Friday, April 11, 2014

H140 Training: Movies about Cycling

Yes, I believe watching movies, or reading books or learning about the sport you’re participating in is just as valuable as actually doing the sport. Whatever will get you motivated. I’m a sucker for sports movies. Seriously. Love ‘em. Here are three movies I’ve watched recently that are about cycling.

“Wadjda” -  An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. (IMDB)

If memory serves, this is also the first feature film directed by a Saudi woman, which is noteworthy of itself. This was a good story with a lot of different layers. I know some family members who lived for several years in Saudi Arabia who may really find it interesting on even more levels than I did. Sure, there are some areas where the story could have been edited a bit, firmed up if you will, but it was certainly thought provoking.

Warning – it is subtitled, so you can’t multi-task and watch at the same time. Unless your Arabic is better than mine.

“The Armstrong Lie” – A documentary chronicling sports legend Lance Armstrong's improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace. (IMDB)

This was very compelling, if you’ve ever seen a headline in the past five years about Lance Armstrong. Even if you aren’t a headline reader, this was really good. It makes me mad that I ever held a shred of hope out for him not being liar, when it’s very clear he is and was. He also appears to suffer from a severe case of megalomania, or in my family, “big headedness.” It’s surprising there is ever enough space for him AND his big ol’ noggin in the same room. Give it a watch. It’s a great story, well shot, neutrally told, and a nice insight into the world of professional cycling.

“Rising from Ashes” - Rising from Ashes is a feature length documentary about the first Rwandan national cycling team in their bid to make history and represent their country at the 2012 Olympics. Competing in a white man's sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France, are transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world's most devastating genocides. (IMDB)

Of the three cycling movies I’ve watched in the past three weeks, this one was by far my favorite. The others were good – don’t get me wrong – but this one was inspiring and heartbreaking and beautiful.

Here are some great quotes from it:

"Cycling is about suffering. You cannot be a cyclist without going through a tremendous amount of pain. You can’t escape it." – Jock Boyer

“If you want to not suffer, you cannot survive to do cycling.” One of the Rwanda team members

“Trophies have no value, unless you use them to better other people.” Jock Boyer.

Watch it. You won’t be sorry.


  1. Thanks for these recommendations, Laura. I watched the Lance Armstrong one this morning while exercising (had to stay home from the group ride cause I'm on call). I love cycling movies. I'm looking forward to watching the other(s) especially the one about the Rwandan cycling team.

  2. Okay, so I started to leave a comment before, but it didn't go through so I'll try again. Question: From where do you access these movies? I looked on Netflix and they only come on DVD, which I don't do with them. Maybe RedBox has them? What's your source?