June is upon us and the Valley's tarmac and trails are starting to bake. While these early summer mornings have remained nice so far, there is no question that the prime cycling hours are dwindling.
With less than a month left before the 24/7-onslaught of Tour de France coverage, it's time to fill the out-of-the-saddle hours with some of the best cinematic reminders of why we love to push the pedals.
Breaking Away (1979)
Most people forget that this movie was nominated for five Oscars (including Best Picture) and won Best Original Screenplay. It is that good, which is why this is the numero-uno, king papa of cycling flicks. Forget the few cycling gaffs (dude is blazing behind a big rig going 60mph in his small chainring?!?) and fall in love the beauty of cycling through the rolling Indiana countryside to Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, preferably with some "Ity-food".
2. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Legend has it that Paul Rubens, while struggling with his first screenplay was given a bike by his producers and was so excited he ran to his typewriter and quickly punched out, "Pee-wee Herman loves his bike more than life itself." What cyclist can't relate to that?
3. Triplets of Belleville (2003)
This stunning, sans-dialog, animated movie about a grandmother and her once pudgy/later gaunt Tour de France driven cyclist grandson is bike-culture perfection if for no other reason than viewers learn the skill of truing a wheel and the importance of the Broom Wagon.
4. Race Across the Sky 2010
Just watching the Colorado landscape lay out around the town of Leadville will lower the temps five degrees. Besides watching a 100 mile mountain bike race at high altitude is a touch easier than actually doing it. Make sure to get the 2010 movie so you don't have to suffer through the Lance Armstrong love-fest that is the 2009 movie.
5. American Flyers (1985)
This Kevin Costner flick is pure 80s cheese, but it also has some of the best road racing scenes ever filmed and showcases one of America's classic races, The Coors Classic. If you can stomach through the first half hour, the training and race strategy are actually quite authentic. And Rae Dawn Chong's wheel change is crazy good.
6. Lady is the Boss (1983)
Shaw Brothers bike kung fu!
Stay tuned to Jackalope Ranch for an upcoming announcement that will help fill some Cycle time over the next couple of months.