Why is the bicycle back in fashion? The film explores this and tells the story of cycling in the land that invented the modern bicycle, it's birth, decline and re birth from Victorian origins to today.
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'Bicycle' is a 90 minute documentary, asking the question 'why is cycling and the bicycle back in fashion?' The film, which is directed by BAFTA winning director and keen cyclist Michael B. Clifford, tells the story of cycling in the land that invented the modern bicycle, its birth, decline and re-birth from Victorian origins to today. The film weaves bicycle design, sport and transport through the retelling of some iconic stories and features interviews with notable contributors Sir Dave Brailsford, Gary Fisher, Chris Boardman, Ned Boulting, Sir Chris Hoy, Tracy Moseley, Mike Burrows and many more, plus great archive, animation and music. 'Bicycle' is a humorous, lyrical and warm reflection on the bicycle and cycling within its place in the British national psyche.Written by
This film plots the rise and fall of cycling in Britain. From the penny farthing bike that only athletes could use, to the safety bicycle invented in Coventry by a car manufacturer, to the modern day passion and success of cycling amongst a wide variety of 2014 British society.
The bicycle was massively popular in the 1930's as a cheap and pleasant form of personal transport. It was still popular in the 1950's but then the economic boom from the 1960's and greater availability of cheap cars meant people switched from bike to car. This move was exacerbated by the Buchanan Report of transport planning, which ignored the needs of the cyclist in favour the motorist. From the crucial early 60's until the early 80's all town planning was devised based on the needs of the motorist, with no provision for cyclists, which meant cycling in cities became more risky and less attractive.
The film looks at the rise of the cyclist voluntary group, Sustrans, from building one off-road cycle route from Bristol to Bath along an old railway line with just a few tools and volunteers, to its £42m lottery funding to create a National Cycle Network in 1995.
It also charts the rise of competitive cycling in Britain. At one time British cyclists were only good at time-trialling (a timed race where you cycle alone) and no good at other cycle races. The film suggests this may be because all cycle races were banned by British authorities for being too dangerous.
Cycling's new life started with Chris Boardman's gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 on a bicycle designed in Britain with help from Lotus, the sports car manufacturer. Then came lottery funding to fund training for British cyclists and the construction of modern velodromes. Then came 8 gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics. (The total medals were 12, twice as high as the second country in the medal table.)
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