Le Ride is proof of the intrepid courage and exhausting circumstances that happen during long cross-country treks. The documentary is also proof that writer/director/star Phil Keoghan can walk the walk and talk the talk.
Keoghan, who has hosted every season of the American reality television show The Amazing Race, is inspired to emulate the 1928 Tour de France. He admires the determination by cyclists Ernest Bainbridge, Hubert Opperman, Percy Osborn, and Harry Watson as the underdog athletes took on uncompromising terrains and routes for nearly a month’s worth of riding. Out of honour and curiosity, Keoghan and his close friend Ben Cornell find antique bikes – accurate to the ones used in the original race – and coordinate a trip that follows the journey travelled in 1928.
Challenges arise, however, when the riders (and their small team of support) have to make slight compromises. The wheathered bikes, despite adding detail to the trip, are unconventional dependencies, and some original roads and towns have been replaced by intimidating – and prohibited – highways. Varying weather is expected, but in a deprived state, heavy heat and gusts of wind are threatening enough.
Le Ride is a family friendly adventure that educates and entertains. Using restored photos and footage, this project (mutually conceived by Keoghan and his wife Louise) teaches viewers of a history that has been forgotten by too many, while seasoned Amazing Race cameraman Scott Shelley captures beautiful modern scenery that passes our riders by. I’m sure Phil – who is always seen as focused even as he’s huffing-and-puffing up and down mountainous hills – will appreciate the look of the film, although I’m sure he’ll also agree that the music selection may be a bit too grandiose for a production this personal and modest. But, hey, can you blame his excitement?
Le Ride is screening for one-night-only in Cineplex theatres across Canada on August 23, 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie