Cycling documentaries are more available than ever on multiple streaming services. As we begin 2024, there are a number of exciting and insightful cycling documentaries available to get you in the cycling mood. Whether you’re looking for a laugh or intrigued at what happens in the professional realm of the sport, we’ve compiled our top 5 recommendations.
1. MAMIL, 2018
MAMIL, for those who don’t know, as a commonly used acronym in road cycling. It stands for “Middle Aged Men in Lycra” and refers to the sometimes obsessive devotees of road cycling you might see on the road. Obviously not all are middle aged or men, but there is a certain steretype of the fully kitted out and obsessively determined enthusiast.
MAMIL looks primarily at what drives the non-professional cohort of cyclists who become afflicted by the cycling bug. Its our top choice purely because so few documentaries have ventured here (most cover the professional cycling world). As an enthusiast, you’re likely to relate to what the individuals here convey and how they describe their relationship with cycling. It often focuses on the balance between the individuals’ full time jobs, families, and other obligations and how this mixes with their love of cycling.
MAMIL is our top cycling documentary pick for a reason; its the most real and the most relevant for enthusiasts. Produced in Australia and available on multiple streaming platforms there, its available on Apple+ and Amazon in the US and UK as of the time of publication.
Its no secret that professional cycling has….a reputation. In particular, a longstanding association with doping and some incredibly famous scandals. Tour de Pharmacy is our number 2 pick precisely because it approaches this reputation with humor.
A mockumentary with a star studded and hilarious cast (Andy Samberg and John Cena shine), Tour de Pharmacy hits home because of how real as well as how outrageous some of the humor hits. Some of the more ridiculous bits aren’t so far off from the absurdity of the doping schemes we’ve seen in professional cycling over the years.
I guarantee you’ll be laughing at the end and equipped with some new jokes for your riding mates.
Speaking of the above.. Probably the most famous scandal in professional cycling was Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace and the associated controversies. Stop At Nothing is our number 3 pick because no other documentary comes close to the breadth and depth of what happened and what drove Lance Armstrong.
What makes this documentary particularly noteworthy is that almost everyone in Lance’s inner circle is prominently featured. From old teammates to former relationships, the documentary provides a lot of insight into occurrences that Lance himself talked little about previously. If you’re not clued in on what happened and why, this is our top pic to understand the story.
One last note, since this documentary was released, Lance himself has been more forthcoming in interviews and other documentaries about his career and behavior. Its well worth listening to his interview with Joe Rogan among others, for example.
The story of professional cyclist Marco Pantani is both incredible and tragic. This documentary covers his life, his incredible professional victories, and ultimately his death. Pantani was one of the most famous cyclists of his era, and ultimately passed away too soon due to illicit substances.
Pantani is our number 4 pic and possible the most real documentary we’ve seen on a professional cycling figure. The documentary hits with strong credibility owing to it including Pantani’s teammates as well as some of the most famous names in cycling (Bradley Wiggins, Greg LeMond, etc.) as well as Pantani’s own father.
Pantani highlights the mentality of one of the greatest cyclists ever in an unusually authentic way.
The most recent documentary on our list and available on Netflix, Tour de France Unchained is an up close look at eight teams preparing to compete in the world’s most famous cycling competition. This one is covered in multiple episodes and includes facetime with many of today’s most famous figures in cycling.
This series is both enlightening and entertaining. For me, talk of the tribulations of the Tour de France make me feel all the more pathetic for struggling with motivation on a weekday ride. One can’t help but feel excited and motivated hearing many of today’s prominent cyclists talk about their strategies.
Highly recommend this one even if you’re not usually a fan of the competitive aspect of the sport.