Velorama Storyville


Velorama

Film looking at a century of cycling, using archive BFI footage on a journey from the invention of the modern bike, through the rise of recreational cycling, to competitive races.


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Transcript


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PULLEY CRANKS

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Once upon a time, there was a man in a hurry.

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He ran and he ran and he ran.

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No need to run, go by train.

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Unfortunately, the train didn't stop at his station.

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All right, then, try the bus.

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And when his turn came... "Sorry, full up."

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Now what to do?

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Wait for the next bus?

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For the man in a hurry, for the man who wanted to get somewhere,

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the problem was a real one.

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BELL RINGS

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And then he made a discovery...the bicycle.

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Here at last was the solution to his problem,

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a simple, practical, efficient, always available form of transport,

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the bicycle.

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Riding high, riding free, master of your own fate.

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This IS the way to travel.

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Your story now is clear to me, I see where lies the blame.

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And when the jury does declare, I think they'll find the same.

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ALL MUTTER

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Now foreman of the jury speak, your verdict I will note.

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The boy is guilty, if it please Milord, by majority vote.

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We find you guilty and I say you shall no longer ride.

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For two long years, you'll have to walk.

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Take that poor thing outside.

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Augustus Windsor, the world's oldest living cyclist,

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is going to turn a corner!

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I do hope there are plenty of young cyclists watching this.

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What a lot they can learn.

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And now he's looking behind him, nothing too close.

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He makes a signal, no doubt about that one.

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Absolutely clear what he's going to do.

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And now he moves to the centre of the road.

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He's stopped at the junction waiting for traffic.

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Now a watchful eye all round.

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He signals again...and he's off!

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A classic right-hand turn, every movement absolutely perfect.

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That must be why he's stayed alive so long.

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TICKING

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GROANING

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YAWNING

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MAN SIGHS

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A day older.

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HE SIGHS

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Every morning now I'm awake before the alarm.

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Bad sign that. Never used to be like that.

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I lie here worrying. What about?!

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About being set responsibilities says Tuffin.

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The longer I lie here the worse it gets.

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WOMAN TALKS INDISTINCTLY I can hear people outside doing things.

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Downstairs. They never worry.

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Like regular, on the dot as usual.

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Punctuality is a virtue.

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Get yourself into a deep enough punctual rut,

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then you don't have to think, so you don't worry.

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Listen to her downstairs.

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..caught him the other morning looking at the back of his head...

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Oh, shut up! Shut up!

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-MAN CALLS:

-Tony! I won't tell you again.

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One. HE GROANS

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HE YAWNS

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-Two.

-Tony!

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Three. God, it's cold!

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RADIO PIPS SOUND

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BIRDSONG

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THUNDER

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-WOMAN:

-The next train on platform five

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will be the Cyclist Special Excursion to Rugby.

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Will passengers travelling on this train

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please go to the rear end of the platform.

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Rugby?! Who wants to go to Rugby?!

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Well, wouldn't you like a day touring in wooded Warwickshire

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or sturdy Leicestershire or historic Northamptonshire?

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All right, then, Rugby's the place to start from.

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What about their bikes?

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That's easy, just take some of the cycle vans from the runs to the continental ports

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and put them in those.

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A properly equipped touring cycle

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can be quite an expensive piece of machinery,

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so what do the railways do?

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They hang it on a rubber covered hook.

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And quite right too,

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because after careful investigation

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the Cycle Touring Commission of the International Touring Alliance

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decided that this was THE way to carry cycles by train.

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Most people, as soon as they get anywhere near a railway,

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are suddenly attacked by pangs of insatiable hunger

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or unquenchable thirst or both.

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Especially if they've been up since seven o'clock.

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Especially on a Sunday morning.

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Especially if they're cyclists.

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Well, there you are,

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we've travelled to Rugby, toured through parts of Warwickshire,

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Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, history and the British character

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and now we are going back home. All in one day.

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But that's the sort of thing that happens on these excursions,

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you can go farther and see countryside

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that you'd never normally touch in a day's outing.

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And on the way back, you can enjoy it all over again

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by talking about it or dreaming about it.

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Of the many sports that there are,

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I never thought that I should become interested in cycling.

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It's a sport that doesn't draw tremendous crowds,

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but those who do follow it

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do so with an enthusiasm that is quite catching.

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So that I found it exciting to watch

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and was then able to pick my own star to cheer for.

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This is how I came to know a young cyclist

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busy trying to reach the top class of the sport

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and building up his stamina with roadwork.

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This roadwork often takes him past one of those quiet country corners

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which you can still find near London.

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It is a favourite spot of mine

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and now when Harry passes he stops to talk awhile.

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During our talks, I learnt that Harry is a true amateur,

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he doesn't make any money from his chosen sport,

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indeed he has to meet his own expenses.

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So, of course, he has to earn his own living.

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But his work is intimately connected with cycling,

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because he helps his father who has a cycle shop

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and a small workshop which makes

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special racing bicycles for special customers.

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Harry suggested that I might like to come and see where he works.

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One of the first things he did when I had located the shop

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was to take me up the stairs to show me some of the cycles and equipment

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that he and his father had made for famous cyclists.

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He's particularly proud of the fact they have made machines

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which have taken part in the great touring races.

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In busy international events, in which Commonwealth teams take part,

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the competitors have to cover 1,400 miles in a fortnight.

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# This is the bike crossing the moor

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# Living the dream of winning the tour

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# Red and white blood cells locked in battle

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# While passing those tolls for diesel or cattle...

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# Up the jawbone, steady climb,

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# The gradient's cruel

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# And still on time

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# Rocking and rolling, heartbeat pounding

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# Fighting the physics, gasping, sounding...

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# Legs of iron, legs of steel

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# Legs of lead but hard to feel

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# Cogs and cadence, revolutions

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# Following signs through the motions

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# A devil-may-care graceful tread

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# A notice at the bar, a staring ahead

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# Fingers clamped like vultures' claws

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# In the gutter, looking at stars...

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# The common or garden this is their story

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# Adrenaline rush to pain and glory. #

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He went on to show me that the cycles which are used

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in this class of competition have some special features,

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lightweight wheels and tyres which can be peeled off if they puncture.

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I can think of many occasions when I'd have been glad of one like that.

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While we had been talking, I had been busy sketching

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and I was beginning to feel

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that I was getting close to a likeness of Harry.

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Our conversation switched again to racing

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and the medals and trophies Harry had already won.

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He reminded me that later that day I was to go along to the cycle track

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to watch him put in some practice laps as a warm-up for a race that evening.

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I was trying my hand at catching one or two action studies

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and at one of the changeovers, Harry peeled off

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and came across to see what progress I was making.

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For me I was not only pleased with my sketches,

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but that I had chosen a winner as my subject.

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This is a Morley CC Film Unit production.

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Bringing to you the British Cyclo-Cross Championship of 1962.

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But first of all, we're here at the start of the women's event.

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A preliminary event

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run on the short lap of the championship course

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on this classic circuit at Tingley.

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You see them away now.

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Beryl Burton of Morley CC is world champion

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along with Valerie Rushworth

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another national champion of the Monckton CC.

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And as they go up the hill towards the Tingley Lane,

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it's Valerie Rushworth who is leading from Beryl Burton.

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The race is of a duration of four-and-a-half miles approximately

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over this very rough course.

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And there's Beryl, who has taken up the lead from Valerie.

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As you see her climb over the wall, she enters into the field

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and makes her way towards the stream down the hill.

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And there's Valerie Rushworth

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strongly challenging Beryl for second position.

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And there goes Pauline.

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If she carries on like that,

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I'm afraid the bicycle won't last very much longer.

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And there's Beryl coming towards the finish.

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She must be the winner of this event.

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And it follows the pattern

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which is usually set by this brilliant woman cyclist.

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Now here comes Beryl towards the finish.

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Yes, Beryl Burton of Morley CC is the winner.

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And she doesn't seem at all perturbed.

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# Eyebrows upwards to the heavens

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# When she said she rode a bike

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# Beryl Burton local hero

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# Never called just a wife...

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# Rhubarb farmer, record breaker

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# Leaving all the boys behind.

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# Sweetly does it, consolation

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# Oh, I'm sure they won't mind...

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# Come along, Beryl, stop your knitting

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# No-one could ever stand in her way

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# Hard as nails, an inspiration

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# Her spirit'll never fade away. #

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-Morning, George.

-Morning, Charles.

-Morning.

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Now, suppose...just suppose you fall off your bike,

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suppose your brakes give out.

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Ambulance.

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Ambulance.

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-Ambulance.

-Look again at this dangerous cyclist.

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HORN TYRES SCREECH

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Ambulance.

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Phew! Glad that's over.

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A decade ago, some scientists could say space flight is unthinkable.

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Now giant radio dishes send and receive television pictures

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by means of satellites in outer space.

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The specialist who told this man his heart was too weak

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and he would never walk again could not know

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how soon research would produce an answer.

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Now, a few years later, only an occasional check-up is needed

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to ensure that his heart is beating regularly.

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The control is electronic.

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A wire goes up the artery...

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..is looped just under the skin of his neck...

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..and connects to a control unit buried under the armpit.

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The control is electronic.

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# The control is electronic

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# Electronic

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# The control is electronic

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# Electronic

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# His heart is beating regularly

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# His heart is beating regularly. #

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MAN SHOUTS INDISTINCTLY

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Go!

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Documentary looking at a century of cycling. Commissioned to mark the arrival of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire, the film makes full use of stunning British Film Institute footage to transport the audience on a journey from the invention of the modern bike, through the rise of recreational cycling, to gruelling competitive races. Award-winning director Daisy Asquith artfully combines the richly-diverse archive with a hypnotic soundtrack from cult composer Bill Nelson in a joyful, absorbing watch for both cycling and archive fans.


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