Help support local bicycle advocacy organizations Wednesday night, February 15, by attending a special screening of Bicycle Dreams at the Art Theater. Tickets are $11 in advance (purchase them here) and $15 at the door, and the show begins at 7 p.m. Part of the proceeds will go to such local outfits as Champaign County Bikes. Here's the trailer:

Bicycle Dreams was released in 2009, and it chronicles the Race Across America, in which bicycle riders compete to cross the continental US in the shortest time possible, usually eight or nine days -- an average of more than 300 miles per day for individual competitors. Here's a map of a typical route:

Riders often don't sleep a whole lot, as you might expect by those mileage totals and the mental and physical stress is grueling; the film captures much of that. If you're the type of person who either enjoys pushing your limits, or if you get cheap thrills out of watching people you don't know and will never meet punish themselves for a chance at glory (while you drink beer and eat popcorn), then it'll probably be a helluva show.

I have to admit that I don't really share the drive to do these types of endurance events. I went on a four-day, 500-mile bike trek with my friend Tony in 2008 (sound like something you'd be interested in reading about? Well, the internet saves everything), and doing nothing but riding, eating, and sleeping for several days in a row was pretty miserable. I can't imagine cutting out the sleeping portion of that triangle, along with tripling the daily mileage. But hey, to each their own. 

Bicycle Dreams won awards for best documentary at several 2009 film festivals; it's making a tour of single-screen theaters around the country, and will likely give you a reminder that you should get off the couch. Your Wednesday night wouldn't be complete without it.