Once you begin to climb any of the various cycling social niche ladders, you can’t go far as an American cyclist without catching at least 2 films: Breaking Away and American Flyers. I’ve watched both of them
dozens more times than I care to admit. After my recent acquisition of a cowboy hat, I immediately found myself thinking of David Marshall Grant’s character (who, brilliantly, is named David Grant in the movie.) The scenes of him riding with his cowboy hat are, to me, the very embodiment of innocence in American cycling. Or at least how I imagine American cycling to be before someone decided it wasn’t about the bike. At any rate it is a lot better than those other cycling movies that try to make the Italians out to be bad guys.
But at any rate I felt that somehow there would have to be a wealth of trivia about American Flyers. I mean… it is Kevin Costner. With a fat stash. And David Marshall Grant. Playing David Marshall. It has to be a cult classic – right?
Sadly, not so much.
The movie geeks among us can probably find more tantalizing tidbits about some obscure movie involving Kevin Bacon than you can about American Flyers. Which is sad, because at least American Flyers has a big, hairy Russian with a hipster beard as the bad guy. And after all, what is more American than hating guys with hipster beards?
But… all is not lost. You don’t need trivia and make believe when there are real world tie-ins. Turns out that ShaverSport, the sponsor of the team in American Flyers, is an actual company. And yes… you can get reproductions of not only the ShaverSport team jersey they road with in the movie, but also “Hell of the West” jerseys. Because again, what is more American than taking a term attributed to the French and coopting it as our own?
So, despite the lack of American Flyers fan clubs, I can still grow my hipster ‘stash (but not hipster beard,) race dogs for sprint practice, lose my shoe, waste energy throwing bottles to over-act my sense of anger, pretend to be drowning while on a treadmill with lots of pretend scientific instruments stuck all over me, assume that I have some rare fatal disease that it turns out my brother actually has, and generally set the prototype for the arrogant American cyclist that will ultimately actually exist.