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Vintage Bicycles, Omaha, NE

From a basement interview in rural Iowa, to a Sotheby’s auction in Chicago, the documentary “Cyclotherapy” explores the subculture of the vintage and classic bicycle collector. Through over a dozen interviews, the greatly varied motivations driving those who seek to own two-wheeled Americana are revealed. The insatiable need to collect these childhood icons and restore them to original condition is documented. The completed work was shot on broadcast quality digital format video, and is approximately 67:00 in length.

Archival footage is used throughout “Cyclotherapy”. The first interview is of a man named “Pete” who reverently recalls his childhood bicycle, and shares home movie footage of himself at age 8 riding his banana seat Schwinn. Schwinn television commercials from the seventies as well as excerpts from a Schwinn sponsored cartoon program from the fifties transition between interviews.

Cyclotherapy documents the world of high-end bicycle collectors. The owner of The Bicycle Museum of America discusses his motivation for selectively gathering a multi million-dollar collection of bicycles and memorabilia. In addition, we witness the competition between collectors at a Sotheby’s bicycle auction where individual bikes sold for over $100,000 dollars.

For many of the collectors, restoring bikes to their original condition is part of the thrill. Locating the correct parts becomes an obsessive quest for perfection and originality. Interviews of those who make the details of the restoration process their livelihood and hobby, describe and demonstrate their craft. One particular bike, a 1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, travels from Ohio, through Chicago, Minnesota and Arizona to get a complete restoration.

“Cyclotherapy” is structured to highlight and honor the diversity of each collector.

The participants share personal stories and feelings about the collecting aspect of their personality. Interview pace and flow strike balance between nostalgia and historic preservation. The generous honesty of each interviewee allows intimacy for the audience. Omission of the interviewer, both visually and audibly adds to the unfiltered feel of each interview. The tone of Cyclotherapy is upbeat and enthusiastic as the collectors celebrate the realization of their passion. Playful, humorous and colorful vignettes are used to transition between interviews. The editing style used in Cyclotherapy preserves the original and unique ideas expressed by each collector.