I just finished watching a really entertaining documentary film about four young French men who traveled around the world on their bicycles while partaking in a number of other wild and wacky adventures along the way. The film I’m talking about is called “Solidream” and it’s the story of Morgan, Siphay, Brian and Bertand.
Starting at their home in France, the four young men slowly make their way bike bike all the way around the world – on a winding, twisting route that takes them across all 7 continents (even Antarctica, which they visit on a sailboat – not with their bicycles).
Solidream: The Parts I Liked Most
The best thing about this movie is that is gives the viewer an accurate representation of what it’s like to travel the world by bike. Bicycle touring is wondrous and incredible in one moment, and difficult and monotonous in the next. You meet people along the way that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and you spend so much time on your own that you get sick of yourself.
If you’re a young person, dreaming of a global bicycle touring adventures (especially a journey that involves traveling with one or more friends), then Solidream is a film you definitely want to watch before you take off from home.
The thing I liked most about the men in this film is that while bicycle touring around the world was their main goal, they realized (fairly early on) that there needs to be more to a global bicycle touring adventure that simply riding bicycles over a super long distance. They even said at one point in the film (and I’m paraphrasing now) that “after a while, all the roads and trucks begin to look the same.” And I can tell you from my own bicycle touring adventures all around the world, that this is very true! While an outside observer might be able to look at your trip around the world and note the small differences between the places and the people you are riding through, when you’re in the moment for yourself and you’ve been traveling for weeks and months at a time, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate one place or one day from the last.
And so, to break up the monotony of their global bicycle tour, Morgan, Siphay, Brian and Bertand came up with all sorts of wild adventures to add to their travels around the world – adventures such as sailing to Antarctica, building rafts and floating them down a Canadian river, kite-surfing on their bicycles in Australia, and a whole lot more!
Ever since I started Bicycle Touring Pro in late 2007, I’ve been telling people that there has to be more to your bike tour than simply riding a bicycle over extremely long distances – especially if you’re planning a bike trip that spans across several countries/continents. I don’t care how much you like to ride your bike – after a while you’re probably going to want a break. So being open to these additional adventures (like sailing, rafting, surfing, etc.) is a great way to add even more depth and memorability to any cycling adventure.
Finally, I should commend the filmmakers on their cinematography, storytelling techniques, and the overall quality of the film. I’ve watched dozens of bicycle touring films and reviewed many of them here on Bicycle Touring Pro. I know what makes a good film and what does not… and the filmmakers here made a lot of good decisions.
One of their best decisions, in my opinion, was that they showed us their trip around the world in a non-sequential order. In other words, they didn’t just start at the beginning and then follow their trip around the world from there. That type of storyline might work in some instances, but it doesn’t usually work well for bicycle touring because the most interesting bits of a bike tour don’t always happen in a straight line that can be easily followed.
In the Solidream documentary, the story begins somewhere in the middle, jumps back to the beginning about half-way through the film, leaps forward to the three-quarters mark, and then finishes with the men arriving home in France. This, in my opinion, was a great way to tell the story of their bike tour around the world.
Solidream: The Parts I Liked The Least
My only real criticism of this film (besides the name of the film itself (Solidream – What does it mean exactly? I have no idea!)) is actually a compliment.
First the criticism: After watching the film, I’m still not sure who the four men are that were featured in the film. I know that there were four of them in total, but I couldn’t actually tell you which one was Morgan or which one was Siphay. Who is Brian and who is Bertand? I wouldn’t be able to say. Watching the film, I just saw four young French men who all kind of look alike… and I was never able to really get to know any of the men in the way you might get to know most of the characters in any other documentary or film.
Having said that, the fact that you never really get to know the four main characters allows you as the viewer to more easily see yourself in their place. What I mean by this is that when I was watching the film, I wasn’t watching Morgan, Siphay, Brian and Bertand ride their bikes across the Amazon jungle. I was watching myself and three of my friends riding our bikes across the Amazon jungle! Because their faces were so interchangeable, it was easier for me to push them out of the story and more easily put myself in their place.
From a storytelling standpoint, it works! And it makes the film that much more rewarding for the viewing audience. Unlike Felix Starck’s film Pedal The World, which is a film that focuses 110% on the filmmaker’s bike trip around the world and is almost entirely void of the people he travels with and/or meets along the way, Solidream is the opposite of that. Solidream is a movie about traveling with your friends (the good times and the bad)… and it’s a film about the people you meet along the way.
If you are looking for a high-quality documentary about the bicycle touring lifestyle… SOLIDREAM is the film for you! Watch it and let me know what you think by leaving a comment at the end of this article.