This beautifully-photographed documentary will likely thrill season mountain bikers, but is that as far as its influence might go....?
Pedal-Driven drums up a fascinating issue. In the deep forests of Washington State, there is a sect of thrill seekers who refer to themselves as ‘freeriders’, extreme mountain bikers who find pockets of dynamic riding paths on U.S. Forest Service land, shred it, then leave. They keep things clandestine – authorities are definitely on their trail – but in this documentary, they demand to preserve their freedom: if American forests are for American people, why can’t these guys ride their bikes there?
Pedal-Driven tries to give credence to both sides of this issue, but it’s clearly skewed toward the bikers, and maybe that’s appropriate – this land is your land and everything. But the movie has a particular problem that it has distinct trouble rising above. Yes, these folks wanting to preserve their freedom to ride on public land as they please deserve attention, but Pedal Driven doesn’t present them in a particularly positive light. Their passions are clearly evident, but they come across here as bossy and unwilling to compromise.
So we’re left with Forest Service rangers trying to preserve land and a cadre of ‘freeriders’ who don’t really give a rip about that as long as they’re in public lands where these authorities are not. Bikers will love this flick – it presents the hobby as a thrilling, eco-friendly way to experience the particular magic Mother Nature has to offer – but if you haven’t strapped a bike helmet on in the last year or two, it’s unlikely that Pedal-Driven will impel you. Ride on, dudes – it’s clear that nobody’s going to stop you.