The Reel Raleigh: 8 Times Nottinghamshire's Famous Cycling Brand Appeared on Screen

Words: George White
Wednesday 21 September 2022
reading time: min, words

You think bikes, you think Raleigh - and that’s largely down to their immeasurable influence on the big and small screen. Here are some of their finest moments in showbusiness… 


1945: How a Bicycle is Made

No prizes for guessing what this is about… Made by Raleigh themselves, this twenty-minute deep-dive into the bicycle manufacturing process provided an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the world of Raleigh - long before Gregg Wallace took over the factory scene.


1960: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Is any film more Nottingham than Saturday Night and Sunday Morning? Written by our own Alan Sillitoe and shot on location in places like Savoy Cinema and, of course, Raleigh Bicycle Works, this is a proper Notts production - with Eastwood’s master bicycle-makers at its centre.


1983: BMX Bandits

While Raleigh, we should point out, are against banditry in all forms, the influence of this cheesy 1980s crime-comedy can’t be overstated. After seeing Nicole Kidman tearing through the streets of Sydney on a Raleigh Burner, countless Aussies scrambled to their nearest bike store to grab one for themselves. 


1986: Quicksilver

Before bagging an Emmy nomination and raking in the dollar with a seemingly never-ending EE advertising deal, Kevin Bacon rocked up on a Raleigh Competition in this admittedly forgettable thriller. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 13%, it’s safe to say the film had a far worse reception than the bike.


1995: Jumanji

Is there anything cooler than a Raleigh Chopper? For the youngsters in the hit 1995 film Jumanji, the answer is an emphatic no. Cruising around Keene, New Hampshire, without a care in the world, a gang of teenage scallywags opted for Choppers as their transport of choice. Step aside, Hell’s Angels.


2008: Happy-Go-Lucky

Happy-Go-Lucky does what it says on the Blu-Ray cover - it’s a heartwarming, uplifting story of one schoolteacher’s unbreakable optimism. So it goes without saying that our main character, played by Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins, sports a Raleigh Twenty; it’s the epitome of sweetness.


2016: Stranger Things

You may have heard of this show… Alongside Kate Bush and Dungeons & Dragons, bikes are one of the most memorable aspects of this hit Netflix series. Much like the game-obsessed youngsters of New Hampshire, this powered-up group of youths loves a Chopper - arguably as much as they love saving the world from monsters.


2017: Pedalling Dreams: The Raleigh Story

Yeah, okay, this one probably doesn’t need explaining - but we’ve got a word count to fill, so bear with us. This fascinating one-hour documentary from Steve Humphries details the remarkable rise of Raleigh, from their humble beginnings in a working class town to their current status as a beloved global brand.

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