The Bicycle Film Festival Womens Program at the 2014 Los Angeles stop of their tour had only two films: a short by local racer and former BFF producer, Jen Whalen, and the documentary ‘Half the Road.’ There seems to be a lack of women focused or directed films about biking out there, so perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the major take away is: gender bias in cycling is freakishly bad and geared towards silent acceptance. With 10+ years of riding, racing, organizing and advocating for bikes behind me, I was thrilled to see so many legendary female racers open up about their personal stories, lives and how the shameful lack of respect for women in professional cycling is unnecessary.
When the the film reviews for ‘Half the Road’ started getting published online, I agreed and felt defensive. Was it too long? Yes. Did it take an aggressive name calling stance towards the evil UCI officials/henchmen keeping women from opportunities or respect? Yup. The cinematography and production values could have been better too, but seriously? In telling the movie going audience that a movie is too long and negative, you’ve just killed off the audience that will be the most impressed by this movie: the ones who are not already super familiar with these issues and are more likely to have that “ah-ha” moment watching it.
For those of us tired of hearing how things are broken, it was actually really awesome to watch director Kathyrn Bertine point fingers at specific UCI officials, name names, cite specific discriminatory rules and respond to dismissals with epic stories of a forgotten women’s TdF, massive endurance events and the incredibly moving first hand story of Kristin Armstrong’s latest olympic gold medal. Bertine points out exactly how things can change. Is it biased? Absolutely. Now, it’s up to the audience to act on it and thankfully ‘Half the Road’ provides that roadmap.
SCOTLAND PREMIERE! MON JUNE 12 in EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND at Edinburgh Festival of Bicycles