The Bikes of Wrath follows five Australian friends as they attempt to cycle 2,600 kilometres from Sallisaw, Oklahoma to the Salinas Valley in California with only $430 to pay their way, following in the footsteps of the Joad family depicted in John Steinbeck's book 'The Grapes of Wrath.'
As I sit here in splendid isolation, trapped by the COVID-19 pandemic I cannot but help think about a time when we can travel freely around the World. For someone addicted to travel and new experiences, there is a real danger of becoming depressed by the thought of not knowing when it will be safe to travel again. For sure things will be different and it is difficult to know in what ways. I have a sense it may never be the same again.
Anyway, in an attempt to overcome becoming moribund due to being locked down ( I know there are worst places to be ), I continue to read books and watch videos on travel. And dream!
I decided to watch a documentary film I had seen a couple of years ago which inspired me considerably to thinking about different forms of travelling, although the likelihood of me undertaking a similar challenge is not likely, I believe I can incorporate cycling into part of my future travels.
“Pedal the World” follows the journey of a young German, Felix Starck, who leaves the comfort of his home in German suburbia on his bicycle to see the World and find himself along the way. His journey starts alongside a friend with whom he planned to complete a year of cycling the world but after only a few weeks they split and Felix is left to travel in solitude. He does get joined on his journey for short sections by his father, a lady friend and social media buddy but for the majority of the time, he is travelling alone. Of course, he gets to meet some interesting people along the way that brightens up his time and provides meaningful insight into the preciousness of humanity.
This isn’t just a travel movie. Starck does visit many beautiful places along the way, but it is as much about the coming of age of young millennial, as he undergoes the pain of loneliness and loss during his passage. There are, of course, many moments of joy and exploration in his travels which are the source of soulful energy that keeps him motivated to continue his journey.
A year to the day, after 11,000 miles and 22 countries, he returns to his family home to an emotional and touching welcome a very different man.
Again, if you love adventure travel and yearn to cycle the world (or even relatively small parts of it!) this is a great documentary to watch. If found it both enjoyable and inspiring to watch a second-time – it helped me keep my joy for travel during these difficult times.
Pedal the World is available on Netflix.