Get on your bikes and ride! The best bicycle scenes in movies


Word is that Stephen Frears is developing a movie on the life of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, with Ben Foster being touted to take the lead role. But if the film does become a reality, will its bike riding moments match those below? No motorbikes allowed, thank you – these scenes are strictly pedal-powered.

14. Transporter 3

The third Transporter movie is pretty mundane stuff, but it is elevated by two sequences: one in which Jason Statham rescues his own car from drowning (seriously) and this one in which he displays some nifty skills on two wheels instead of four.

13. Quicksilver

It’s Flashdance meets Fame meets Footloose… with bikes. If you thought bikes were cool now, you should have seen the ’80s, where they were cool enough to have street trick battles. In probably the coolest film about bike couriers ever, Kevin Bacon watches some guys old enough to know better behaving like 10-year-olds.

12. A Scanner Darkly

Cartooned versions of Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr, Winona Ryder and Woody Harrelson arguing about a bike? You got it.

11. The Goonies

The genius of this scene from The Goonies is that all of us at one time or another in our childhoods had to borrow some little kid’s bike to perform some errand or important mission.

10. American Flyers

The ’80s were a more innocent time. All you needed to get a movie greenlit was Kevin Costner’s ‘tache and somebody pulling a wheelie.

9. The Wizard of Oz

The scariest woman on a bicycle ever.

8. Gummo

The scariest kids on bicycles ever.

7. Project A

What you or I see as a device to get us from A to B, Jackie Chan sees as a necessary tool to beat people up with. I would hate to be stuck behind that guy in the cycle lane.

6. Bicycle Thieves

In Vittorio de Sica’s classic 1948 movie, a man gets his bike stolen and, er, that’s uh… it. But it’s beautiful. Here is the sad moment when the titular bike is swiped by the titular thieves.

5. Napoleon Dynamite

‘You ever take it off any sweet jumps?’ Why yes, Napoleon, I do. Mind your balls, though.

4. ET the Extra-Terrestrial

Hankies at the ready. Damn you Spielberg, convincing a generation of children they could fly to the moon on their BMXes.

3. BMX Bandits

I’m afraid to go back and watch all of Aussie movie BMX Bandits, as famous for giving Nicole Kidman her first screen role as it is for its biking action. I think I’ll just remember it being perfect. Who didn’t want to take their Grifter down a water slide?

2. The Great Muppet Caper

It’s time to play the music… it’s time to ride the bikes! The Muppets have form when it comes to bicycles – Kermit the Frog rides one in various outings, but this sequence in The Great Muppet Caper takes some beating. Filmed in London’s Battersea Park, it is a marvel. How the heck did they do it? Who cares, just sit back in your saddle and enjoy the ride…

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

This is just bliss. Sometimes all you need for a brilliant scene is a fantastic actor and a bike. Paul Newman did his own bike riding in this bit from Butch Cassidy…, apart from the part where he crashes into a fence, which was done by the film’s cinematographer, Conrad L Hall. His attempts to impress Katharine Ross to the tune of Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head (sung by BJ Thomas), eventually lead him into a bullpen. The bike scene in Butch Cassidy… is whimsical, but the contraption represents the onset of modernity. It’s telling then that once Butch and Sundance (Robert Redford) go on the run, Newman utters the great line when throwing the invention away: ‘The future’s all yours, you lousy bicycle.’ Sometimes you can’t beat a good horse.



4 Responses to “Get on your bikes and ride! The best bicycle scenes in movies”

  1. Surprised that Pee Wee didn’t fit. He must’ve been #15. Or maybe his many scenes split your votes. The escape from the studio lot, the Tour de France win or the scene where he’s attempting tricks like the BMXers in the park are all great. Sure, he fell on his last trick, but he meant to do that.

  2. hehe. you make a convincing argument, Sean.

  3. Surprised not to see ‘ Breaking Away’ in the list.

  4. Why start numbering every movie in the opposite order?

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