Top 7 Films to Watch While Training

Top 7 Films to Watch While Training

While logging time on your bike trainer can improve overall performance during race season, sometimes it can feel a little tedious, moreso if you’re just staring at a wall for the duration. So for those times you can’t get out and enjoy the scenery on a ride, we’ve compiled some films that can pump you up and motivate you to really push your training sessions to the limit.

Breaking Away
Netflix Google Play
Running time: 100 minutes

A great story of friends trying to figure out what to do after high school, Breaking Away takes place in Bloomington, Indiana. The group of friends regularly clash with the more affluent college students in their town, who insultingly refer to them as “cutters”, a reference to the blue collar stonecutter jobs that were prevalent in the area. The group of friends enters a local race, taking back the derogatory term by calling their team “The Cutters.”

This movie is such a strong part of cycling culture that there was even a Cutter bicycle & apparel brand.

Training Ideas: Go for a sprint every time Dave is on a stationary bike, try to match cadence with Dave during the race.

Google Play
Running time: 106 minutes

This thriller features Kevin Bacon as a stock trader who, after a very bad day, becomes a bicycle courier. Unfortunately, his courier-ing leads him down a rabbit hole of intrigue and murder.

Training Ideas: Time sprint intervals to every time Kevin Bacon’s stunt double appears on screen.

The Flying Scotsman
Netflix Google Play
Running time: 103 minutes

This movie is based on the life of Graeme Obree and his unconventional attempts to break the hour record as well as going for the Individual Pursuit World Championship. Obree’s bicycles feature unique and “controversial” designs, creating great conflict between him and various officiating groups.

Training Ideas: Try to match the stance Obree uses when racing, see how it affects your output.

The Triplets of Belleville
Running Time: 80 minutes

This fantastic French cartoon follows a young boy, Champion, adopted by his grandmother and encouraged to become a pro cyclist. Mystery & intrigue occur as Champion races in the Tour De France, including his kidnapping.

Training Ideas: Try to mimic Champion’s riding style.

American Flyers
Netflix Amazon Instant Google Play
Running time: 113 minutes

American Flyers stars Kevin Costner racing through a three-stage race in the Rockies while he and his brother come to terms with a family medical condition. The race in the movie actually took place at the Coors Classic, a multi-stage race that took place in the 1980s. Some of the competitors in the movie were even members of team 7-11, which would later be sponsored by Motorola.

Training Ideas: Practice hill attacks during the hill attacks in the movie, see if you can keep up with the frenetic output of Costner’s character in the final stage.

(Unfortunately it’s not available on streaming services)
Running time: 91 minutes

If you ever wondered what the 1980s were really like, I don’t think Rad is it. This movie was one of the first to feature BMX racing and stunts. It follows Cru Jones, a local bike racer, and his attempt to win a major race at Hell Track. It has a lot of the same underdog vs preppy jerk motifs that were in movies like One Crazy Summer and Better off Dead. They also call a backflip an Airwalk which is interesting to me.

I still can’t hear the song “Send me an Angel” without picturing the bike dance between Cru Jones (Bill Allen) and Christian Holland (Lori Loughlin.)

Training Ideas: Wear your most neon kit during the ride. Maybe rock a side ponytail and legwarmers too.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
Amazon Instant Video Google Play
Running time: 91 minutes

“I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.” No listicle about bike movies is complete without Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The movie is an “on the road” type movie, with Pee-Wee traveling the US trying to retrieve his stolen bike. And what a bike it is. From riding in Large Marge’s semi to James Brolin as P.W. Herman, the movie is a roller coaster of excitement.

Training Ideas: During the biker bar/Tequila scene, try to match your cadence to the rhythm of the song.