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.
'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
The bicycle seems like it should be a great subject for a documentary. It's a beautifully simple technology, a great thing for the environment, a symbol of freedom and independence (especially for kids), and a device for sport. It's no wonder people really really get in to them.
This film, which I rented on Vimeo, promised to cover all of that. And it did, but somehow it didn't show the passion this machine creates.
It's a highly professional documentary with a clean look and some neat archival footage and animations. The film pursues three threads about cycling in Britain, about a bike/planning advocacy organization and its successes (the transport part), a young track racer (the sport part) and bike makers (the technology/industry part). There are occasional brief glimpses of other types of cyclists.
But somehow the pieces never mesh together and I never got a clear idea of why most of these people were so involved with bikes instead of something else. Occasionally people in the film talk about a passion for bikes, but we never really see it or feel it. It could be the film tried to cover too much. Maybe it would make more sense to really focus on the bike as a green technology, or the bike as social justice, or the bike as a racing partner -- but not all at one time.
Here are some alternatives where a love for bikes is featured prominently: Pedal (2001) -- A gritty documentary about bike messengers and why they can't stop. With My Own Two Wheels (2011) -- the bike as a tool for quality of life and social justice. Breaking Away (1979) -- A classic. A small town boy and a race that helps him come of age. ET (1982) -- These kids live on their BMX. And if you're looking for something kitsch, consider: BMX Bandits (1983) -- Nicole Kidman does some awesome tricks. If you only have time for one bike movie this month, consider one of those.
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