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10+1 Bike Films for the lazy days ahead

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The laziest week of the year is upon us. Christmas has just passed, the streets are snowy and empty, our bellies are full from three days of culinary revelry, and only the truly hardcore can manage to get on their bikes now. But that doesn't matter, because for those ponderous days when we're recovering from the past year, we've curated for you the perfect selection of films starring none other than: The Bicycle. 

Premium Rush - Fast Chases on the Fixie

The daredevil action hero among bicycle films: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a New York bicycle courier who races non-stop through Manhattan's asphalt hell on his fixie without brakes. For him, the city is a parcours park of traffic lights, buses, cabs and hot dog stands between which he has made a profession of weaving his way at breathtaking speed. But when one day he takes on a "premium rush" courier letter - i.e. one of the highest urgency level - he suddenly becomes the hunted and cycles his way right into the middle of halawa businesses and the machinations of corrupt NYPD detectives. Though the plot is somewhat dull, this classic captivates with gripping chases, quick cuts and a fast-paced soundtrack. Gordon-Levitt at the speed of light on two wheels is a must-see for bike fans.

You can stream Premium Rush on Netflix or rent it for 2.99€ on Amazon and Google Play.

 

Cloud Rock, Mon Père - In Search of the Father and Oneself

Cloud Rock is an icon at 70 years old. He is a first generation hippie and has never turned his back on this lifestyle, celebrating free love and free living, his connection with the universe, LSD and himself. His marijuana and his bicycle are his two great passions. But a good father he has not been, his son, Kaleo, director of this film, has not seen him since he was four years old. Until, on his 34th birthday, a package reaches him: a pair of cycling gloves and a letter are inside. His father invites him on a bicycle tour. Kaleo agrees and sets off on the trail of his father's epic and his own identity. He is thus son and camera and spectator at the same time, granting us an intimacy that is unparalleled. A powerful, explorative bike road movie that seeks answers to the questions of why we are who we are and the responsibility that falls to our parents in the process.

You can rent Cloud Rock, Mon Père for 4.97€ on Vimeo.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Classic and Fan-Favorite

This western comedy is a true classic and one of the biggest box office hits of the early 70s. The two train and bank robber buddies Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid are chased by the police after their last unsuccessful robbery, flee all the way to Bolivia and offer us viewers everything we could wish for from sympathetic Western bandits: they blow up trains, engage in wild shootouts in saloons, jump off cliffs in pairs and are damn charming and funny on top of it all. Robert Redford celebrated his final breakthrough as an actor as the Sundance Kid and also gave us one of the most iconic bicycle scenes in cinema history. "Meet the future," he trumpets, inviting his beloved to join him for a ride on a bicycle. To impress her, he performs all sorts of tricks on the then hypermodern wheeled vehicle, musically accompanied by "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head." A grin spreads across your face when you see this scene, and the entire film is exactly one thing: damn fun.

You can rent the western comedy for 3.99€ on Disney+, Apple TV or Amazon.

Cycling with Molière - Theatre Meets Rusty Biketours

In Cycling with Molière, director Philippe le Guay lets two old men collide who couldn't be more different. Both are great actors, but while Gauthier's career as the lead in a successful soap opera is all glitter and glamour, Serge retired years ago to the French île de Ré to live a hermit's life. Now Serge wants to celebrate his return to the stage with nothing less than Molière's The Misanthrope - with Gauthier at his side. Sometimes grim or arrogant, sometimes smoothly manipulative or lecturing, the two rival each other during rehearsals until gradually a kind of friendship develops between them. As spectators, we can expect plenty of Molière, debates about the meaning of acting and theater, but above all many smiles as Serge and Gauthier ride their old rusty bikes, sometimes peacefully, sometimes quarreling, past sand dunes, the sea and the rough landscape of the island. Fabrice Lucchini (Serge) shines, and the film leaves you wistful and fulfilled - and full of ideas for your own bike rides through northern France.

You can rent Cycling with Molière on all major platforms for 3.99€.

Icarus - The man that tricked the olympics

Bryan Fogler didn't know before his first interview with the scientist that Grigory Rodchenkov, head of the Russian Anti-Doping Laboratory, was at the forefront of Russian state doping - and so what was supposed to start as a doping self-experiment by the amateur cyclist and director turned into an exposé documentary about what is probably the biggest doping scandal in sports history. Winner of the 2018 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, this Netflix production takes us on a sinister journey through the illegal machinations of the sports world. Without any guilt and almost intoxicated by his own words, Rodchenov tells us about the methods of his Russian experts, about exchanged samples and cover-ups, about "bad steroids" from which athletes were saved and the intervention of the secret services. One can debate the perhaps too friendly relationship between filmmaker and film subject, question who actually directed this, but Icarus is undoubtedly one of the most gripping and shocking documentaries about doping in cycling and professional sports.

Icarus is available on Netflix.

My Italian Secret - A Giro against the Nazis

Gino Bartali is known to us all as an early hero of cycling: A two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia and a double winner of the Tour de France, he is a piece of Italian national pride. What few know, and what this film tells in a stylish and very Italian way, is that he, together with a vast network of helpers, saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis. On his training trips through Tuscany, Umbria or the Marche, he smuggled documents and letters to the Italian Resistance in his bicycle frame, risking his life. My Italian Secret follows three Jewish women on their journey through Italy, on which they want to thank those who helped them to escape and thus to survive at that time. The anecdotal film is carefully researched and seems almost museum-like. But it is thought-provoking and shows the great Bartali from a previously unknown perspective.

You can rent the film for 3.99€ on Amazon and Apple TV.

Besser Welt als nie - Around the world on two wheels

Dennis Kailling is 24 when he decides to seek happiness. He hopes to find it on a bicycle, or more precisely on a bicycle tour around the world, which he sets out on without any previous experience and, contrary to expectations, completes. For 43,600 kilometers, in 41 countries and on 6 continents, he chases adventure, meets inspiring, crazy, dangerous, friendly, but always interesting people, he spends the night in the women's cell of Mexican police stations, gets into trouble with the Moroccan military, a python and an earthquake. 2 years later Dennis returns, unscathed and - happy. In Besser Welt als Nie you fever and feel along with him: An inspiring and humorous road movie that focuses not on its main character, but on the world out there, and what is hidden in it, always striking the right tone.

Dennis Kailling's journey is streaming on Netflix and from 2.99€ you can rent the film on Amazon & Co.

Being Jan Ullrich - Deconstruction of a Cycling Legend

25 years ago, Jan Ullrich wins the Tour de France, almost destroys the competition and thus unexpectedly becomes a world star - one already suspects the approaching catastrophe here. ARD's five-part docu-series attempts to capture the German cycling legend's life full of twists and turns into almost a psychogram of Ullrich. We, the viewers, experience Ullrich from an early age, follow him from shared cycling flats in German cities, to the Arc de Triomphe, to his competition with Lance Armstrong, his alcoholism and his doping scandal. A wide variety of protagonists, former trainers, sponsors and friends fan out a broad picture of the professional athlete through their stories - but he himself does not get a chance to speak. Even if the series is not always technically and cinematically satisfying, it is cleverly researched and allows an exciting impression of Jan Ullrich's rise and fall - especially for those who did not know much about him.

Three Peaks and in Between - A special bikepacking adventure

The Three-Peaks bikepacking race can be lonely - completely on their own, the athletes cover the 20,00km from Vienna to Nice, no prize money, no support along the way. This intimate and close documentary follows Jana Kesenmeier on her way across the Alps and the Dolomites - quietly and steadily the camera is always with her. A road movie that whets the appetite for summer, the mountains and carefree cycling, inspires and motivates and, above all, impresses. As so often, it also turns out that the really great moments don't just happen when you cross the finish line, but on the way to it.

For 5€ you can watch Three Peaks and in Between on Vimeo.

Das Limit bin nur ich - In 120 Ironmans around the Globe

One last tour film, but this time one in a class of its own. Dennis Kailling cycles once around the globe, Jonas Deichmann covers the same distance - but makes a triathlon out of it, the first triathlon around the world. Markus Weinberg's documentary shows a tireless extreme athlete on his spectacular mission, swimming 460km, running 5060 and spending an incredible 21,600 on his bike. Sub-zero temperatures in Siberia, unbearable heat in Mexico, visas that are not given to him and food poisoning, nothing seems to be able to stop Deichmann, he never does not have a smile on his face when he tells the film crew about the hardships of the day. We witness an unprecedented adventurer with unusual ambition and unrelenting determination and are left impressed. Not only by the rough journey or the many supporters who keep the partly for them foreign, partly for them famous man company and help him along the way, but especially because we sincerely sympathize with a fulfilled Deichmann, for whom not even the greatest complications take away the joy of his sport.

On the website of dokfest München the film is available for 5€ in the festival stream.

CLOSE - The Innocent Fragility of Childhood Friendship

 

Not a tip for home cinema, but for the big screen: CLOSE is a subtle yet overwhelming drama about friendship, closeness and alienation that is deeply moving and captivating. Lukas Dhont tenderly and compassionately portrays the uncertainties of coming of age and won this year's Grand Prix of the Jury in Cannes for it. He tells the story of two friends, Léo and Rémi: they've been friends forever, sharing everything, trusting each other over everything - until school starts after the long, untainted summer. Internalized ideas of what masculinity and male friendships should be like, the need to assert oneself and to belong, and the vulnerability at the threshold of adulthood when one is still a child after all, cause the two's special friendship to splinter more and more until something irreversible happens.  Even if the bicycle is not a main character here - the increasing fragility of the relationship between Léo and Rémi is felt most strongly in the scenes in which the two cycle side by side through the Belgian countryside.

Close starts showing in cinemas on 26.01.23.

The buycycle team now after all these tips farewell and heads to the TV, wishes you happy holidays, a happy new year and: Happy watching, happy cycling!

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