Freewheeling documentary the reel deal

Pupils from Meersbrook Bank School take part in Cycle to School event with the help of Sustrans Amy Baron-Hall
Pupils from Meersbrook Bank School take part in Cycle to School event with the help of Sustrans Amy Baron-Hall
Have your say

A century of cycling has been captured in a film to be shown across Sheffield as the city welcomes the Tour de France.

Velorama – which also features some of Yorkshire’s most stunning scenery – is to be screened in the Peace Gardens, Howard Street, South Street Park and The Plug nightclub as part of a 100-day festival celebrating the Grand Départ in July.

Residents will be encouraged to ‘cycle to the cinema’ to watch the free documentary, which has been put together with treasured archive footage as part of the Tour de Cinema, organised by Sheffield Doc/Fest.

And the festival will conclude at the city’s Showroom Cinema on July 5, before the most-watched annual sporting event in the world passes through the city the following day.

Award-winning director Daisy Asquith told The Star: “I was worried there wouldn’t be enough to put in the film but the archives have been brilliant, there were so many pieces in there we could use.

“There is some wonderful footage of Yorkshire in the film too, from city centres to the countryside.

“It’s a really exciting film and anybody who has ever ridden a bike will remember that feeling of freedom the first time.

“So even if people are not cyclists they can live vicariously through the cyclists in the film.”

Velorama also features Beryl Burton, from Leeds, who dominated cycle racing in the 1960s and 1970s, and who would cheekily pass sweets to her male counterparts as she raced past them.

Music from Bill Nelson footage is also included.

Daisy, who backed The Star’s Let’s Get Cycling campaign, said: “I’m really looking forward to the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, it’s going to be incredible.

“I will be here in Sheffield for quite a lot of it as part of the festival.”

The world premiere of Velorama, as well as of another movie called Trike to Bike, is in Bradford on March 28.

Jarvis Cocker’s film celebrating the century of stainless steel will also form part of the programme.

There are four open-air screenings lined up for June in Sheffield so far, with more in the pipeline.

For more details visit

Aim to become Amsterdam of the North

Everyone in Yorkshire will have access to a bicycle by 2023.

That is the ambitious aim of Cycle Yorkshire, the Tour de France’s flagship legacy campaign backed by all 21 Yorkshire local authorities, tourism firm Welcome to Yorkshire, and other partners.

Regional director of the scheme Graham Titchener said: “More Sky Rides and Breeze network, velodromes and cycle tracks are examples of things we would like to see happen in time.

“What we do promise is a unique thing nationally where the whole region has come together with one aim, to get people cycling.”

But there is no funding outside of existing local authority cash singled out for Cycle Yorkshire. Instead it is hoped private sector sponsorship could help yield widespread cycling change.

Graham said: “We want to develop at least a perception and the aim is to become more of an Amsterdam of the world – but they have had decades for this.

“We don’t aspire to become a cycling paradise by any means but we do aspire to become something better for cyclists.”

Around two thirds of the £7.5m funding for a string of cycleway improvements in the Peak District has been pledged by Government.

With the rest of the cash for the second phase of the Pedal Peak scheme coming from local councils, residents in Sheffield and Barnsley will be among the 3.5 million people within reach of four new cycle routes. They include the 12-mile Little Don Link from Beeley Wood to Winscar Reservoir, and the three-mile Little John Route and Hope Valley Link, from Bamford to Hathersage.

Work on the Hope Valley Link, which will involve a 2.5m wide shared route segregated from A6187 traffic, is due to be completed at the end of March.

Pupils saddle up to back Star campaign in spirit of Le Tour

We love our bikes! That was the message from youngsters at Meersbrook Bank Primary School in Sheffield as they saddled up to become the first to back The Star’s Let’s Get Cycling campaign.

The drive aims to boost health and fitness by urging everyone to embrace the spirit of Le Tour.

Pupils who rode to school enjoyed a free breakfast thanks to cycling charity Sustrans, and also logged their miles online as part of the Big Pedal initiative.

Headteacher Rachel Edwards said: “I’m a keen cyclist and it’s great to back the campaign because it is about promoting healthy lifestyles and keeping fit.

“The Tour de France is going to be a really exciting time in school.

“We are going to have a whole week themed around it later in the year.

“The pupils love cycling and it is much better for them and the environment to come in by bike than in a car.

“This year even more took part in the Big Pedal and next week they will come to school dressed as superheroes for another biking day.”

The Star is urging cyclists to come forward with their stories as part of our campaign. You might be an experienced race cyclist, a student who cycles to school, a businessman or woman who pedals to work – or maybe a family who love to cycle.

Email or contact @E_Beardmore on Twitter.