Show #650 – May 5, 2024

Guests: Christian Sander; John Surico

Hello and welcome to TOC.  I’m your host Diane Jenks.  Thanks for tuning in today.

My first guest is Christian Sander, the producer and writer of Hard Miles, a full-length feature film starring Matthew Modine as Greg Townsend, a social worker who takes a group of incarcerated teenage boys on a 762-mile bike trip to the Grand Canyon.  It’s based on a true story – there really IS a Greg Townsend and he really has taken thousands of kids on this trip.  In fact, Greg was on set every day during the shooting of the movie!

Brian and I went to a local theater last weekend to watch the new movie Hard Miles and we LOVED it!  Unlike so many cycling movies that focus on competition, Hard Miles is about how the bicycle can be a vehicle of transformation, especially to kids serving time in a juvenile detention center.

Christian Sander has known about Greg Townsend, the central character in the movie, for quite some time and saw this story as a movie long before he was able to bring it to the screen.

Greg is played by award winning actor Matthew Modine along with 4 great young men who learn all about how difficult it is to ride a bike 8 hours a day! Cynthia McWilliams, who was the star of Real Husbands of Hollywood, plays the “keep-em-in-line” psychologist Haddie who grudgingly drives the SAG wagon.

The film lives up to everything Christian said and I’d highly recommend it.  If you can’t find a big screen in your area, it will be available streaming later on this summer.  

NY is about to pass a bill regulating eBikes and there has been chatter on some of the bike forums about it.  After hearing the statistics about eBikes in NYC, I think regulation is probably necessary.  There is also a new congestion fee going into effect at the end of June and the money raised will be used for some really important transportation issues.

With almost 700,000 daily cycling trips in NYC, John Surico estimates that at least half of these trips are on an eBike.

And with that kind of ridership, there are a LOT of issues that are beginning to affect transportation in the City.  So next step?  Regulation.  There is a bill about to be brought up for passage in the State legislature.

In addition to what that legislation might look like and who will be affected by it, John and I talk about congestion pricing that will charge cars being driven in Manhattan and how that money will be used to update public transportation among other things.

You can keep abreast of what John is doing by subscribing to his newsletter Streetbeat on Substack.  Even if you don’t live in NY,  John’s insights are most enlightening on a variety of topics.

May 5 Transcript