Bicycle Dreams, a documentary about the RAAM (Race Across America), is a heck of a film. Produced by Stephen Auerbach, it’s won SIX film festivals…and not just bicycle and sports film fests, but big national ones, too. Rightfully so.
We got together to screen the movie over a couple of beers, and up until about two minutes before writing this I’d resisted reading any of the other reviews posted about the movie. Ã‚Â I couldn’t help it. Ã‚Â The blurbs on his website are rich with dripping words of human drama, pain, tragedy, emotional highs and lows and ultimate victory of the human spirit. Ã‚Â Powerful stuff, and all completely applicable. Ã‚Â The movie captures the raw emotion of the riders and their support crews with palpable color.
The racers that do the RAAM solo are amazing, and the feats of riding for 40+ hours at a time are mind boggling. Ã‚Â Even more so considering… wait, I’m giving away too much. Ã‚Â There are things in this movie that reward you for watching it, then watching it again later with new friends.
That said, this review (mine anyway…Daniel’s and Evan’s reviews are after the break…and I haven’t read them yet, either) will focus not on the content but the emotion. Ã‚Â Specifically, our emotions after watching it. Ã‚Â Because of or in spite of what we saw, all of us want to do the RAAM now. Ã‚Â That’s the best compliment I think we can pay Bicycle Dreams is that it draws you in and makes you so fascinated by the experiences of the racers that you want to experience them for yourself. Ã‚Â Except in our case, we’ll be doing it as a team. Ã‚Â We’re not crazy.
More Ebert and Roeper action after the break…
I knew very little about the Race Across America, RAAM, before I watched this video. The RAAM is mind boggling. It is an event that pushes and punishes the body and mind to extremes that I had never considered. I have never ridden so hard that I hallucinated dolphins next to me. The movie does its best to capture and retell the details and emotions of the race. You get to see the race from a 1st hand perspective unlike television coverage of any event. You’ll meet the families of several riders, see what happens when a rider is off the bike, watch as riders battle fatigue, witness as everyone deals with unthinkable crises, and see the largest range of emotions anyone would, could or should feel in a 9-12 day period. I can only imagine what it felt like to reach the Atlantic Ocean first. Bicycle Dreams is an incredibly inspirational movie. I imagine every cyclist who has seen this movie has ridden a little bit further or harder ever since.
Bicycle Dreams was a ride within itself. RAAM comes alive and a brilliant story of pain, strength, tears, and glory is told. Being able to gain some perspective on the experience embodied in the Race Across America was an emotional and inspiring journey. As a viewer of the movie from the comfort of a couch, I found myself thinking many times, Ã¢â‚¬Å“is this real?Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Amazing!
Cinematography was talented in Bicycle Dreams and the footage was able to captivate and intrigue me.Ã‚Â I am blown away at the magnitude of undertaking RAAM is.Ã‚Â Kudos to the producers on their editing style and vision for this film; whether you’re a cyclist or not, this is an inspiring film.
Bicycle dreams is available on their website for $19.99. Ã‚Â If you’re stumped for holiday gift ideas for the cyclist in your life, this makes a great gift. Ã‚Â Then watch it with them and enjoy the experience together.