You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Bush Bikes (David S Vadiveloo, 2002)

In a sleepy aboriginal settlement in central Australia three boys ride around together, on one bike. They cycle through the dusty landscape, across a bridge along the road to town. Once there, they gaze longingly through the window of a bike shop. The boys stop off at a rubbish tip and rummage around for bike parts, collecting tubes, spare wheels and seats. They use the collected materials along with natural resources, improvised tools and plenty of ingenuity, to construct two new bikes.

You will find a complete National 3 Literacy unit on 'Bush Bikes' here.

Classroom Activities

Print All


  1. Does the landscape give us any clues about where the film is set?

  2. How does the film represent young people?

  3. Does it reflect a negative or positive attitude towards young people?

  4. How do your students’ lives compare with the lives of the bush bike boys?

  5. Why are there shots of birds in the opening few shots of the film?



  • Play a short sequence from the film with sound only and ask pupils to write down what they hear. Then watch the film to compare ideas with actual images.

  • Ask students to predict what the film will be about. Perhaps discuss whether this will be fiction or documentary.


  • Freeze frame the film at 00:18 seconds in, on the long shot of the landscape and cars. Discuss the definitions of ‘establishing shot’. Discuss what this opening shot establishes in terms of location and setting.

  • As you play the rest of the film, ask students to look out for other examples of establishing shots in the film.

  • Screen the first six shots in the opening sequence of the film. Ask students to look carefully at each of these six shots and draw them on a storyboard. What does the opening sequence tell us about who the film is about, where they live, and what kind of people they are?

  • Look for examples of close-ups and extreme close-ups (the Bike-Building Sequence between 02:09 – 02:56 is a good example). Discuss why they are in the film. What do the class think they are adding: detail or intensity? Do they highlight any important messages in the film? What do they tell us about the boys’ strengths and skills?

  • As students watch the film, ask them to note the predominant colours. What are they and why might they be important?



  • Discuss whether the film would benefit from having dialogue between the boys throughout the film. What would it add to the film?

  • Discuss how music can add mood to a film (perhaps drawing examples from several different films). Then discuss the music in Bush Bikes. What mood does it give the film?


  • Ask the class to make a list of the ways in which they spend their leisure time. Discuss how this is similar to or different from the way the boys in the film spend their leisure time.

  • As a group or class discussion, talk about how young people are represented in the media.

  • Find a newspaper article about young people in this country. Write a critical response discussing how it represents youth.



  • Write a script for a voice-over to go with Bush Bikes.

  • Write instructions for constructing a ‘bush bike’.

  • Design an instruction leaflet entitled ‘How to Make a Bush Bike’ using Publisher or similar software.


  • Create a poster to advertise this film to other students in your school.


  • Using digital cameras, create a photographic captioned storyboard that outlines a film on how a group of young people in the local area spend their leisure time. Or make the actual film!

  • Prepare a script and storyboard for a non-fiction film on something that you do in your spare time.


  • Research aboriginal culture.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-091-C
Resource Rights Holder Channel 4
Project Ref RLS-12
Year of Production 2002
Genre Dramatised Documentary
Curriculum Areas subjects
Who David S Vadiveloo (Director, Writer, Producer)
Country of Origin Australia
Medium / Content Live Action, Non-Fiction, Colour, Sound
Themes Poverty, Craft, Ingenuity
Clip Length 06:00