And for these rare and unfortunate occasions, what must a cyclist do to scratch that never-ending itch to hop on two wheels? We recommend sitting back on the couch—or better yet, hopping on your trainer—and checking out one of these documentaries streaming on Netflix right now.
Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story2014 1 of 7
It's hard to believe that in 2007, Lance Armstrong was the greatest feel-good story of the past decade. Yet, his quick downfall, which included the revelation of years of lying about doping while simultaneously throwing everybody under the bus who dare suggest he cheated to capture seven Tour de France titles, turns into one of the most tragic documentaries of the past few years.
While some might interpret this film as a hack job on Armstrong, it still provides amazing insights into the character of a man who did literally anything to win.
Bikes vs. Cars2015 2 of 7
A bike can be an incredible tool, functioning as both a mode of transportation and a means for recreation. But with the growth of cyclists in urban life—from commuters to serious athletes—conflicts in city planning arise to support cars, bikes, buses and the planet's growing dependence on fossil fuels.
Highlighting interviews with urban planners and studies of traffic-related issues in urban areas, the benefits of large-scale bike-commuting are exposed.
Inspired to Ride2015 3 of 7
Without the support, perks or incentives of a typical race, this documentary follows a group of 45 cyclists riding along the stunning yet onerous 4,233-mile TransAmerica Trail purely for the joy and pride of cycling.
Taking a closer look at a handful of riders, viewers will get an in-depth look at what it takes to prepare for and ride over 300 miles a day on only a few hours of sleep. From steep climbs in the Rockies and fierce winds in the Great Plains to gnarly switchbacks in the Appalachians, the goal isn't to win. It's merely to finish.
Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist2014 4 of 7
With a clean-shaven head, bandana, a general pirate-like persona and aggressive riding style, Italian Marco Pantani was one of professional cycling's most popular characters. It helps that he was also one hell of a rider, capturing two grand tour titles in 1998. But his battle with drug addiction and sudden death at the age of 34 rocked the cycling world.
This tragic documentary that follows the life and death of one of the sport's most beloved cyclists is certainly worth 90 minutes on the couch.
Personal Gold: An Underdog Story2015 5 of 7
After Lance Armstrong's undoing—and the subsequent banning of the U.S. men's cycling team from the 2012 Olympics—the American medal hopes rested with the women's track cycling team. This inspiring story follows their journey to London with the support of the families and friends.
Personal Gold takes an up-close and personal look at the group's monumental task of improving by six seconds in a sport that is determined by less than one. This documentary is the underdog story of the 2012 Olympics.
My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes2014 6 of 7
More a documentary about heroism during World War II than it is about cycling, this film follows the brave exploits of cycling legend Gino Bartali, who participated in a secret underground network to protect Jews from Nazi persecution. With most of the continent of Europe engulfed in genocide, thanks to the efforts of unheralded heroes like Bartali, over 80 percent of Italian Jews survived.
This is a tragic but gripping documentary highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a little history with their cycling.