If you’re a cycling fan, you probably love to watch movies about it, too. It’s true—the best cycling movies do more than just capture the excitement of the sport. They make you feel like you’re actually there—sweating with your favorite rider on a hot day or freezing in the rain as they race for glory.
And if you’re not a fan of cycling? Well, these movies might change your mind!
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the twenty best cycling movies guaranteed to get your heart racing and inspire you to hit the road.
- 1 What Makes A Cycling Movie?
- 2 20 Best Cycling Movies You Can Watch Today
- 2.1 US Movies
- 2.2 European bicycle racing movies
- 2.3 Asian/Australian Best Cycling Movies
- 2.4 Anime Best Cycling Movies
- 3 Conclusion
What Makes A Cycling Movie?
Movies about cycling take different forms—anime, biopics, sports films—and each has its unique set of rules. To find the best cycling movies for you, know what you’re looking for and your genre of choice.
So what makes a cycling movie? Well, there are a few things that are essential to any good cycling movie:
- The characters in the film must be cyclists themselves. They might not be professional cyclists like Lance Armstrong or Tour de France winners—though these would also work—but they should at least be avid cyclists with a passion for riding bikes and exploring nature on their bikes.
- The setting should be beautiful and relaxing, with gorgeous scenery (preferably mountain biking).
- It should involve some conflict or problem that needs solving before the end credits roll so that there’s enough tension to keep viewers engaged throughout the film without being too stressful (or tedious).
- And finally, the main character should have a goal to achieve but not one that’s obvious or easy. They should have an obstacle that makes it difficult for them to achieve their goal.
20 Best Cycling Movies You Can Watch Today
There are plenty of good cycling movies out there, as the movie industry has produced some great cycling movies over the years.
If you’re looking for some motivation for your next bicycle ride or just want to watch something entertaining while you’re sitting at home on your couch, here are 20 of the best for you to watch today:
Let’s go through some of the best US movies and documentaries featuring characters that love cycling.
Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist and filmmaker, creates a documentary about the use of drugs in sports and how easy it is to be undetected. He seeks to prove that with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to boost his cycling skills while still passing drug tests.
Fogel’s quest leads him to Grigory Rodchenkov, who is in charge of the Russian anti-doping lab. Little does he know that his work will become key to understanding the largest illegal drugging scandal in the sport’s history and serve as a chronicle of it.
2. The Armstrong Lie
This documentary by Alex Gibney tells the story of Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall from grace. The cycling champion tries to get back into racing and admits to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The film starts with Armstrong’s early years as a young athlete and follows him through the early stages of his career, including his battle with testicular cancer and his seven Tour de France victories.
The documentary also explores how Armstrong dealt with allegations that he was doping and whether those allegations had any impact on his career.
3. American Flyers
The movie focuses on Dr. Marcus Sommers, who decides to make amends with his troubled brother David after learning that they might be susceptible to a fatal neurological disease in their family. He invites David on a biking trip to the Rockies.
There, the brothers bond over their mutual love of cycling. They participate in a bike race across the mountains, but Marcus’ health rapidly deteriorates, and David is forced to compete alone.
4. Breaking Away
Set in Bloomington, Indiana, this story follows Dave and his working-class buddies Mike, Moocher, and Cyril. The four friends spend their after-high school years fighting with pretentious college students over girls—and, in Dave’s case, thinking about professional bicycle racing.
Dave’s friends promise to help him win the bike endurance contest at the local university, but others are determined not to let them succeed.
5. Slaying the Badger
In this compelling documentary, Greg LeMond, the first and only American winner of the Tour de France, talks about his bitter rivalry and complicated relationship with Bernard Hinault, his friend, and mentor.
In exchange for LeMond’s help in winning the Tour, Hinault—who was reigning champion and known as a fierce competitor nicknamed “The Badger”—promises to work with him. But in cycling, where everyone is supposed to work together, it really comes down to each man for himself.
European bicycle racing movies
There are also some fantastic movies and documentaries about cycling from various European countries.
6. The Flying Scotsman
Despite the steadfast support of his wife Anne and friend Malky, Graeme Obree has struggled to overcome several challenges in his quest for success as a competitive cyclist.
His battle with mental illness and lack of funding has kept him from realizing all he can achieve. Despite the obstacles, Graeme sets out to pursue his dreams on a handmade bicycle named “Old Faithful.”
7. Road to Roubaix
The one-day race Paris-Roubaix, widely considered the most prestigious cycling event, is the main subject of this documentary. The race, which was first held in 1896, covers 160 miles of winding country roads, ending at the famed Roubaix velodrome.
It’s a tale of the competition among top athletes in one of the world’s most demanding sports. Filmmakers tell the story of the riders, spectators, mechanics, and settings that make up Paris-Roubaix – definitely one of the Best Cycling Movies!
8. The Triplets of Belleville
Madame Souza, an old Frenchwoman, becomes involved in a conspiracy when her grandson, Champion—a professional cyclist—is abducted and smuggled abroad. Souza sets out to find her grandson with the help of her loyal dog, Bruno.
She soon meets three sisters who have performed on the vaudeville stage for many years. Together, the group of elderly women uses their wits as they track down Champion’s kidnappers.
9. Le Vélo de Ghislain Lambert
The story of this film centers around Ghislain Lambert, a modest Belgian cyclist who tells the relatively straightforward tale of his life. His greatest goal in racing is to win, but he lacks the legs to do so.
He is forced to accept that his time has passed and cannot compete with the younger cyclists. His story of perseverance and acceptance shows how the simple joys in life can make it worthwhile.
10. A Sunday in Hell
This is one of the best cycling documentaries and tells the story of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix bicycle race. It focuses on the experiences and emotions of its disparate characters: competitors, organizers, and fans.
Paris–Roubaix is the most well-known and exciting of all spring classic races.
Asian/Australian Best Cycling Movies
Here are five awesome movies about cycling from various Asian countries and Australia.
11. All for One
This documentary follows the inaugural ProTour cycling team from Australia—GreenEDGE. The film documents the cyclists’ struggles to succeed at an international level.
It highlights their dedication, tenacity, and refusal to give up in the face of adversity.
12. Race to Freedom
The movie tells the true story of renowned cyclist Uhm Bok-dong, who became a national hero and symbol of Korean pride after winning against Japanese competitors in a bike race in the midst of Japanese occupation in Korea.
13. To the Fore
The film follows three ambitious cyclists exploring the competitive world of bicycle racing. It explores their conflict between personal ambition and loyalty to a team.
What’s more, the film is a story about family, friendship, and betrayal. It’s a tale of how people’s lives change in the blink of an eye due to ambition and desire.
14. Beijing Bicycle
Guei, a young boy from the countryside who dreams of success, moves to a big city. He soon finds work as a bike messenger, getting paid for every delivery and working hard to buy his own bicycle someday.
Jian, a poor boy, finds the stolen bike and uses it to impress the girl he loves. But things get very complicated when Guei claims ownership of the bicycle.
A young Saudi girl enters a Quran recitation contest at her school. She hopes to win the prize money to get her own bicycle.
Anime Best Cycling Movies
We couldn’t exclude anime from our list. Here are a few animes about cycling that you most certainly will enjoy.
16. Yowamushi Pedal
Sakamichi is an awkward otaku who does not have much going for him. No one, including himself, thinks he has the potential to become anything more than a manga-obsessed shut-in.
But he surprises everyone by finding happiness in life—working up a sweat while cycling.
17. Hill Climb Girl
This anime centers around Hinako, a high school student and avid cyclist who rides her mother’s old bike to school every morning.
She and a boy she knows compete against one another in races down their hillside route each day. Hinako can never beat him; he always comes out on top.
Frustrated with her lack of progress, Hinako learns she has a chance of winning when she watches a video of her favorite cyclist and prepares for the next race the following morning.
18. Idaten Jump
Young Sho Yamato enjoys racing his Idaten bike with his friends, but when they enter the mysterious X-Zone, he and his pals need to find a way out. In their search for a way to get home, the children embark on several thrilling races.
19. Nasu Summer in Andalusia
Pepe Benengeli, a professional cyclist from Spain, takes part in a road cycling competition across Andalusia.
Due to pressure from his sponsors and Carmen—his ex-girlfriend who is getting married to his older brother on the same day as the final stage of this race—he struggles with frustration.
He later learns that his sponsor will dismiss him after the race. Disregarding his orders, he attempts to win the race.
Mikoto Shinozaki is unrefined and socially awkward, and other students pick on him because of his messy looks and low self-esteem.
In any case, Yuki Fukuzawa, the most popular student in their class (and also Mikoto’s crush), invites him to join the school’s cycling club, hoping it will help him socialize and make new friends.
Mikoto has no excuse to turn down Yuki’s offer, aside from the fact that he can’t ride a bicycle. Eventually, Mikoto gives in to his curiosity and sneaks into the school grounds at night to practice riding.
If you’re a cyclist or someone who loves the sport, you’ve probably seen your fair share of movies that capture the essence of what it’s like to be on a bike.
But if you’ve ever wanted to watch a film that really gets into the mind of a cyclist, or if you wish to see some great cycling adventure films, these 20 best cycling movies are for you.
These movies have it all—drama, comedy, tragedy, and even romance. They’ll make you laugh, cry, and cheer for the characters as they struggle through the ups and downs of their lives on two wheels.
If you’ve ever wanted to get into cycling but weren’t sure where to start, these films offer a great introduction to the world of competitive cycling.
Cycling is a great way to work out and enjoy the outdoors. It can also be an enjoyable way to bond with friends or family members since it gives you something to do together in addition to talking.
If you’re interested in trying it out, consider renting one of these movies for inspiration before heading out on your first ride.
Whether comedies, dramas, or documentaries, these films will keep you entertained and inspired and offer you a better perspective of what it means to ride a bike!
Last Updated on January 4, 2023 by Matthew Carpenter