Breaking Away
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Cycling the mean streets of Hollywood

Breaking Away
Seemingly everyone’s favorite bicycle movie, this 1979 hit features not one but two nasty spills for the title character, Dave Stoller, “a small-town teen obsessed with the Italian cycling team who vies for the affections of a college girl.” In the end, everyone is living happily ever after -- and riding bikes. Then again, it’s set in Bloomington, Ind., where things move just a tad bit slower than in L.A.

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town?  (20th Century Fox )
This Is 40
Pete (right, played by Paul Rudd) has the bike, the clothes, the safety gear -- and the bad luck to run into the open door of a Range Rover. Probably everyone who has ridden much in Los Angeles has a similar story to tell. In fact, check out this anecdote from Damien Newton, bicyclist, bicycle advocate, founder and editor of Streetsblog LA.

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town? (Suzanne Hanover / Universal Studios)
Premium Rush
Like its 1986 predecessor, “Quicksilver,” 2012’s “Premium Rush” deals with the fast-paced world of bike messengers in Manhattan. “Quicksilver” at least had Kevin Bacon. Neither film will make you want to be a bike messenger in Manhattan. It is interesting, though, to see just how tough bikes, and their riders, can be, at least when there are Hollywood stuntmen involved. Mark this one “Professional riders only; do not attempt.”

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town? (Sarah Shatz / Columbia TriStar)
City of Angels
OK, it’s not a bike movie. It’s a, well, it’s a mess, really. Angel (as in guy with wings, God, etc.) Nicholas Cage falls in love with real person and doctor Meg Ryan. So smitten is he that he becomes a fallen angel, giving up eternal life for his lady love. Alas, just as love blooms, she ignores basic bike safety rules -- no helmet, riding too fast in the middle of a winding road, daydreaming -- and, when girl meets truck, girl loses. And so does our ersatz angel, who is now stuck on Earth as a regular guy -- with no gal.

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town? (Murray Close / Warner Bros. )
American Flyers
As if just riding a bike isn’t dangerous enough sometimes, in this 1985 pic, Kevin Costner risks it all by entering the Hell of the West road race, even though he has a potentially fatal brain aneurysm. He’s pitted against his arch-rival, Muzzin, which has to be among the worst character names ever. And yes, guys falls off their bikes. And no, Costner doesn’t die. And “Waterworld” was awful, but “American Flyers” is no “Lawrence of Arabia” either.

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town?  (Warner Bros. )
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
So who doesn’t remember the bicycle scene from this 1969 classic Western? Paul Newman -- clearly an early adopter when it comes to technology -- takes Katharine Ross for a ride on his newfangled contraption, the bicycle, while Robert Redford sleeps off a night of bliss with the selfsame Ross, all while Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” plays. Plus there’s the obligatory crash, though it’s just pigs and mud, neither of which mars Newman’s perfection.

Sharing the Road: Can L.A. be a cyclist’s town? (Twentieth Century Fox)