It’s never easy to pair down the list of exciting, entertaining, and inspiring bits of news to share for these roundups, and the past couple months have made it extra challenging. The list was especially long this time around, but we’re excited to bring you a paired down version featuring a hilarious and heart-warming film from England, along with fundraising efforts to get a more diverse population on bikes, a Radiolab episode on the psychology of ultra-racing, legislation to improve bike travel on long-distance trails, and more! So grab some coffee, kick up your feet, and enjoy our curated list of bikepacking news from around the world.
“Alfie the Odd Job Boy”
It’s easy to get caught up with bikes. I’m probably not alone in confessing that I often find myself admiring bike portraits and beautiful details online while my own bike sits locked up outside, almost whimpering at me to stop thinking about bikes and instead come out for a ride. Bikes can be beautiful and glamorous, but what I loved most about this documentary is the reminder that bikes are also tools. Historically, they served a utilitarian roll with sheep shearers in the Australian Outback, as modes of transport for the Bicycle Corps in the late 1800s, and the list goes on right into the present day. Most of us use them for tools of recreation and fun, noble ends for sure, but this documentary reminded me of the other, less glamorous side of the bike as a workhorse and a resource.
I doubt that Alfie swoons over bikes, but I’m certain that he appreciates a good working machine, as you’ll see in the video. The film is beautifully shot and does an excellent job of visually reflecting Alfie’s personality and scrappiness in the face of hard times. His creativity and belief in his ideas felt so genuine and tender at times that I felt sorrowful, only to be then belly-laughing at his antics and colorful language.
For me, the film was a needed reminder of just how beautiful the pairing of human spirit and bicycle can be. Some folks race into the nights and days atop their bikes. Others deliver flowers, packages and lunches to offices. Some use it to get to work, and Alfie uses it to create the work he needed. If ever I feel possessive of my style and preferences for riding, I hope I can take a moment to relax and remember that it’s just bikes, and everyone has the right to use the tool as they see fit.
- Radical Adventure Riders’ Chapters Fundraiser: Campaign raising funds to establish an additional 20 locations around the country with the mission to educate and encourage BIPOC and FTWN-B riders.
- Heinz Stücke’s 50 year tour: Documentary covering one of the legends of bicycle touring. Available to Europeans via Netflix. For those in the USA, the trailer is all we get at the moment.
- Virtual Bicycle Film Festival: Only available a few more days (ends March 31st), so get on it! Films from 4 categories showcasing the first Women’s Paris-Roubaix, the East Texas Showdown, and adventure films from around the world across several cycling disciplines.
- BOLT Act: What’s this?! Legislation to support bike travel? Yes, PLEASE! A bipartisan bill supporting bike travel on existing long-distance trails around the country as well as identifying future trails for development. Read more about the bill and support via Outdoor Alliance at the link above.
- Alone Enough: Radiolab’s Cat Jaffee and Rachael Cusick explore the physical and mental components of ultra-racing, including the convoluted aspects of what “support” looks like. Listen wherever you podcast.
- San Francisco Supermarket Street Sweep: After a pandemic and weather-induced hiatus, the Street Sweep returned in 2023 combining competition and massive carrying capacity to benefit a local food bank.
- Cycling in Kuwait: After weeks of cycling iconic European roads, Abe Alkhamees returns to his native Kuwait in search of cycling community.
- BERD Spokes: We recently built up a wheelset with these strange, fibrous spoke alternatives. Read more about them here along with a long-term review from Kyle Klain at The Radavist.
- Wolftooth Waveform color drop: I’m excited to try out a pair of these myself, and Wolftooth recently added four additional color options – Espresso, Olive, Red and Raw Silver.