safety.

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Mike Gets the MessageMike Gets the Message

Amateur film19666 mins Location: Aberdeen

Mischievous Mike's dangerous bike antics on the granite streets of Old Aberdeen prompt a chain reaction involving police and a cycling proficiency test for teenage schoolboys.

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Raleigh School of CyclingRaleigh School of Cycling

Industry sponsored film195514 mins Location: Nottingham

Nottingham youngsters Pat and Adrian learn to ride the Raleigh way.

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Be a Good CyclistBe a Good Cyclist

Public Information Filler19503 mins

Invaluable advice for the careful cyclist in a quintessentially British safety film.

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Stringing AlongStringing Along

Amateur film19474 minsSilent Location: Barnet

Careless cyclists beware! This award-winning amateur film lays out the perils and pitfalls of the road for young riders.

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Cycling Proficiency Scheme: Father and SonCycling Proficiency Scheme: Father and Son

Advert19591 mins

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

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A Boy Goes CyclingA Boy Goes Cycling

Amateur film196315 mins Location: Catford

Pedal power saves a dad's day in this colourful cycling safety film set in a sunny 60s South East London.

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Pedal CyclistsPedal Cyclists

Public Information Filler19472 mins

A witty, eccentric guide to safety on two wheels under the watchful eye of a pedalling angel.

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Road Signs and SignalsRoad Signs and Signals

Instructional film/TV programme1947 minsSilent Location: Leek

Cycling safety, 40s style, in a charming and unexpectedly exhilarating film shot in and around Leek, Staffordshire.

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Cycling ProficiencyCycling Proficiency

Training film/TV programme19498 mins

Kids learn to ride like the pros thanks to Britain's first cycling proficiency tests.

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Tony Buys a BikeTony Buys a Bike

Promotional194217 minsSilent Location: Harringay

A lucky schoolboy gets a brand new bike for Christmas in this charming wartime promotional film.

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No Short CutNo Short Cut

Children's196417 mins

This paean to the virtues of the Cycling Proficiency test is unusually told from the point-of-view of the bicycles themselves.