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Graeme Obree film ‘The Outsider’ hits crowdfunding target

Documentary on land speed record attempt is go

The Outsider, a documentary about Grame Obree’s attempt on the human-powered vehicle speed record, has hit the funding target needed to complete it.

After spending two years following Obree on the road to speed attempt at Battle Mountain, Nevada in September, filmmaker David Street of Journey Films found himself with over 200 hours of footage and insufficient funding to edit them down.

He turned to Kickstarter to raise the necessary £20,000 and passed the target yesterday. There’s now about £21,500 in the pot.

The fund-raising campaign has a bit more than two days to run, so it’s still possible to pick up some of the goodies on offer which range from a simple thank you and updates on the film’s progress, through signed limited-edition DVDs of the film, right up to credit as an associate producer or the film’s main sponsor if you have five grand burning a hole in your pocket.

The film will tell the story of Obree’s progress as he came to terms with the scale of the challenge, and built his special bike - dubbed ‘Beastie’ - in his kitchen, with an unconventional treadle drive.

Obree was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt to break the record, but even getting to the venue was the kind of adventure that could only happen to Obree.

Here’s a taste of the footage from David Street:

David Street said: “We suffer with him as he misses his first deadline, to get to the International Human Powered Vehicle Associations meeting in September 2012 at Battle Mountain, Nevada.

“We are with him when the aerodynamic shell so lovingly and painstakingly built doesn’t fit and has to be ditched and again when the second shell proves to fit too well and is a cause of claustrophobia and has to be ripped apart and rebuilt only weeks before the second deadline of September 2013.

“We are with him in the hospital just 3 months before the big day when the surgeons have to gouge a huge abscess out of his leg, will he be fit enough.

“We are with him as he trains in his own inimitable way through Ayrshire’s country lanes and up Tenerife’s Mount Tiede and in his living room.

“And we are with him when he finally makes the start line at Battle Mountain in a machine he’s never ridden before.”

Widely regarded as a national treasure, Graeme Obree is famous for breaking the bicycle Hour Record twice in the 1990s during a period of intense rivalry with fellow British time trial specialist Chris Boardman. After retirement he battled severe depression and twice attempted suicide before coming out as gay and linking his depression to his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality.

He now makes his living as a public speaker and writer. Our man Sam Shaw was at one of Obree's appearances in Glasgow last month.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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