Ride with Larry

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ride with larryThis weekend a movie called Wadjda opens in San Diego. It’s about a girl in Saudi Arabia that wants a bicycle. She’s constantly told women aren’t allowed to ride bikes. It’s not a very good movie, but if you’re itching for a film about bicycling – go to the San Diego Film Festival the following weekend. There’s a documentary called Ride with Larry. It’s a film about a guy that’s told he won’t be working in five years, and he not only does that – he attempts a 300 mile bike ride. Take that, Wadjda!

It was at the San Diego Film Festival that I saw the documentary My Run a few years back. It was great. A lot of times these types of festivals are where you find the hidden gems (I reviewed AKA Doc Pomus, which will also be showing there).

Ride with Larry tells the story of a 26-year police captain who was forced to retire when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He took his love of baking from being a hobby, into a business, and started the successful Mister Smith’s Bakery. Everyone in the community loves his spirit (and his bread).

During the interesting story of this couples 40 years together, we also get lots of information about Parkinson’s. We also get to witness Larry’s latest journey – wanting to ride a bike across the state of South Dakota.

What’s weird is that many people with Parkinson’s can’t even walk, yet they can ride a bike well. You’ll get doctors explaining why this is, and rarely is there a talking head in this movie that you’re not learning something from.

The 300 mile ride seems like it would be tough for anybody, let alone a person afflicted with Parkinson’s. Not sure the longest any of you have ridden on a bike. I was in 6th grade and won a bike-a-thon for cancer by riding 60 miles. I was sore for four days.

You’re going to witness a man brave some harsh weather conditions, and in one day ride 60 miles, followed by a 70 mile ride the next day.

I may have used an entire box of tissues watching this. At times that was listening to Larry say something inspirational. Other times, it was listening to his wife talk about their times together and there sometimes difficult adventure.

There was a teenage girl who had a brother fighting brain cancer. They were inspired to come out and ride along, as were others diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

There comes a point in the movie when they fly to San Diego for some medical marijuana. It’ll be a rather persuasive portion of the movie for anybody that’s against the legalization.

When I sat down to watch this, I thought I’d give it 30 minutes. After the hour and 30 minute documentary finished, I wish I had another 30 hours to watch the Smith’s.

Larry said his wife was “Quite a gal.”

Yep. And this is quite a movie. I’m giving it 4 stars out of 5.

It will run at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 5th at the San Diego Film Festival. You can get tickets here: http://sched.co/1e7Aoda

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