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Louise AllbrittonLouise Allbritton during the filming of San Diego, I Love you in 1944
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William HoldenWilliam Holden outside the Paramount Pictures Studio, circa 1954.
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Shirley TempleShirley Temple, seen shortly after her first cycling lesson, riding on a street in Palm Springs, CA, 1936
By Geoffrey Earl
It’s difficult to explain the popularity of Rides A Bike, a single-serve site featuring only black-and-white photographs of movie stars riding bicycles, the captions a variation of the actor’s name and “rides a bike.”
Since the site launched in November 2010, thousands have scrolled through the promotional stills and candid shots of Rita Hayworth on a beach cruiser, Errol Flynn on a track bike and Humphrey Bogart speeding through a studio back-lot, one hand hanging casually in his pocket, with the calm and confident expression of an everyday cyclist.
“Rides A Bike combines two of my passions in life: movies and bikes,” said the site’s curator, Steven Rea.
Rea, a longtime film critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer, is also a daily commuter, pedaling around town on a 1970s Raleigh DL-1, the 28-inch-wheel, rod brake “postman’s bike.”
After quietly collecting stars-on-bikes photos for several years, “but not with any purpose in mind,” Rea launched Rides A Bike without much expectation. “The response was … pretty remarkable,” he said.
The site currently has more than 2,000 followers. Its photos have earned almost 4,500 “likes” on Facebook and received praise on numerous cycling, movie and fashion websites. A book may be on the horizon, too.
With two or three pictures posted each week, Rea is always searching for new material. He scours eBay and Google Image, peruses New York memorabilia shops and, increasingly, receives photos from fans. His current must-find: a photo from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning of Albert Finney riding a 1950s Raleigh Lenton (that’s a hint, folks).
Rea’s long list of favorites include one of Gene Tierney with her dog; Marlene Dietrich “in that impossible outfit” from The Spoilers and a revealing shot of Geneviève Bujold from the obscure King of Hearts – with more than 750 notes, it’s also the site’s most talked-about image.
“There are some true fans of the movie – it’s a cult classic – but I think mostly there are other reasons for its popularity, if you get my drift.”
See who else rides a bike at ridesabike.tumblr.com