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On Yer Bike: A History of Cycling on Film on DVD in June

2 June 2015

A collection of 29 films titled On Yer Bike: A History of Cycling on Film takes an enlightening look at the British cycling experience from 1899 to 1983. Expertly curated from the holdings of BFI National Archive and released in an extensive 2-DVD set this month, On Yer Bike brings together short dramas, animations, advertisements, newsreel items, and public information films to provide a nostalgic and entertaining trip down memory lane for cycling enthusiasts, and British documentary aficionados, of all ages.

From nineteenth-century ladies elegantly displaying their proficiency to the cut-throat 1928 Olympic Trials at the Herne Hill Velodrome and careless 1980s BMX kids meeting untimely ends, the films on this set offer up a century of cycling in Britain whilst celebrating classic brands such as Raleigh, Hercules, Moulton, Humber, Rudge and Witcomb.

Among the highlights of the collection are: Rudge Whitworth – Britain’s Best Bicycle (1902), which is one of the oldest adverts held in the BFI National Archive; Cycling the Channel (1929), why swim when you can cycle on water?; Tom’s Ride (1944), a beautiful precursor to the CFF (Children’s Film Foundation) films, but distinctly lacking a Hollywood ending!; Riding on Air (1959), the popularity of cycling in 1950s Britain as seen by the COI (Central Office of Information); The Racing Cyclist (1966), a portrait of the Lightweight Racing Cyclist with a focus on the Witcomb Racing Cycle family business; and Cyclist Turning Right (1983), BMX kids – beware of oncoming traffic!

On Yer Bike: A History of Cycling on Film will be released in the UK as a 2-DVD set on 22nd June 2015 by the BFI at the RRP of £22.99.

The films included are as follows.

Disc One

  • Lady Cyclists (1899) 1 min

  • Race for the Muratti Cup at Manchester Wheelers' Annual Meet (extract) (1901) 10 mins

  • Manchester and Salford Harriers (Extract) (1901) 3 min

  • Rudge Whitworth – Britain’s Best Bicycle (1902) 1 min

  • Flying the Foam and Some Fancy Diving (1906) 2 mins

  • Fat Man on a Bicycle (1914) 1 min

  • National Bicycle Week (1923) 1 min

  • Olympic Trials (1928) 1 min

  • Cycling the Channel (1929) 1 min

  • Woman Wheelers (1929) 1 min

  • From Acorn to Oak (1938) 5 mins

  • Cinema Adverts Humber, Raleigh, Rudge (1938) 1 min

  • Tom's Ride (1944) 11 mins

  • How a Bicycle is Made (1945) 17 mins

  • Stringing Along (1947) 4 mins

  • The Ballad of the Battered Bicycle (1947) 9 mins

  • Pedal Cyclists (1947) 2 mins

  • Good Cycles Deserve Good Riders (1950) 3 mins

  • Skid Kids (1953) 47 mins

Disc Two

  • Cyclists Special (1955) 15 mins

  • Hercules: Lion Cubs (1956) 1 min

  • Cyclists Abroad (1957) 15 mins

  • Cycling Proficiency Scheme Father and Son (1959) 1 min

  • Riding on Air (1959) 15 mins

  • The Racing Cyclist (1966) 13 mins

  • The Moulton Bicycle (1972) 20 mins

  • Free Wheeling (1979) 13 mins

  • It's a Bike (1983) 21 mins

  • Cyclist Turning Right (1983) 1 mins

The set also includes a 28-page illustrated booklet with an introductory essay and notes on each film by curators from the BFI National Archive.