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!