Cycle hire romance

Love them or loathe them, Boris Bikes are now entwined in the fabric of our capital. Last month we reported on the new trend of customising the Barclays-sponsored cycles, and now London’s two-wheeled chariots have been used for another creative project – the winning film in Transport For London’s Cycle Revolution film competition.

TFL teamed up with Film London and the Bicycle Film Festival and tasked film-makers to create a short film of three minutes or less that celebrated the spirit of cycling in London.

A still from Butterley's winning film
A still from Butterley’s winning film

I guess by ‘the spirit of cycling in London’ the judges weren’t looking for stressful near collisions with buses or being cut up by a white van driver who then shouts obscenities in your direction, as the winning film Simon and Simone, by North London-based Lee Butterley, was a heart-warming short about finding love with a little help from the cycle hire scheme.

Taking a leaf out of the book of Shane Meadows, whose Eurostar-funded film Somers Town saw two young lads pursue their waitress crush to her hometown of Paris via the underground train, the film combined well-timed product placement with a romantic storyline.

Lee says, ‘We wanted to make a film which was simple, engaging and also showed how useful and accessible the Cycle Hire scheme is. We recorded the film in one afternoon traversing London from the Barbican to the South Bank to try and get as many iconic locations in as possible.

‘What we came up with is an old fashioned race-against-time, with the Barclays Cycle Hire bike saving the day and bringing two estranged lovers finally together.’

Simon and Simone find love via the Barclay's Cycle Hire scheme
Simon and Simone find love via the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme

Lee was awarded £1 000 for his film, which was screened for the first time at the Bicycle Film Festival this week.

Film London chief executive Adrian Wootton says, ‘It is fantastic for Film London to find partners, such as TFL, to offer a film-making competition which provides another platform to Londoners to get out there and make short films. Also it is wonderful to be celebrating cycling through film-making as London is undergoing an exciting cycling revolution.’

Let’s just hope this revolution is bloodless and crash-free.

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