Project Pedal

Posted on September 10, 2008

If you like cycling, love filming, enjoy breathtaking cinematography, appreciate colourful story-telling, but have little in the wallet, what would you do?

Mike Ambs had an idea to document cycle-touring. A film crew would follow groups of cyclists making their way across USA from Washington to Maine. It would be Relay Across America – a group of cyclists would start from the Pacific coast, meeting another group a week later, which would carry the baton to the next group, until the last group reaches the Atlantic.

Why not just follow one cyclist’s journey to the East? “What moved me the most on my first [long distance cycling] trip, and inspired the idea for this project, was not one person’s particular experience,” Mike explains in Episode 2. Collecting different perspectives to cycle-touring captures a broader audience, creating a more comprehensive documentary.

When it came to financing, Mike and then girlfriend Amanda tried every source imaginable, from pitching the idea to Discovery Channel with a pilot episode to starting a company filming high school concerts. All the effort didn’t take them quite far enough. That is until one day they got a $25,000 check winning the Network2 film contest.

They’ve got talent.

Episode One: From the beginning from mike ambs on Vimeo.

With the money and crew set, they set off to film. Filming wrapped, and the project is now in post-production.

About a week ago they hit their first setback. Two of their hard drives, containing about 6 months worth of work, died. Luckily, they were able to salvage much of their work on their backup drive. Mike wrote about it on the blog.

He received seven hard drives in the mail days later. They’ve got talent and a devout following.

Project Pedal is still being cut and pasted, but they do post clips of what they’ve got so far, along with 8 completed episodes:

I join the legion of motion-induced, colour-addicted viewers waiting for the next episode, and the completion of the project, to find out why people subject themselves to weeks, months or even years of frugal, mobile life on the bike. Do they want to explore the world, reject the world, or simply ride… to ride?

We will soon find out.