Graeme Obree battled bipolar disorder throughout his life and career. Greame Obree is a world-renowned Scottish cyclist, known for his world records and innovative bicycle designs, but also for his struggle with bipolar disorder.
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The film starts out with a scene where Graeme is wearing a sweatsuit, alone, carrying his bicycle out into the woods. We do not learn until later that he was going out into the woods to try, and fail at, hanging himself. Graeme's noose broke, and a passerby who saw him lying on the ground ran to find medical help.
The movie switches to a scene of how Graeme generally lived for a while, working a bicycle messenger, delivering messages for a company. At the same company, Graeme meets a fellow messenger, Malky, who is aware of Graeme's reputation in bike racing. The two become friends, and Malky becomes Graeme's manager.
Throughout the film O'bree experiences difficulties dealing with his bipolar disorder, as his moods are, uncontrollably, constantly changing, for seemingly no reason. His wife and son are affected by the disorder as O'bree has major bouts of depression.
O'bree also must deal with past painful memories from his childhood, as he was bullied by fellow schoolmates. The bullies revisit Graeme even into his adult life, and one particular bully goes to Graeme's home, even after he has broken a world record, to harass him through the door of his home. Meanwhile Graeme hides and tries to ignore him, but has to hold back from bursting into tears, so that he is not heard.
One of the days that Graeme had come home from school as a child, as we see in a flashback, he had appeared bothered - and his parents seemed to be aware that he had trouble with kids at school. His father presented him with a bicycle, and from then on he used that bicycle to escape from bullies, but then also go on to become a career cyclist.
We see Graeme constantly trying to be the best, the fastest. He is not satisfied with being the second fastest or the second best in cycling. Graeme goes to extreme measures to win world records. He wins the 1 hour world record, but shortly after is defeated by another cyclist. Graeme takes the news badly, and given all of the other factors affecting him at that time, made the attempt to kill himself in the woods, as we saw a piece of in the beginning of the film.
Graeme goes on to win the world record again, however.
One of the main issues that makes Graeme so unique from other cyclists is his riding style, and engineering innovations. The authorities never seem to like him or accept him for it. International cycling authorities start to make sure that cyclists are not allowed to race using Graeme's superman style of riding with his handlebars stretched far out in front of him.
Despite authorities that try to ban Obree's cycling innovations, childhood bullies who constantly haunt him, and the affects of his bipolar disorder and depression, we see in the end that Graeme decides to get counseling for his problems.
The film ends explaining that Obree continues to enjoy cycling, mostly for fun.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really enjoyed this movie because it is so inspirational. It shows how someone who has dealt with so many obstacles in his life can go on to be successful and world-famous.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when Graeme looks at his and his wife's laundry machine as it is spinning very quickly, and gets the idea to completely tear it apart so he can use the ball bearings on the bicycle that he is building, and planning to set the world record with.
Opinion about the main character:
What I like most about the main character is that you can really sympathize with him. There are few athletes out there that we can sympathize with in this way, but Graeme Obree is shown to be an amazing person who overcome many obstacles, and still seems to be humble about his success.