Graeme Obree is the quintessential cycling underdog who never got the chance to thrive. Or, more aptly, he is a man with really crappy luck and one hell of a unique vision. The basic story is as follows: Obree is a down and out cycling enthusiast struggling to make ends meet. Instead of searching for funding, he decides to make his own bike, in his own unique style. Using everything from scrap metal to laundry machine parts, Obree builds a more aerodynamic bicycle that wins him the hour speed record. Then his bike was banned. He tried again with a new model, broke records and found success -- that is, until that model was also banned.
Struggling with depression, Obree left the world of racing, wrote a book, and now it's a movie called The Flying Scotsman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon. It stars the snarky Sickboy Jonny Lee Miller as Obree. Laura Fraser, who played a chilling Livinia in Titus plays Obree's wife, and that little Pippin Hobbit Billy Boyd plays his close friend. The Flying Scotsman premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year to tepid reviews. Now, the film has been picked up by MGM for world-wide distribution.
It will be interesting to see how the film holds up to the crazy story. The North American release date is December 29, so it won't be long before we can wow over Obree's handiwork. Sports equipment has become a big business, and I can't help but wonder how much more fun sports would be if people were allowed to build their own machinery.