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11 perfect bike movies

The perfect selection of films starring none other than: The Bicycle.

11 perfect bike movies
Photo by Charles Fair / Unsplash

The buycycle bike -Film Guide

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 make it on their bikes right now. But it doesn't matter, because for those ponderous days recovering from the past year, we've curated for you the perfect selection of films starring none other than: The Bicycle.

1. Premium Rush - fast chase on 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 business and the machinations of corrupt NYPD detectives. Though the plot is somewhat simplistic, this classic film captivates with gripping car chases, quick cuts and a fast-paced soundtrack. Gordon-Levitt at the speed of light on two wheels is not to be missed if you're a bike fan.

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

2. cloud rock, mon père - in search of the father and himself.

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 strong, explorative bike road movie that seeks answers to the questions of why we are who we are and what responsibility our parents have in this.

On Vimeo you can rent Cloud Rock, Mon Père for 4.97€.

3. 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 to Bolivia and offer us viewers everything we could wish for from sympathetic Western bandits: They blow up trains, have wild shootouts in saloons, jump off cliffs in pairs and are also damn charming and funny. 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 wire bike, 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.

4. Cycling with Molière - Two theatre geniusses on two wheels

In Molière on a Bicycle, 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 - and with Gauthier at his side. Sometimes grim or arrogant, sometimes smoothly manipulative or lecturing, the two rival each other during rehearsals until something like a friendship gradually 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 cycle past sand dunes, the sea and the rough landscape of the island on their old rickety bikes, sometimes peacefully, sometimes quarreling. Fabrice Lucchini (Serge) shines and the film leaves you wistful and fulfilled - and full of ideas for your own bike tours through northern France.

You can rent Molière on a Bike on all major platforms for 3.99€.

5. icarus - the man who fooled olympia

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 becomes 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 streaming on Netflix.

6 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 movie for 3.99€ on Amazon and Apple TV.

7. better world than never - Around the world by bike

Dennis Kailling is 24 when he decides to go in search of 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 Better World Than Never 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 movie on Amazon & Co.

8. Being Jan Ullrich - Deconstruction of a Cycling Legend

Being Jan Ullrich - Videos of the show | ARD Mediathek
Videos for Being Jan Ullrich | July 1997: Jan Ullrich wins the Tour de France. This triumph makes him a world star overnight. But the cycling talent of the century subsequently falls more and more into a downward spiral. The five-part series traces Ullrich's life.

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 tries 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 cycling shared 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.

9. 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 constantly 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 is so often the case, 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.

10. the limit is only me - 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, never does he 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 provide company and help to the man along the way, some of whom are strangers to them and some of whom are famous, but above all because we sincerely sympathize with a fulfilled Deichmann, for whom even the greatest complications do not take away the joy of his sport.

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

The extreme athlete on the hunt for a new world record: a triathlon once around the world.

11. CLOSE - The fragile innocence of young friendship

Not a tip for the home theater but for the big screen: CLOSE is a subtle yet overwhelming drama about friendship, closeness and alienation that is deeply moving and moving. Lukas Dhont portrays the uncertainties of growing up with tenderness and understanding and won this year's Grand Prix of the Jury in Cannes for his work. He tells the story of two friends Léo and Rémi: they have always been friends, share everything, trust each other above all else - until school starts after a long, untouched summer. Internalized ideas of what masculinity and male friendships should be, the need to assert oneself and belong, and the vulnerability on the threshold of adulthood when one is still a child, cause the two's special friendship to fragment more and more until something irreversible happens. Even though the bicycle is not the main character here, the increasing fragility of the relationship between Léo and Rémi is most noticeable in the scenes in which the two of them cycle side by side through the Belgian countryside.

Close will be in cinemas from 26.01.23.

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