Something to watch: Inspiring documentaries…

Whilst we are primarily a Cardiff-centric cycling website, it never hurts to seek inspiration and ideas from outside our sphere of understanding.

Cycling, at the end of the day, is a key component in our desire to live happy, healthy lives in a sustainable way. In order to realise its potential, we need to gain an understanding of “why” it is such an important element.

Extra-curricular activity

To help broaden our minds we’ve spent a bit of downtime (actually, time off from the day job) exploring a wealth of documentaries available on services like Netflix & Vimeo that help to round-out our understanding of the human condition.

So, what follows is a list of documentaries that you may like to watch. They have nothing to do with cycling, at least, not directly. However, it doesn’t take too much effort to see how cycling fits in.

Happy

Happiness is everything. It’s why we do many of the things that we do, but whilst 50% of what makes us happy comes from our genes, which establish a base line to which we return after significant events both good and bad. The rest of what makes us happy comes from what we do. Amazingly status, wealth and possessions only amount to about 10% of what makes us happy.

Crucially, 40% comes from our actions and the things we do day-to-day –the things that promote dopamine production. Dopamine is produced by our brains in response to, among other things, physical activity. This documentary explores what makes people happy and speaks to people from all walks of life.

Some of the happiest people actually have very little, but they spend their time being active, with other people and making the most of what they have. This brings us neatly onto…

Website | Netflix | iTunes

Minimalism

If it is doing things and being with people that makes us happy, it stands to reason that the pursuit of “stuff”, particularly stuff we can’t really afford and that the Earth can’t really sustain is doing the exact opposite. Being burdened with debt and being surrounded by “things” that are not providing much value to you is a sure-fire way to stress you out and force you into a life of working more than you really should.

Minimalism is the story of Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who both discovered minimalism at a crucial point in their lives. They were both highly paid executives living life in the fast lane, but both struggled to find meaning in their lives and no amount of “stuff” that they bought made a difference. After discovering that removing clutter and distraction from their lives gave them both a new lease on life they set about writing and podcasting to share their message. They then went on to tour the USA and this film follows them on their journey.

Whilst we will admit that the link to cycling is a little less obvious with this one, when we talk about being burdened with debt, one of the biggest purchases we make –aside from houses of course, is cars. You can get a hire purchase agreement that’ll commit you for 3-5 years of debt repayments, or you can buy a bicycle for what is likely to be less than a month’s salary. Something to think about, but if shedding your clutter is something that appeals to you, there is a Cardiff Minimalism group on Facebook…

Website | Netflix | Vimeo | iTunes

Innsaei

We live in a world full of distractions, particularly through the constant din of social media, 24 hour news and the background hum of traffic and industry. We’ve also paved and asphalted nature out of our towns and cities. People live in isolated bubbles, hunched over their phones; indoors or in their cars and have lost much of their ability to empathise or feel the connection we humans used to have to our surroundings and to the world around us.

InnSæi is an Icelandic term for intuition. It can either mean “the sea within” or “to see within” and this soul-searching documentary explores how we can connect with ourselves and with the world around us. Of course, there is relevance to us here as well as riding your bike is a fantastic way to zone out from all that chatter and focus on the business of pedalling.

Website | Netflix | Vimeo

Of course, this short list leaves out many other great documentaries, some of which were recommended by our Twitter chums, including Valley Uprising; Mission Control; Abstract: The Art of Design; and The Design Trilogy (Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized).

It’s currently Friday and it looks like we’re heading for another changeable (read: damp) weekend. Why not spend it broadening your minds…

Gavin

Bike commuter, randonneur and cat wrangler

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