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BBC4 to screen hour-long documentary charting Raleigh's history next week

Pedalling Dreams: The Raleigh Story airs on Wednesday 15 March at 9pm and will be on BBC iPlayer afterwards

If you grew up in the UK and are above a certain age, there’s a decent chance you’ll have owned a Raleigh bike at some point. Next week, an hour-long documentary on BBC4 will celebrate an iconic brand founded in the East Midlands in the 1880s that became a global powerhouse.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08j8mvl

Pedalling Dreams: The Raleigh Story airs at 9pm on Wednesday 15 March and charts the history of the Nottingham company that once operated the world’s biggest bike factory, at its peak employing 7,000 workers and turning out more than 1 million bicycles a year.

Some of those workers will feature in the documentary, made by Testimony Films, as will people who raced Raleigh bikes or simply rode them for leisure or as a means of getting around.

Now owned by the Netherlands-based Accell Group, whose other brands include Batavus, Diamondback and Lapierre, the BBC says “the programme takes viewers on a journey back to cycling's golden age - rediscover the thrill of learning to ride your first bike and find out what went on inside the Raleigh factory, where the company's craftsmen produced some of Britain's most iconic bikes.”

Raleigh celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012, but had ceased assembling bikes in the UK a decade earlier and as well as telling the story of its rise, “the documentary reveals what went wrong at Raleigh – the battles it had with its rivals, the controversy behind the design of the Chopper and the effect the closure of its factories had on its loyal workers.

> Got a picture of yourself with a Raleigh? Iconic British brand celebrates its 125th birthday

“This is the extraordinary untold story of the rise and fall of Raleigh bikes,” the BBC adds.

The programme will be repeated at 2.45am on Thursday 16 March, and will also be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

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ChancerOnABike | 6 years ago
1 like

I grew up in Nottm in the 70's/80's and lived there til '99. Everyone had Raleigh bikes. 

My first was a Budgie (got my first dead leg going over a 9 brick ironing board ramp for the first time), a chopper (took half my face off after getting into a rank slapper and it spilled me onto my face) then a Kelloggs Pro Tour racer which i loved. 

I always wanted a Raleigh Record Sprint tho. Started looking again recently and bought this 1978 beauty from. Guy in Toulouse. The guy's Grandad had it stored in his shed, absolutely immaculate - even has a Huret belt drive odometer on the front wheel. He seemed pretty chuffed it'd gone to a guy from Nottm too.

 

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LarryDavidJr | 6 years ago
0 likes

Strika, tomahawk, burner..... My youth was filled with Raleigh's....

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beezus fufoon | 6 years ago
1 like

purple tomahawk was my first bike - first big crash too, the handlebars fell off into the front wheel and I faceplanted

I found a blue one in a state of disrepair which I bought for a tenner about 15 years back - it's still in my spare room under a ton of bike bits waiting for new tyres

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ashliejay | 6 years ago
0 likes

Hope they cover their recent success as their bikes from the past 2-3 years have been really bloody good, and i just really hope raleigh can get past their dark times of BSOs throughout the noughties, and if the UK branch, took after the US branch, as they seem more vocal and getting out to trade shows to show that raleigh is back instead of just relying on their past to sell bikes.

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pwake replied to ashliejay | 6 years ago
0 likes
ashliejay wrote:

Hope they cover their recent success as their bikes from the past 2-3 years have been really bloody good, and i just really hope raleigh can get past their dark times of BSOs throughout the noughties, and if the UK branch, took after the US branch, as they seem more vocal and getting out to trade shows to show that raleigh is back instead of just relying on their past to sell bikes.

Raleigh USA have just introduced this beauty. I am sorely tempted...

https://www.raleighusa.com/carlton-team-ti

 

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ChancerOnABike replied to pwake | 6 years ago
0 likes
pwake wrote:
ashliejay wrote:

Raleigh USA have just introduced this beauty. I am sorely tempted...

https://www.raleighusa.com/carlton-team-ti

 

 

i found a few originals way cheaper on ebay from a german recon company

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Luv2ride | 6 years ago
3 likes

Got to watch this if only for the bit on "the controversy behind the design of the Chopper..."

Loved mine, alongside the Grifters, Tomahawks and Commandos of my mates....seem to remember it was always summer too....

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CygnusX1 replied to Luv2ride | 6 years ago
1 like
Luv2ride wrote:

Got to watch this if only for the bit on "the controversy behind the design of the Chopper..."

Loved mine, alongside the Grifters, Tomahawks and Commandos of my mates....seem to remember it was always summer too....

Mine was a Tomahawk, endless summers of riding on the scrub land behind the estate with my mates and sloghtly further afield on "the wints" (the winter hills, landscaped former coal mining slag heaps).

I remember one particularly steep sided gully known as the Wall of Death that we used stop at the top of, and then (once sufficient courage was summoned) ride down hanging on for dear life - what MTB riders would term "dropping in" these days.

Lose it riding down that on a raleigh chopper/tomahawk etc and you would be going home with bloodied limbs (not that you were expected back until tea time, so suck it up and try again). 

Then Raleigh brought out the Burner BMX range... most kids in the neighbourhood who managed to get one had the Tuff Burner (blue with the yellow mag wheels - and it wasn't long before broken yellow wheels were discarded near the wall of death) but the kid across the street from me (an only child) had the Super Tuff Burner with the gold frame & chain, black mag wheels ... I was seriously jealous.

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pockstone | 6 years ago
1 like

Might watch it Saturday night, Sunday morning.

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a.jumper | 6 years ago
0 likes

BBC has a cycling documentary and when do they schedule it? Clashing with The Club with Ned Boulting. Scum.

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SingleSpeed replied to a.jumper | 6 years ago
0 likes
a.jumper wrote:

BBC has a cycling documentary and when do they schedule it? Clashing with The Club with Ned Boulting. Scum.

 

Video one watch it later!

Avatar
burtthebike | 6 years ago
3 likes

This is really fantastic,amazing, wonderful.

Maybe next the BBC could actually report on cycling today?  Sorry, I apologise, of course they cuoldn't.

The BBC has taken an editorial decision to refuse to report on utility cycling.  They'll report on doping cyclists, or cycle helmets, but utility cycling is banned.  People only ride bikes for sport or because they've lost their driving licence, not to get from A to B or anything so prosaic.

Despite three weeks of BBC reporting on air pollution, I've yet to hear anything about Active Travel, cycling and walking.  it isn't that the BBC is biased, they just hate cyclists.

Avatar
a.jumper replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:

This is really fantastic,amazing, wonderful.

Maybe next the BBC could actually report on cycling today?  Sorry, I apologise, of course they cuoldn't.

The BBC has taken an editorial decision to refuse to report on utility cycling.  They'll report on doping cyclists, or cycle helmets, but utility cycling is banned.  People only ride bikes for sport or because they've lost their driving licence, not to get from A to B or anything so prosaic.

Despite three weeks of BBC reporting on air pollution, I've yet to hear anything about Active Travel, cycling and walking.  it isn't that the BBC is biased, they just hate cyclists.

Inside Out West reported that some cyclist in Bath breathed less pollution than a motorist. Maybe other cycling areas had similar reports. Wish it was national, though.

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ktache | 6 years ago
1 like

I am looking forward to this.

My good bike is a 96/97 Raleigh Dynatech/Special Products Division titanium 650.  I believe manufactured in Nottingham.  The polished 750 won the British mountain bike cup.  Raleigh replaced the glued titanium Ogre which came unglued, which meant I didn't get the signed photo of the bloke that made it.

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