Movie Review: Le Ride
Le Ride (E)
90 mins ★★★★
TV presenter Phil Keoghan has been living and working in LA for more than half his life (he's world famous for hosting The Amazing Race), but the expat Kiwi's attachment to Aotearoa has always been strong.
So when the intrepid adventurer read about an unknown Cantabrian cyclist, Harry Watson, who was part of the first-ever Antipodean team in the 1928 Tour de France, he felt compelled to recreate the team's expedition.
But rather than employ modern-day bikes and stopping to smell the French roses, Keoghan and his long-time adventuring pal, Ben Cornell, take their tribute to the nth degree. They source replica 1928 team cycles (twice the weight of modern bikes, with no gears or brakes), of which one engineer says "Going forward isn't a problem – it's stopping".
Donning hilarious old-style shoes and caps, they stick to the gruelling 26-day schedule of 3338 miles, departing Paris and riding around the perimeter of France. (It's worth noting that contemporary Tour-istes ride a leg, jump in a van or fly to the next stop, then ride some more. Not so in 1928! The course was designed to be so tough that only a fraction of the teams who began would make it to the end.)
Le Ride is Keoghan's fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring documentary of their journey, which turns out to be much more than the fit athlete had bargained for. Juxtaposed with eye-boggling archive footage, the French scenery is nothing short of impressive with its teasing beaches, steep drops and tall aqueducts.
Whether you're a cyclist, Francophile or armchair adventurer, Le Ride will delight and inspire.
Le Ride opens in select cinemas nationwide on December 15.