A Peloton of One Review : An emotional and admirable ride

The origins of the film are truly traumatic…

Global Digital Releasing

“We have a cultural problem where people who get sexually assaulted are just not believed”, and that is the shocking truth to it as well. It is easy to not believe someone who preaches such truth, it forces victims like Dave to keep quiet for 30 years, but he’s spoken out now, and so has everyone else. In late 2018, Dave Ohlmuller embarked on a solo bike ride from Chicago to New York City (just a mere 800 or so miles). As a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted priest, Dave rides to inspire other survivors to come forward and tell their stories. And like 2021’s Procession, this film uses its own creative vice to battle those past horrors, but this time, it’s in the shape of a bike.


The origins of the film are truly traumatic, and Dave is not alone in his journey because the film is filled with a whole host of interviews from fellow abuse survivors. I was intrigued by the cleansing properties this cross-country bike ride would have, because they do say exercise can be the most effective way of healing oneself. So, going into this film you might assume it would be solely focused on Dave’s journey, with the bike ride taking centre stage, but no, it is but a mere buffer (a happier and more hopeful side attraction) for the heavy stories that are forthwith.

Along with the interviews from fellow survivors, the film is constructed with archive footage from some of the victims’ lives and footage of the ride itself; consisting of some montages with questionable music. But the bulk of the film is the personable interviews, which are incredibly in-depth and extremely absorbing, the details are harrowing, and the emotion is powerfully pungent. There are certain interviews that tick the memorable box, such is the case with Ken Kaczmarz, who describes his ordeal with such detail, but with such confidence that it tells you a lot about this man’s strength. And 15-year-old Tommy Williams who spoke out at such a young age, something that contrasts his brothers in arms circumstances quite drastically.


The actual cycling scenes (which are few and far between in retrospect) are littered with some truly lovely cinematography; highlighting that alluring American landscape, as Dave travels from state to state. Some of these shots are so glorious that they turn even the most average-looking scenery into something stunning – it is a road trip that will really envy a lot of people. But there was something that felt very… spoiled, and that is the music, which seemed very cheesy and sullied the whole road trip experience – it felt like they were doing their friends new struggling band a favour by including their music. A simple soundscape or even a wordless ambient song would have felt more fitting, it definitely would have been more effective.

An important detail in the film is its views around the statute of limitations law, which varies from state to state. A very controversial topic of discussion, with its rule changing depending on the state, and the constant fight for correction or just for downright abolishment. The rules are genuinely baffling and disgusting, a law that should be protecting the victims, but instead, it feels like the only people that it is aiding are those evil predators. I’m no expert on the intricate laws of America, but this is one that really needed altering.

Directors John Bernardo and Steven E. Mallorca have constructed an emotional but every respectful film, and to be honest, quite alarming – such is the in-depth description of those stories. And for the most part, it does engage and keep you locked in, but that has more to do with the victims bravely sharing their stories. There are just some moments in the film that felt a little distant and cheesy, and that is a hard thing to say because of the sensitive nature of the story. But it is the overbearing music and the ineffective montage sequences that slowly disengage you whilst watching because overall, it’s quite the ride.

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