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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?

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.

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The ProgramThe Program

Biopic2015103 minsDirector: Stephen Frears

Ben Foster is Lance Armstrong in this kinetic account of the cyclist who fell from grace, from acclaimed director Stephen Frears.

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The Kid with a Bike The Kid with a Bike

Drama201187 minsDirector: Luc Dardenne

The Dardennes' powerful, award-winning drama tells of a troubled and volatile young teenager abandoned by his dad and 'adopted' by a hairdresser

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Skid KidsSkid Kids

Children's195349 minsDirector: Don Chaffey

Young 'Swanky' Clarke, leader of the Burton Bullets Cycle Speedway Club, foils bicycle thieves on the streets of 1950s Bermondsey.

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Raleigh 'Raincheck' AdvertRaleigh 'Raincheck' Advert

Advert19765 mins

Send in the clowns! Raleigh demonstrates its latest cycle safety innovation in unconventional style.

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Hercules: Lion CubsHercules: Lion Cubs

Advert19561 mins

A pair of cheeky lion cubs star in this animated advertisement for the 'Finest Bicycle Built Today'.

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From Acorn to OakFrom Acorn to Oak

Anthology19385 minsDirector: Montgomery Tully

A birthday card in film form, celebrating 50 years of the Dunlop pneumatic tyre.

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Cyclists AbroadCyclists Abroad

Documentary195715 minsDirector: Tony Thompson

A British Cyclists' Touring Club party explores 1950s Salzburg and the Austrian Tyrol in this lesser known British Transport Film.

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Free WheelingFree Wheeling

Sponsored film197913 minsSilentDirector: Alan Ross

Where have all the bicycles gone? Plenty of 70s flavour in a government-sponsored film aimed at promoting safer cycling initiatives.

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Wheels of LifeWheels of Life

Advert19298 minsSilent

Bonkers bikes promo. They don't make 'em like this any more... or do they?

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Tom's RideTom's Ride

Children's194411 minsDirector: Darrel Catling

Temptation on two wheels: should young Tom use the money he's found to buy himself a bike? Or should he do the right thing?

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A Boy, a Girl and a BikeA Boy, a Girl and a Bike

Romance194991 minsDirector: Ralph Smart

Honor Blackman and Diana Dors star in a tale of love, theft and deception in a Yorkshire cycling club.

More Cycling on Film in our Free collection.