Sunday, February 7, 2010

Movie Time

Let's make one thing clear right off the bat... no matter how much we love it and obsess over it, cycling is a fringe sport. I hate to say it, but it's true. Cycling will never have the main stream appeal of the big three: football, basketball, and baseball. It doesn't even register among more minor sports such as golf and tennis. The vast majority of the public fails to understand why we get up at the crack of dawn to don spandex and dodge traffic.

Since we cyclists are the exception and not the norm, mainstream offerings rarely cater to us. Televised races are usually compressed into 30 minute synopses. Bookstores whittle their offerings down to one or two titles on training, maintenance, or something connected to Lance Armstrong. The 1979 film "Breaking Away" is the only choice at most video stores. Considering "Breaking Away" won the Academy Award for best original screenplay and was nominated for best picture, you would think Hollywood would have jumped on the cycling bandwagon. Alas, cycling fever never caught on among Hollywood types and there have been few options in the meantime.

Thankfully the technology boom of recent years combined with non-traditional internet distribution and marketing have helped movie producers create top quality films without having to swoon mainstream movie studios, begging for funding. Cycling movies and shows are starting to emerge and are even gaining some mainstream appeal. In 2009, the mountain biking flick "Race Across the Sky," about Lance Armstrong's win... ummm I mean the Leadville 100 mountain bike race saw limited nationwide release and some pretty good turnouts. 2010 Appears to be building on that recent momentum with some interesting large and small screen offerings.

I saw the trailer for "Chasing Legends" on my twitter feed from the folks at Competitive Cyclist. The film is from Gripped studios and follows Columbia HTC through the 2009 Tour de France. Not a bad choice considering Columbia HTC's sprinter Mark Cavendish won six sprint stages in the '09 Tour. The film will be debuting on May 15 in Sacramento and will follow the Amgen Tour of California before it's released to DVD in July.

Another new offering that caught my eye was a television show about the Bahati Foundation. Rahsaan Bahati is a champion track and criterium cyclist who won the 2008 USPRO National Criterium. Bahati grew up in Compton, California and as a child found his fair share of trouble. An after-school program introduced him to track cycling and within six months he was a competing in the U.S. Junior Track Nationals. The rest as they say is history. Bahati is using his new found success as a platform to share his story with kids and show them the positive effects cycling can have. The show will be broadcast this fall on Universal Sports.

Even though cycling may still be considered the lunatic fringe by the masses, there are a growing number of alternatives to placate those of us who just can't get enough of cycling in our lives. Do you have any favorite cycling movies I missed?

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful post! and.. yes! there are tons of "under the radar" films that will blow your mind.. most are in the "jackass" and/or underground/guerilla vein.. commercial films i like? tread and retread.. bill snyder is a genious.. tread features such early 90's mountain bike talents as greg herbold and hans rey, retread has an in depth look a missy "spark it up" giove (whom i dearly love).. you should most def check out netflix for some bmx, and "self made" mtb flicks.. personally i'm a big fan of FuelTv but while they show snow/skate board, bmx, fmx, mx, and wake board and wake skate, they really seem to deliberately ignore mountain biking or road cycling.. not sure why tho...