Cycling cinema in Leeds in time for Grand Depart

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FILM fans have been gearing up to see some cycling-themed movies at a special pop-up cinema in Leeds.

The ‘cycle cinema’ arrived at Left Bank Leeds this week and will show a variety of bike-related films.

But the cinema has an unusual twist.

Members of the audience are asked to use some pedal power and ride five specially designed static bike generators to provide the power for the screen, sound and movie.

The first film – the quirky animated classic, ‘Belleville Rendezvous’ – was shown on Tuesday, and more films will be shown throughout the week.

Aaron Christie, arts and community development manager at Left Bank Leeds, said: “It’s something unusual and different, which is why we wanted to be involved.

“Left Bank Leeds is quite a rare, unique space. It’s a special backdrop for events like this.

“Sometimes we are limited in what we can do because it is a listed building, but we have the space to try new things.”

He added: “It’s about celebrating and getting in the mood for the Tour de France.

“We are also trying to diversify our audiences a bit, and have had film groups and cycling groups come along.”

The cycle cinema is part of the venue’s Pedal Power Festival, which has been organised to celebrate the Grand Départ, which comes to Leeds on Saturday, July 5.

Two more films will be shown as part of the festival.

On Friday, June 27, ‘La Course en Tete’ – a documentary about legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx – will be shown at 8pm.

Contemporary drama ‘The Kid with a Bike’ will be shown at the same time on Tuesday, July 1.

The bikes for the Pedal Power Festival, which is supported by Leeds Inspired, were supplied by Leeds-based social enterprise Reaction Power, and the films were chosen in collaboration with the Hyde Park Picture House.

Grand Départ-themed beers are also on offer from Ilkley and Revolutions Breweries and Leeds-based Hungarian artist, Leon Varga, is exhibiting his cycling-themed “Hero of the Day” installation at the site on Cardigan Road in Burley. As part of the festival, Left Bank is also working with two local artists to offer workshops and talks to children and young people.

Alison Booth looks at recycled art and eco-friendly transport and produces colourful, chandelier-like sculptures from old bike wheels and plastic bags.

The final sculpture will be lit with LEDs and hung under Left Bank’s stunning arches.

For more about Left Bank Leeds, visit

For tickets, go to

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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