Pedal Through (film)
Despite never having camped or ridden a bike off road, Analise Cleopatra set out on a week-long bikepacking journey of self healing and growth. Along with fellow beginner Dejuanae Toliver and professional mountain biker Brooklyn Bell, she discovered the joy of sleeping under the stars and the strength that comes with pedaling through. Watch the full film here…
Photos by Aly Nicklas and Alisa Geiser
Produced by Aly Nicklas and presented by REI, Pedal Through follows director-lead Analise Cleopatra (@cleeeopatra) as she discovers the joy of bikepacking and the healing power of a backcountry bike trip. Prior to this trip, Analise had never camped or even ridden a bike off pavement. Even so, she decided to tackle a week-long adventure on the challenging and remote Three Sisters, Three Rivers bikepacking route in Central Oregon. She recruited an all-black female team: her best friend and fellow bikepacking newcomer, Day Toliver (@day_toliver), and professional mountain biker Brooklyn Bell (@badgal_brooky). The three traverse the backcountry and discover waterfalls, old growth forests, sparkling starscapes, and deep healing. With raw authenticity, Analise shares all the intimate foibles, fear, and joy while finding her place in the outdoors.
Watch the film below, then scroll down for a full photo gallery from the trip, more information about the route, and a panel discussion with the cast and filmmakers.
Pedal Through was inspired by and made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Oregon Made Creative Foundation and Travel Oregon. Additional funding was provided by REI, Gregory Packs, Danner Boots, Machines For Freedom, and Therm-a-Rest. The film was co-directed by Aly Nicklas and Analise Smith; this is Analise Smith’s debut film. The film crew consisted of of Aly Nicklas, Alisa Geiser, and Jennifer Daniels, who followed in a production van and rode anywhere from 5-25 miles per day with the athletes, including Aly Nicklas who was five months pregnant at the time.
“Black Joy is important. Black Healing is important.” -Analise Cleopatra on her debut film
“I took on this project because I know that I’m not the only person who was interested in mountain biking, but also intimidated by it… hopefully those folks can see themselves in my shoes and also be scared but do it anyway.” —Director Analise Cleopatra
“I had never seen three black women in a bike film, and I wanted to make that happen. The physical challenge was appealing too—I had never been on a long bikepacking trip before. I thought that part would be the hardest, but what challenged me the most was stepping into a space of leadership while elevating Analise as a director. I am so proud of this film and I hope we can see more like it in the future!” —Brooklyn Bell
Watch the interview with the cast and crew: