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Top 8 Cycling Films to inspire you

From full feature-length films to short stories and documentary series, there’s plenty to take inspiration from when it comes to cycling. Look closely into any of the disciplines and there have always been teams at work capturing the essence of the sport, be it in competition or just for a laugh.

Here we’ve brought together eight of our favourites, from following extraordinary bikepacking challenges to adrenaline-filled mountain biking compilations, exploring more niche disciplines of Japanese Keirin racing to the history of the madness behind American cyclo-cross.

1. Inspired to Ride

Following the events of the inaugural Trans Am Bike Race from 2014, this hour and a half long film captures the tales of the forty-five riders that braved the 4,233 mile (6,812 kilometre) race from coast to coast of the United States of America.

Riding around three hundred miles every single day with minimal sleep and no support, the film documents the struggle of well-known riders including the late Mike Hall, Juliana Buhring and Jason Lane as they cross no less than ten states from the Rockies to the Great Plains and the Appalachian Mountains.

Buy to watch online on Vimeo or Amazon.

2. A Slice of British Pie

As far as mountain biking films go, A Slice of British Pie is pretty up there. A compilation of rowdy and loose riding on sloppy winter trails really explains the commonly used race course phrase ‘British conditions’.

Featuring some of the best British riders including Josh Bryceland, Brendan Fairclough and Olly Wilkins, the film is set as a road trip, spanning the British Isles from Scotland’s Fort William to deepest, darkest Wales and the Surrey Hills.

If you love this adrenaline-packed twenty five minutes, there’s plenty more where that came from with sequels ‘A Bigger Slice of British Pie’ and ‘The Biggest Slice of British Pie’.

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3. On Board The Transcontinental Race

The Transcontinental Race has fast become one of the best-known, most inspiring races for ultra-endurance riders across the world. Spanning the breadth of Europe, with routes typically around 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometres), it’s a challenge not to be underestimated.

A culmination of filming over three years of races, Antonin Michaud-Soret’s film follows both the riders and the crew as they cross the continent. For such a serious undertaking, the resulting fifty-five minute feature is surprisingly comedic, highlighting the struggle of exhausted racers and photographers alike!

Whether you’re an aspiring endurance athlete or seasoned dot-watcher, this film is well worth a watch.

Buy to watch online at Vimeo.

4. Pure Sweet Hell

Primarily shot over three consecutive seasons from 2002-2004, Pure Sweet Hell is a must-watch for any cyclo-cross fanatic. This hour-long feature ties in plenty of historical footage, and a running commentary that delves into the American ‘cross scene. Attempting to explain why you might want to sling a bike over your shoulder, for an hour of flat-out effort in the mucky slop of midwinter.

Watch the film on VIMEO

5. Just Be

You’d be hard-pushed not to be dreaming of an escape to Scandinavia after watching Just Be. Touring the natural trails of the Nordfjords by boat before crossing over to explore Sweden’s bike parks, this self-shot and produced film not only showcases some incredible landscapes and must-ride trails, but also tells the story of riders from across Europe and their developing friendships fostered by a shared passion for the outdoors.

At eleven minutes long, it’s the perfect taste of adventure that’ll leave you itching for more.

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6. Breaking Away

An old one but still a good ‘un, released in 1979, Breaking Away is a feature-length film about working-class American high school graduate Dave’s desire to become a professional road racer. Realising that most world-class cyclists at the time were in fact Italian, he set about adopting European regimes and culture in an attempt to make his name in road cycling, much to the grievance of his family.

This classic comedy of friendship, teenage romance and big dreams is truly a must-watch for any cycling fan.

Buy to watch online on YouTube.

7. Wild Horses, the Silk Road Mountain Race documentary

Be transported to the untamed and deserted mountains of Kyrgyzstan for half an hour with Wild Horses, the documentary film that follows the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race.

With a course of 1,056 miles (1,700 km) crossing remote mountain ranges and following expansive river valleys, the race has been touted as the hardest in the world. Besides the challenge of the terrain, riders must be almost totally self-sufficient as resupply points are very few and far between.

Wild Horses is a beautifully shot short film that gives you an insight into the immense challenge that is the Silk Road Mountain Race, as well as founder Nelson Trees’ personal motivation for creating it.

Watch the film on VIMEO

8. RYOKOU

A five-part video series rather than a film, RYOKOU is a documentary following Australian track cycling prodigy Shane Perkins through his rather controversial career as a Keirin racer.

Each short video follows his RYOKOU (Japanese for journey) from a talented junior to Olympian, showcasing the fascinating and unique culture behind Keirin racing and how he sacrificed his Australian lifestyle to dream big and move to Japan.

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