Cycling Shorts


Ever since I set up the Leeds Bicycle Film Club it was always my intention to show a selection of short films as there is an amazing array of really creative and interesting short films out there.  The issue was working out how I was going to have the time to chase down all the permissions in order to curate an interesting evening.  Luckily Laura who knows everything about putting on films and as been invaluable in helping me was also interested and so as part of this years Yorkshire Festival we teamed up to do a cycle social evening which featured a documentary and a selection of shorts that I curated and Laura helped to get the permissions.

So I’ve now got a cracking evening of short films to put on.  There are 12 films, none longer that about 6 minutes and featuring all different types of film making from music video to Oscar winning animation, politics to humour to mock horror and featuring all different types of bikes and riding from lots of different countries.

As an added bonus a local cyclist and Super 8 film maker will be joining us to show us his short film as well as having a chat and answering questions on the film making process and the work that goes into making a short film.

So stick your cycling shorts on and come and see mine !

Date: Monday 17 October at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 in advance (tickets can be bought via the Eventbrite link opposite)


For The Love of Mud

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For our September film we are delving into the muddy world of cyclocross.  Who cannot remember the pure unadulterated joy of riding through a muddy puddle as a child, whooping with joy as mud splattered your face?  Well the cyclocross world has taken this feeling and bottled it riding laps of muddy fields during the winter, although there seems to be quite a bit a pain involved to me as it’s searingly tough.

For The Love Of Mud explores this world in all it’s forms from the tens of thousands who flock to the superprestige races in Belgium where the likes of Sven Nys are superstars to the northern British fields where happy amateurs do battle. The genre originally started so that road riders could continue to keep fit and race over the winter in the off season but has now developed into a fast growing sport loved by racers and fans alike.

Benedict Campbell spent two years making the Love of Mud providing a beautiful history and narrative on the “religion” of cyclocross.

Date: Monday 19 July at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)

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Slaying the Badger


With the Tour de France upon us this months film looks back at a classic rivalry from the 1986 tour.  Cycling, like most sports, loves a classic rivalry but nothing spikes that rivalry more than when the riders are on the same team as was the case with Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault.  The story goes that Greg agreed to help Hinault win the 1985 tour to become a record equalling 5 times tour winner but the deal was that it would be reciprocated the following year with Hinault helping Lemond.  However was Hinault really going to pass up the chance to try and be the record tour winner?

Hinault aka the Badger was known for his ruthless streak and he brilliantly describes how he did not renege on the deal saying that he would help Lemond win but he didn’t have to make it easy.  The documentary is not just the story of a sporting rivalry but rather two conflicting stories of the same event.  Lemond’s people have one version Hinaults’s another which, even though we may know the outcome of the race, adds intrigue and colour to the stories of the two great riders and rivals.

One lesson is clear.  Don’t mess with the Badger


Date: 18 July at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £4 in advance (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite) – all profits from this screening will be going to charity.


Jour de Fete


Jour de Fete (“The Big Day”) is a 1949 French comedy directed by the legendary Jacques Tati in his feature film directional debut.  It tells the story of an inept and easily distracted French postman who frequently interrupts his duties to converse with the local inhabitants, as well as inspect the travelling fair that has come to his small community. Influenced by too much wine and a newsreel account of rapid transportation methods used by the United States postal system, he goes to hilarious lengths to speed the delivery of mail while aboard his bicycle.

The film introduces what would be a key theme in Tati films, the over-reliance of Western society on technology to solve its (perceived) problems.  Tati beautifully illustrates the circular nature of this futile cycle for efficiency in a great moment in the film as he practices new biking techniques while on a merry go round. Yes, he’s getting faster, but he’s going in circles. Representing ideas of Modern society and efficiency, it shows that while the world is moving faster, it moves so fast it moves back in on itself.  Perhaps as prescient now as it was then ?

Originally released in 1949 and shot in black and white but also in Thomson colour, an early and untried colour film process.  In 1995 technology allowed the restoration of the colour copy which was finished and released by Tati’s daughter Sophie Tatischeff and cinematographer Francois Ede.

Join us for this warm, wry critique of modern life.

Date: 20 June at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist


12 years ago Marco Pantani was found dead, alone in his hotel room surrounded by cocaine, and our May film, to coincide with the Giro d’Italia, will be the screening of James Erskine’s powerful and moving documentary on the rise and fall of this controversial man.

Pantani was an extraordinary talent, driven by passion who captured the heart of the Italian nation.  He rode with a showmanship, swagger and panache that together with his appearance gave him the nickname Il Parata – The Pirate.  The fans on the mountain roadside will still display banners and graffiti in celebration and rememberance of Il Parata taken from them too early and in disgrace.  Was he sinner or sinned against and Erskine’s film explores that line.  Glory comes at a price and with Pantani this price was too much to pay invovling as it did a spiralling web of conspiracy, corruption, big business and doping that led to his complete destruction.

The title of the film is based on Dario Fo’s play Accidental Death of an Anarchist, a study of morality and bureaucracy in which plenty of people are complicit in a death that none of them need take responsibility for. The comparisons with Pantani and pro cycling as a whole over the last 20 years strike a powerful chord.

Join us for the journey into the dark heart of one of cyclings most charismatic and tragic figures – The Pirate and the murky seas he sailed in.

Date: 23 May at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)

BMX Bandits


The term cult classic is surely overused but this film must be in with a shout of being the genuine article.  Before Nicole Kidman took up a career cavorting with stuffed meerkats she used to be an actress and before she was famous she made her debut in this 80’s romp of kitsch and colour, set to the tune of an 80s synth soundtrack which maintains a buzzing energy throughout.

The film is perhaps a classic episode of Scooby Doo brought to life with the pesky kids taking on the villains and winning as they whizz around Sydney on BMX bikes careering through through various locations via a close up montage of helmets, kneepads, wristbands and pedals.

It was shot by Australian cinematographer John Seale, who went on to win an Oscar in 1996 for his work on a very different film: The English Patient. Low angle shots of cars, bikes, tracks, pavement, tyres gives the film a whooshing immediacy. While director Trenchard-Smith plays with the idea of kids as both problems and solutions.


BMX Bandits is a splash of brightly coloured, family fun mayhem.  Relive the 80’s with tales of your bunny hopping badness.  This film also of course gave it’s name to another cult classic – the indie band of the same name.

Date: 18 April at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)

All proceeds from this screening will be going to St Gemma’s Hospice #forJenn

A Sunday in Hell


Classics season is upon us and to celebrate the forthcoming battles on the cobbles we are showing the classic documentary A Sunday in Hell, directed by Jorgen Leth

This Danish film is a chronology of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race.  The race, along with the Tour of Flanders, is one of the most spectacular and feared one day races.  It features narrow sections of rough cobbled tracks that choke with dust on dry days and become slick and muddy in rain.  These challenging conditions mean that punctures and crashes are inevitable but if you do then getting back to the head of the race is real challenge.  To win is to go into cycling immortality and the winner receives one of the most iconic trophies in sport – a huge cobble stone like the ones they have just ridden over.

The film captures not just the events of the 1976 edition but the atmosphere of a professional race from the perspective of participants, organisers and spectators.  Each classics race is a duel between a few contenders, with outsiders looking to upset the odds, and the film begins by introducing the contenders Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaemink, Freddy Maertens and Francesco Moser each with their supporting riders who are charged with helping their team leader win.

The film gives views of the team directors, protesters (the race is halted for a while), spectators, mechanics and riders.  As the cobbled sections are entered the selection begins, riders puncture, crash, make the wrong move and the race plays out.  By the finish at the velodrome in Roubaix only a select few will be left to fight it out for the win.  Post race the exhausted riders, mired in dirt, give interviews in the velodrome’s showers, each cubicle is now adorned with the name of a previous winner.

Join us on 14 March at The Reliance in Leeds and enjoy an iconic documentary of an iconic race.

Date: 14 March at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)