I Watched Two Movies

A morning snow flurry squashed any plans for cycling today.  Perhaps the roads will improve enough for a spin tomorrow, but I’m not optimistic.  My streak of consecutive weekend rides since August may be broken. 

With no bicycle riding on the schedule, I did the logical thing.  I watched two movies about bicycling.  They were documentaries, actually, so I was able to get through them fairly quickly.

The first movie was Blood, Sweat, and Gears: Racing Clean To The Tour de France.  I was intrigued by the premise of the documentary, which covers the Garmin Slipstream racing team as they pledge to compete at the highest levels of cycling while not using performance enhancing drugs or blood doping.  I was very interested to see how the team conducted its training to compete against a world of cheaters.  Despite its title, the documentary spends almost no time showing how the team alters its training or otherwise proves to the racing public that they are not doping.  The team simply asserts that they don’t dope and that’s that. 

Although I was largely disappointed in this flick, it was mildly interesting to see how a professional race team organizes itself and prepares for the racing season.  Races in Qatar, Paris-Roubaix, and Olympic Track Cycling Qualifiers are featured, with the climax being the Tour de France.  I learned that professional teams are quite big, often racing in more than one location and in more than one type of discipline (road and velodromes, for example) at the same time. 

Here is the trailer:

The second documentary was Ride of My Life: The Story of the Bicycle, by Robert Penn.  This one was cool.   Penn is an extremely experienced cyclist, who once cycled around the world.  Based on the book, It’s All About the Bike, the documentary follows Penn as he builds his dream bike.  He travels to bike factories in Germany, Italy, England, and America to meet with the very best designers of bicycle parts and purchase their equipment.  Often, he watches the part crafted in front of his eyes.  Each part is chosen for its unique contribution to the history of cycling.  Along the way, we learn about Draisines, Penny Farthings, Bone Shakers, Safety Bikes, and Mountain Bikes.  We see the Italian shrine to the patron saint of cyclists, the last bicycle factory in Birmingham (it’s Brooks), and meet the Americans who launched the mountain bike craze.  The end result is an outstanding bicycle that will last decades and is the ultimate conversation piece. 

This movie has something for everybody, whether you are a rabid enthusiast or an occasional pedaler.  You can see this documentary via YouTube.  Part 1 of 4 is below.  It’s worth your time!


7 thoughts on “I Watched Two Movies

  1. Like the sound of both films so thanks for the recommendations and Happy New Year! With a bit of luck and a following wind hoping to nip over to Brittany to see the Tour in July. Must take Welsh cakes for Geraint Thomas on the Sky team. 🙂

  2. I’m lucky enough to work just around the corner from the Brooks factory in Smethwick and have visited on a number of occasions to get stuff repaired. The factory is tremendously old world and has the atmosphere of the Industrial Revolution about it. Just brilliant!

    I’m a massive Brooks saddle fan, here’s my tribute to the company: http://www.massivemtber.co.uk/?p=119

    I’ve seen Rob Penn’s film when it was shown on the Beeb a while back, great TV!

  3. I just finished watching Ride of My Life and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip. Like Clive above, I’m a big Brooks fan and have been using on on my touring bike for 5 years now. The thing just won’t get old, it’s amazing! Really great to see how they’re made.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Gerry! I seem to be one of the few who do not suffer from chronic saddle challenges. The stock seats on both my bikes work just fine for me. I probably don’t know what I’m missing!

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