Cycling News

Matthew Modine stars in new cycling movie, ‘Hard Miles’

Matthew Modine in Hard Miles

“Hard Miles,” directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna, follows the journey of male juvenile offenders on a challenging cycling rideto the Grand Canyon, led by their teacher-coach, played by Matthew Modine.
The film, inspired by true events, delves into the redemptive power of sports amidst the struggles of both the students and their mentor. Modine’s character, Greg Townsend, navigates personal demons while facing the volatile environment of a correctional residential school in Colorado.

Riding the hardest of miles

Flashbacks to his abusive childhood and familial obligations add depth to his character as he embarks on a transformative solo cycling trip spanning three states and 1,200 km.

The institution where Modine’s character works faces scrutiny from government authorities, desperate for positive publicity amid a critical review.

In a bid to improve its image, the chief, played by Leslie David Baker (The Office), suggests a backpacking trip for well-behaved residents, jokingly citing the potential for photogenic “hoods in the woods.” However, Greg, unwilling to abandon his own plans, suggests taking four boys from his class who have been crafting bike frames, on the cycling journey he had already intended to undertake.

The film’s understated approach and strong performances has been garnering acclaim on the festival circuit. “Hard Miles” also features Sean Astin (Rudy, Lord of the Rings).

A long history with bikes

Modine, who rose to fame as Private Joker in “Full Metal Jacket”, has a long history with cycling–but not with clipless pedals or Lycra.

“When I moved to New York City to study acting, my wife — she was my girlfriend then — was really successful, and I had no money,” Modine said at the Heartland Film Festival. “There was a sale on lemons down in the delicatessen beneath our apartment, so I bought a bunch of lemons and I had one of those five gallon Sparklett bottles. I made a bunch of lemonade, and I was standing on the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington saying, ‘Ice cold lemonade!’ I was selling my lemonade and a guy rode up on a Raleigh beach cruiser with white wall tires. You know, a single-speed beach cruiser. He dumped the bicycle on the ground and ran.”

Since he couldn’t afford subway fare, he relied on his bicycle for transportation, to take him to auditions, where I still reside. Cycling became his gym and primary mode of transportation since he was 18.

Matthew Modine on learning Lycra and…

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