Well, not my life, actually, but Rob Penn’s. I saw this great little BBC documentary last night thanks to fellow bike blogger Steve, who reviewed it a while back. It’s about a life-long cyclist who, probably affected by a mid-life crisis similar to mine (but with more money at his disposal…drat!), decided that he wanted to build himself his dream bike; the bike that would take him out of his crisis and into the sunset of his life. A bike he could ride, happily, forever. Here it is.
But how he got there is obviously what the movie is about. It is both a story of a man obsessed with getting the best, handcrafted bike he can find, and a tale of the bicycle itself, from freakish toy for the aristocracy of the early 19th century, to a liberating force for the emancipation of women, to the high-precision machines of today.
Penn travels around England to find his hand-built steel frame and his saddle (I was pretty stoked to find out he chose a Brooks, which I have on my touring bike), then to Italy for his group set (of course, Campy) and handlebars, then across the pond to get some wheels made, as well as his headset.
In between he finds time to give lots of history, do a climb in Italy to the shrine of the Patron Saint of Bicycles and Cyclists (if anybody needs a saint, it’s us!), and discuss the future of the bicycle – something I’m very interested in.
It ended up being a pretty inspiring documentary, at least for me. The movie is based on an excellent book by a different name: It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels