It's been a bumpy road lately for the cycling community, what with the Lance Armstrong scandal.
Tonight, you can switch gears from "performance-enhancing" to "life-enhancing" with a screening of the movie "Reveal the Path," celebrating the beauty and joy of just getting on a bike and going for a ride.
A bike ride that takes you from Scotland's valleys to Europe's mountains to Morocco's desert to Alaska's coast.
"Reveal the Path" is a 73-minute film following four cyclists who head off without maps and get lost in the world.
"It's fantastic to go from an idea about a project and turning it into something real that people can watch up on the big screen," said Mike Dion, 44, of Denver, who produced and directed the film. "Hopefully, people who see it will get inspired to get out on their own on their own bikes."
The picture is kind of a sequel to Mr. Dion's 2010 movie, "Ride the Divide," about the longest mountain bike race in the world, 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico via the Rocky Mountains.
"The movie did really well and inspired a lot of people to get on their bicycles," Mr. Dion said. "We started getting a lot of people emailing us and posting on our Facebook page that the film inspired them.
"So for our next project, instead of doing something portraying that you have to be Superman or do something above and beyond, we decided to go around the world to some amazing locations.
"We weren't trying to do anything fast or far. It wasn't about elevation or miles. Remember when you were a kid and hopping on a bicycle was just about exploring and discovering and putting a smile on your face."
Mr. Dion studied film in school and has worked in the television business. But his passion has always been cycling.
"I've been a cyclist a whole lot longer than I've been a filmmaker," he said. "I was the kid with the BMX bike, whose dad helped me build a quarter-pipe ramp in our back yard."
For his second project, Mr. Dion enlisted two cycling stars from the first film -- Matthew Lee and Kurt Refsnider -- along with Hunter Weeks, a friend of theirs. They bought some open-ended airline tickets, packed the bikes and their camera gear, and set off.
"We really didn't have it planned," Mr. Dion said. "The whole idea was letting the path unfold in front of us. It was really about showing the audience some amazing locations, some amazing people that we met along the way, and stirring their wanderlust to go do some kind of adventure on their own. Whether it's in their backyard or in their state or on another continent."
Except for having to sit on a bicycle seat for hours at a time, it sounds like a dream come true.
"We had a fantastic time shooting the film," Mr. Dion said, "but then you come back with 100 hours of footage and you're locked in a dark room for six or seven months editing it. So there's trade-offs, I guess."
The movie is not so much about the four traveling cyclists as it is about the experience. It lets the landscape and the locals tell the story, with world flavors coming across in music.
"There are some amazing trails that we get on," Mr. Dion said. "You're getting to locations, like small villages in Morocco that are accessible only by bicycle or goat-herders. We're staying away from the beaten path."
There is humor, a little bit of drama, some cracked-up bones. But mostly it's about riding bikes. Not flipping and flying and spinning in the air. And definitely not about putting on a yellow jersey and cheating.
"To the pro cyclists, the bicycle is a tool to race and make a living," Mr. Dion said. "For me and my circle of friends and what I try to show with my films, the bicycle isn't about making a living. It's about living.
"You get on a bike and you get out in the open, you breathe the mountain air and hit the trails and see the scenery, and you have a good time with your friends. It's fun and exploration."
"Reveal the Path" is showing at 7 p.m. at SouthSide Works Cinema for $11. Proceeds benefit BikePGH.
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Get a preview of tonight's event!
"Reveal the Path" trailer:
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456.
This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/