Not everyone who rides a bike has a dream of riding a bike across America. But for those who do, they have dreams that non cyclists can also connect with. For the cyclists in the documentary film Bicycle Dreams, which was shown last night in Longmont as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization Bicycle Longmont, they were all challenging themselves to get to a better place. As one cyclist learned from a coach in his pre-bike racing life, moving means that at least you are going somewhere…whether it be forward or backward.
Race Across America (RAAM) is a 3,000 mile endurance coast to coast race across America. Most of the top cyclists complete it in under ten days, and ride close to 300 miles per day with very little sleep. The main goal of the race is to just finish, which only about half of those who enter do, but all are said to experience some level of personal inner transformation.
Bicycle Dreams followed along with handful of those riding as solo cyclists in the 24th run of RAAM. Cyclists were from both the U.S. and foreign countries…from a music teacher to an AIDS researcher. None of them sought to make money for themselves doing the race and according to one RAAM organizer, at least 35 charities received $2 million dollars from those in that race. For one racer, it took three years for him to raise money for the expenses involved in participating in his first RAAM. For one cyclist, “RAAM is crazy…I ask myself every year why I do it.”
For female cyclist Catharina Berge “Of course I’m going to be tired…this is RAAM damnit!” Catharina had also dedicated her ride to a friend who had died from cancer, “I race for her…she wanted to live.” For cyclist Fabio Biasiolo, it was the little things he found he gained in the race that gave him real meaning for anything else in his life. Most of the cyclists pointed to how most people live their lives in a bubble, surrounding themselves with items that comfort them and needing to challenge themselves, and how the race was not about acquiring material posessions. To the viewer, most racers appeared to be accomplished and successful but according to cycling journalist Perry Stone, they really are “ordinary people doing extra ordinary things” and the movie also showed the people and stories of those who support them along the way.
Some who viewed the movie were not professional cyclists, but the movie appealed to the struggles and turmoil all people face while trying to find the meaning behind why they seek to accomplish the goals they put in front of themselves and the pain along the way. For one racer, “The pain goes away after the race” …yet he was also unaware of the heartbreaking moment that occured halfway through the movie that gave pause to those watching the film, for viewers had already made a connection to spirit of the rider involved. That cyclist earlier in the movie had made the prophetic statement, “at the end of your life if people say you were kind, that is enough” for he had a great relationship with other cyclists and their crews.
The movie, which was the second shown as part of the two night Film Festival hosted by Bicycle Longmont, has received numerous honors and the film festival was organized by Bicycle Longmont in just seven weeks. Organizers had contacted the producers of both movies (the other was Ride the Divide) to ask for permission to show them as a fundraiser and the producers of both movies were very supportive and enthusiastic to help. (cont’d)
After the movie, panelists were asked questions by the audience of over 200 people. Panelists included RAAM executive director Rick Boethling, RAAM finishers Tim Case and Terri Gooch, and cyclist/TV host/mega-bicycle advocate Ryan Van Duzer. It was light and entertaining as well as informative. Ryan humorously spoke about having done the RAAM route a bit differently than the other riders as he rode a fat tire cruiser bike in his coast to coast journey, which took him 45 days, lots of burritos and courtesy from truck drivers along the way. Another question asked which scenery cyclists would want to re-visit or wish they had spent more time in and most responded “Gettysburg” as they had ridden through the area at 3am in the morning and it invoked a strong feeling within them. Panelists were asked if they had any close calls while riding in RAAM to which one replied that “I’ve had a harder time riding through Boulder than across the country” which received understanding chuckles from the mostly local audience.
Panelist Ryan Van Duzer summed up the night and that was to inspire people who hadn’t cycled before to get on a bike…and keep going.
© Brigette Rodriguez/hornface.com
To learn more about Bicycle Longmont, visit BicycleLongmont.org (events include: bike valet at the Boulder County Farmers Markets, Cruise nights, bike education for all ages, ride after the upcoming Burning Can Festival, and the Kids Holiday Bike Program). Also, become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with all the fun things they are doing to motivate people to get on bicycles more often.
To learn more about Bicycle Dreams and see the movie trailer, visit: http://www.bicycledreamsmovie.com/
Related: Denver Cycling Examiner Gary Koenig
Follow the Longmont Examiner on Twitter: @ExamineLongmont
Become a fan of the Longmont Examiner on Facebook: ExamineLongmont
A note from the Longmont Examiner: In addition to attending to do a write up about this event, I had also attended the event as a Longmont resident and supporter of the great folks of Bicycle Longmont. I was also excited for the opportunity to purchase tickets for their drawing of an awesome Phat Tire Cruiser bike (I hadn’t had a bike like it since mine was stolen in high school). I was beyond thrilled last night when I actually won it. The movie and the words of Ryan Van Duzer inspired me to leave my car in the parking lot and ride it home.