Eat, sleep, and breathe cycling? We know the feeling. Below, enjoy 5 documentaries that follow individuals that share your same passion… And come from radically different backgrounds.
With My Own Two Wheels (2010)
Brothers Isaac and Jacob Seigel-Boettner set out to explore how bicycles can empower communities across the world. Their film crew focused on five stories. Carlos, hailing from Guatemala, invented a machine powered by pedaling that offers a sustainable alternative to diesel machines. Fred lives in Zamibia, where he works as a caregiver. He cycles across the region to visit AIDS patients. Sharkey escapes gang involvement by immersing himself in a Santa Barbara bike shop. Mirriam lives in Ghana, where she grapples with Polio and makes a living as a bicycle mechanic. Bharati would not be able to get an education if it weren’t for her bicycle, which enables her to get to and from her remote school each day. All of these stories intersect to create a narrative on the profound power of bicycles.
Vive le Tour (1962)
This documentary might be less than twenty minutes long, but it paints a beautifully intimate portrait of the Tour de France as it was in the mid-twentieth century. Filmed by Louis Malle, the production focuses on much of the same issues that pervade the race today – doping, nutritional issues, safety – but also displays the strong divide between the Tour de France “as it was” and the Tour de France” as it is.” A fascinating watch for any cycling aficionado.
A group of cyclists embark on a 500-mile journey to Prague, where protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are underway. Filmmaker Zack Winestine filmed the caravan’s journey, exploring how the values of the mobile community evolve and transform throughout the journey. Not only is the content fascinating: The landscapes are stunning. Winestine offers both a visual treat and a rare peek into one of Europe’s most recent almost-revolutions.
Ride the Divide (2010)
The Great Divide mountain bike race spans over 2,700 miles, stretching from Banff down to the Mexican border. Notoriously grueling – both emotionally and physically – the competition involves climbing 200,000 vertical feet over the Rockies. The filmmakers follow the stories of three competitors as they attempt to conquer the race. Gorgeous visuals accompany a compelling personal narrative.
Way Back Home (2010)
This video is a mere 8 minutes, but it provides a beautiful commentary on the evolution of biking as a childhood pastime to a career. Sponsored by Red Bull, the film follows Dann MacAskill, a young Scotsman who travels from Edinburgh to his native Skye village by bike. He also masters some mindblowing stunts along the way, transforming trick riding into a work of art. If you like the video, take a look at Concrete Jungle, a full-length documentary that MacAskill made with Britain’s Channel 4.
Do you have a favorite cycling documentary that isn’t listed here? If so, let us know – we’d love to add it to the list!