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slides: 12 Bicycle Themed Movies to Inspire, Enlighten and Entertain

Monday, February 09, 2015



Pee-wee's Big Adventureis just one of many classic cycling films that makes great indoor trainer entertainment.

Although it seems winter has been cancelled in the Pacific Northwest, it's just a matter of time before seemingly endless days of rainy gloom return.

When they do, here's a roundup of bike-centric films to cuddle up with—or view while you're spinning on your trainer in the garage.

See Slides Below: 12 Bicycle Themed Movies to Inspire, Enlighten and Entertain

All are available through Netflix, though not all are available for streaming at all times, as Netflix changing its online viewing options periodically. 


Üma Kleppinger is a Portland-based copy writer, author and bike addict. A recovering sesquipedalian who blogs about life in the saddle and outdoor adventure, she is also the author of Bike Yoga, a flexibility and recovery program for cyclists. When not writing, she can be found throwing herself down the mountain on two wheels. If you have cycling-related news to share, events to promote, or deep thoughts about this or any that, shoot her a nice email. Follow:  facebook  |  instagram  |  twitter


Related Slideshow: 12 Bicycle Themed Movies to Inspire, Enlighten and Entertain

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The Bicycle Thief (1948)

This Italian drama tells the story of Antonio, a poor father searching for his stolen bicycle in post-World War II Rome. He scours the streets of Venice with his son Bruno to track down the thief and retrieve his bike—with a heart-wrenching plot twist at the end. Lovers of classic Italian neorealism will appreciate the film for its cinematic genius, if not for the bittersweet storyline. 

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Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

This decidedly American retelling of The Bicycle Thief puts a unique spin on the story, making it an adventure comedy which follows puer aeternus Pee-wee Herman as he sets out to find his beloved red bicycle. Directed by Tim Burton, the bizarre film bears little resemblance to the film that inspired it, but stands as a cult film on its own.

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The Flying Scotsman (2006)

This inspirational true story of Graeme Obree, the amateur cyclist and bike shop owner who—in spite of mental illness and lack of sponsorship support—built a bicycle from washing machines parts, then went on to win a championship race. 

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Breaking Away (1979)

Dave Stohler dreams of becoming a champion bicyclist in this fictional coming-of-age cult film. Posing as an exchange student to mask his working-class roots and charm an Italian exchange student, Stoller faces the ugly truth of competitive sports and the cheating and elitism found therein. He goes on to win the Little 500 race, and inspires his originally unsupportive father to start riding a bike. 

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Girl on a Bicycle (2013)

Set in Paris, this witty romantic comedy tells the story of Paolo, an Italian tour bus driver who becomes infatuated with a beautiful French woman riding past on a bicycle just days after he becomes engaged to his German fiancée. (English language.)

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Ride the Divide (2010)

Documenting the longest off-road bike race in the world—a 2,745 mile journey from Banff, Canada to the US-Mexico Border—this real-life adventure follows the trials and tribulations of three endurance cyclists as they race each other along the Continental Divide. 

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Rising from Ashes (2012)

This incredible true story follows Rwanda's first national cycling team as they struggle to move past their country's horrific genocide and make it to the 2012 Olympics. Coached by cycling legend Jock Boyer, the eclectic group fights against huge obstacles to pursue a dream that seems to only get bigger the more they ride.

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The Armstrong Lie (2013)

Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, this film originally begun as a testament to Lance Armstrong's post-cancer comeback in 2009, but the film was shelved when the doping scandal erupted. After Armstrong's confession the project was completed to present an a clear indictment of the cycling legend, as well as the sports culture that surrounds pro cyclists.

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Danny MacAskill's Imaginate (2013)

You don't have to be a trials riding expert to appreciate the stunts and tricks Scottish trials pro Danny MacAskill weaves together in this short film. Whimsical, playful sets and props, beautiful scenery and incredible trials maneuvers will keep you entertained, if not inspired to get on your bike and ride.

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The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

This artistic French animation is another cult classic which follows the travails and comical triumphs of Madame Souza, her dog Bruno, and an aging, eccentric singing trio who set out to save Souza’s grandson who is kidnapped during the Tour de France. (French language.)

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Where the Trail Ends (2012)

Follow a team of top mountain bikers as they go in search of the Earth's toughest terrain in this eye-popping sports documentary that blends amazing locations, stunning landscapes and breathtaking footage of riders taking on impossible lines.

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Hardihood (2001)

This documentary highlights mountain bike legends Missy Giove, Marla Streb and other brave women who race the pro downhill mountain-biking circuit. The film follows the riders through the thrills, spills and triumphs as they take on incredible terrain and at 50+ miles per hour. 


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