Make Biking Cool, Hollywood


Ok, I'm behind most of the movie going public in that I just saw The 40 Year Old Virgin on Saturday night. Anyone who's seen it knows that part of what makes Steve Carell's character a dork is that he rides a bike. It's all tied up in his prolonged adolescence and, well, lack of "masculinity." Part of his growing up involves learning to drive -- as though it's de facto an aspect of adulthood. Scenes of him pedaling furiously, carrying his wheel, tucking his pants into his socks, are all used for comic effect. This got me thinking about other cinematic representations of people whose primary mode of transport is the bike. What's your favorite? The most sympathetic? Continue reading for an extensive online "cycling in film" resource.In Hollywood movies, the cyclist is rarely the character we're supposed to want to emulate. Off the top of my head, there's Ducky, from Pretty in Pink (dorky, eccentric, not a "man" with a car like Blaine), the iconic paper boy who wants his $2 in Better off Dead, and Pee-Wee Herman, of course. I never saw Quicksilver or Breaking Away, but it seems like films that are about professional cyclists should be placed in a different category. The boys in Lords of Dogtown rode their bikes, but they were all hard core and youth subculture-y, not "grown-ups." We need options that aren't doofus-y or hyper-masculine.

The Bicycle Film Festival comes to Chicago August 10. We love it. It seems like it appeals especially to those who are firmly immersed in bike culture. But what about everyday jills and joes who don't necessarily see themselves as potential cyclists?

Producers, writers, actors: we love you driving your hybrids. Other ways to make a big difference making alternate transportation choices seem valid would be to "cool" biking, mass transit, etc., or to normalize them, in your films and TV projects. Put adults on bikes -- that means women, too.

Take a gander at the Cycling Films Big List. ::