We find bicycling movies are a great way to slowly dose your friends and family with the spirit of bicyclism. They also serve as a way to keep the mental fire stoked while suffering on an indoor trainer, traveling or letting the guns recover on a Friday night. The line-up changes frequently on Netflix so be sure to check these out before they drop off into obscurity. Enjoy!
1. Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist (2014)
“Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist” shows a tragic side of Professional Cycling with this story about Marco Pantani, winner of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. You could think of Pantani as the Kurt Cobain of our sport. They were amazing at what they did best, didn’t do well with fame, struggled with addictions and died with conspiracy theories left in their place. This documentary by James Erskine tells the story from all angles with nuance for those who might already by familiar with the story of “Il Pirata”. The race footage alone makes it a must see, but the interviews with his family and friends are the most compelling. The film follows the many obstacles he encountered during his professional career, including a horrific car accident that caused multiple fractures and threatened his career. Pantani used his fighting spirit to conquer his injuries, but he could not fight against the persistent allegations of doping. His painful experiences led him to drug abuse, which set in motion the downfall of Marco Pantani. This movie paints a beautiful and inspiring picture of a man trying to navigate through a treacherous profession. You may need a tissue at the end. Also available on Amazon.com for purchase.
2. The Bicycle Thief (1949)
The Italian classic, “The Bicycle Thief/Ladri di biciclette” is a period piece for the cyclist who appreciates film. The story centers around Antonio Ricci and his family living in poverty-stricken Rome post-WWII. After two years of unemployment, Antonio has finally found a job riding his bike around town hanging up posters. Unfortunately on his first day of work, Antonio finds himself bike-less after it is stolen while he is standing on a step ladder. He spends the rest of the day with his sweet and wide-eyed son Bruno, searching for the stolen bike. Though this movie is over 50 years old, the conflicts are very relate-able and the frustration that comes with losing your only transportation method, is still relevant. You will get attached to these characters as they try to navigate through the sense of hopelessness that penetrates post-war Rome. Also available on Amazon.com for purchase.
3. Where the Trail Ends (2012)
“Where the Trail Ends” follows professional mountain bikers Cam Zink, James Doerfling, Darren Berrecloth, and Andreu Lacondeguy in search of the best and toughest mountain bike trails around the world. Watch at the edge of your seats as these top cyclists brave the most serious and terrifying of mountains, all while dealing with injuries and the obstacles of traveling. See all the beauty of the desert mountains above Utah, the Gobi Desert of China, the rural regions of Nepal, into the wild British Columbia Canada, and finally through the peaceful and remote areas of Argentina. This one will get your heart racing. Also available on Amazon.com for purchase.
4. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
If the other films are a bit too heavy for a Friday night, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” will provide a lightness to your weekend viewing experience. In the same vein as “The Bicycle Thief”, the main character spends most of the film in search of his stolen bike. Hilarity ensues as Pee-Wee encounters all sorts of characters along his cross-country travels to recover this prized possession. At one point, Pee-Wee’s life is on the line as he attempts to prevent a motorcycle gang from killing him for knocking over their parked motorcycles. His solution to this problem: dance to “Tequila”. This silly adventure of an eccentric man-child is sure to brighten your night and maybe even remind you of your own love/obsession for your bike. Also available on Amazon.com for purchase.
5. Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story (2014)
From award winning director Alex Holmes, this documentary interviews many of Armstrong’s past teammates that were forced to cover for his lies during his years at the Tour de France; causing their reputation to be tarnished. The film spends a lot of time interviewing Frankie Andreu, a previous teammate of Armstrong’s, and his wife Betsey Andreu – arguably the two people who were most affected by Armstrong’s lies. Their experiences shine a light on how ruthless Armstrong was about keeping his doping concealed. “Stop at Nothing” is the Armstrong documentary that reveals just how heinous the cover up actually was. At this point, most cyclists are familiar with all of this. And probably tired of hearing about this particular disgraced athlete. We added this as a film to help you educate others as to the sociopathy and narcissism of this individual. Also available on Amazon.com for purchase.