Cycling Movies: Because You Can’t Train All the Time

Every now and then you have to take a break from training. The next time you need to sit still for some serious recovery time, watch one of these gems from the vintage video files. When is someone going to make the next great cycling film? Way overdue!

American Flyers

Kevin Costner, the early years. A tale of two brothers and a three-day race in the mountains called the “Hell of the West.” Directed by Steve Tesich, who also directed Breaking Away (see below).

Synopsis: When Dr. Marcus Sommers (Kevin Costner) realizes that he and his troubled, estranged brother David (David Grant) may be prone a fatal brain disease that runs in their family, he decides to make peace with his sibling, and invites him on a trip to the Rockies. There, the brothers bond over their shared enthusiasm for cycling and decide to enter a grueling bike race through the mountains. However, Marcus’ health soon begins to fail, and David must compete without his brother at his side.

Breaking Away

Four friends chase a dream and win Steve Tesich an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The video above is the full movie, not a trailer!

Synopsis: Dave (Dennis Christopher) and his working-class friends Cyril (Daniel Stern), Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mike (Dennis Quaid) spend their post-high school days in Bloomington, Indiana, sparring with snooty students from the local university, chasing girls and–in Dave’s case–dreaming of competitive bicycle racing. The four friends face opposition from all corners as they decide to make Dave’s dreams come true in the university’s annual bicycle endurance race. 

Half the Road

Women take to the road. No one said it would be easy. Modern society has long believed that women hold up half the sky in terms of equality and progression. So when it comes to the sport of professional cycling, why aren’t women receiving half the road?

Triplets of Belleville

One of the most delightful animated movies ever made is about cycling and Made in Canada.

Synopsis: This animated film follows elderly Frenchwoman Madame Souza as she becomes involved in international intrigue when her grandson, Champion, a professional cyclist, is kidnapped and taken abroad. Joined by her faithful dog, Bruno, Souza embarks on a journey to find Champion and stumbles across unlikely allies in the form of three sisters who are veterans of the vaudeville stage. Tracking down Champion’s criminal captors, the quartet of old women use their wits to try and win the day.

Rising from Ashes


An independent film about the development of a national cycling team in Rwanda, a country still affected by 1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed. Possibly the greatest cycling documentary of all time.

Rad

The definitive BMX movie, filmed right here at home in Alberta. A BMXer (Bill Allen) tries to enter a corrupt promoter’s nationally televised cash-prize race.

Graham Obree, he of the hour record and bike design fame, once said you can only train as hard as you can recover. For an especially beneficial recovery, throw on one of these classics and stay put—your legs will thank you.