The Bicycle Film Festival returns to London this week, opening tonight with a kick-off party at the Oakley store in Covent Garden.

The festival is the brainchild of New Yorker Brendt Barbur, who was knocked off his bike by a bus.

Rather than sit on the sofa and feel sorry for himself, Barbur came up with the idea, partly to fill some time.

Eleven years on, he can consider his diary fully booked – the festival now visits over 25 destinations around the world.

There’s something for everyone here, from 1920s black-and-white to unsanctioned city races.

Here’s our pick of the films to watch; the bicycle short films are also recommended.

All films are being shown at the Barbican on Silk Street. For tickets and more details, visit www.barbican.org.uk.



Friday October 7

Rad


It’s the 25th anniversary screening of Rad, the tale of Cru Jones, a scratch BMX racer looking to compete in the Helltrack event.

The problem is, he is constantly blocked from entering the big event, for spurious reasons, by the deceitful president of the Federation of American Bicyclists. It doesn’t look like he’ll get his chance.

However, on the way to overcoming obstacles, he finds love and the help of teammates – there’s even bizarre freestyle bike moves on the dance floor of a high school disco.

Rumour has it that original star Bill Allen is flying to London from Los Angeles to watch it.

Film starts at 7pm

Racing Towards Red Hook

This film follows three cyclists, of varied backgrounds, as they take part in one of New York’s biggest underground races, which pierces through the heart of Brooklyn.

Twenty laps, one gear, no brakes – and a cobblestone trophy up for grabs. It’s edge-of-the-seat, high octane fare.

Starts at 9.15pm

Saturday October 8

Sunchasers

Sunchasers is the story of Paracyclists as they prepare for, and take part in, the 2008 Paralympic Games.

There’s 53 year old seizure sufferer Barbara, Karissa who is legally blind and a number-one rated tandem cyclist and Greta, who was born with one forearm.

Starts at 2pm

Sunday October 9

With My Own Two Wheels

This powerful documentary ties together five cyclists from across the globe and all walks of life: an Indian teenager, a disabled Ghanaian woman, a Guatemalan farmer, a Zambian health worker and an American teenager.

It all comes down to how the bicycle can change the world, a pedal stroke at a time.

Afterwards, there will be a Q & A session with RadioShack directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel.

Starts at 9pm