The Film

Film Title Needed In The Next Three Days! (Competition)

UPDATE: For lack of a decisive title, I’ve extended this to Friday 23rd — after that, there’s really no going back.

I’d like to ‘crowdsource’ a film and book title by Saturday, the 17th of September. This weekend.

If you come up with the magic bullet, I’ll send you:

  1. an invitation to the U.K. premiere next year,
  2. a DVD copy of the film,
  3. a copy of the book, and
  4. we’ll put a special thank you in the film’s credits.

Material incentives aside, you’d help me do justice to the culmination of five years of planning, adventuring, filming and writing, the result of which could hardly be more personal to me.

I realise this is a tall order without seeing it and knowing what it’s about! That’s why I’m asking you, because as regular readers of my blog, you’ll know better than most what sits behind all of this.

So, without spoiling things too much, here are a few pointers:

What the film isn’t

What the film is

  • A human story
  • Multi-genre
  • Unscriptable
  • Romantically inclined
  • A long and lonely journey of self-discovery (yuck!)…
  • …set within some relatively epic bicycle adventures
  • Self-filmed
  • Uncomfortably (for me) honest
  • A nice yarn with a happy ending!

It’s about the process of maturation that runs through the experience of setting out to cycle round the world, young, naive and pompous; and coming back several years later, slightly ashamed of having been so arrogant, having not cycled round the world, but having grown up a bit and done a lot of lonely cycling, and — on the way — discovered that there are more important & rewarding things in life than pedalling insanely for years just to tick off a really big box. Love and companionship, for example.

A few more things that might help:

Righto, that should be plenty to go on. The deadline is Saturday night. Clock’s ticking — let’s get a good brainstorm going in the comments. Results on Monday!

Please ‘retweet’ and ‘like’ the heck out of this post — I’d be hugely grateful.

102 replies on “Film Title Needed In The Next Three Days! (Competition)”

Yes, I agree — that crossed my mind. Having a good think on it now. Cheers for your honesty John!

Hi Tom,

Andy’s just asked me what I’d call your movie but I think, similar to naming a painting, book or composition, it’s important to know and understand the content before choosing a title. I’ve not seen it so won’t suggest a title but think you should consider what’s most poignant about the whole story or journey or if there’s a particular vibrant scene that will make sense of the title when someone watches the film and adds a level of interest and intrigue to the title itself.

Looking forward to seeing it though — I’ve heard good reports.


Cheers Siobhan. It’s definitely contentious whether the right title could come from someone who hasn’t seen the film. I think it would be a stroke of luck if it did. But I opened it up to see what kind of discussion would come out of doing so, and that’s been hugely helpful. Many people who’ve commented have followed this blog for years and are quite familiar with the story elements that have gone into the film. The worst that could have happened is that we still didn’t have a title!

James and I spent the afternoon last Saturday pulling out the film’s main themes (grabbing the bull by the horns, coming of age, facing and acting upon tricky decisions), looking at common title styles, and trying to get somewhere in the middle.

This is really very difficult!

i like your mum’s suggestions. tom’s bike trip could work for the irony, as long as people get the irony. because although this site is called tom’s bike trip, its not ironically called that, unless i’m mistaken. It was called tom’s bike trip precisely because it became your project, not a group project, but one of the main lessons learnt from the journey was that its never a solo-hero project. anyway, good luck… will continue to post my thoughts. great feedback innit.

My take on ‘Tom’s Bike Trip’ is that it says (duh) that the film is, superficially and fundamentally, about Tom’s bike trip. (That it’s this site’s title isn’t relevant, because the intended audience for the film is far broader.) But a lot is suggested by the fact that ‘Tom’s Bike Trip’ is the title of a 78-minute feature. What on earth must have happened on this guy’s bike trip to warrant that? And, in retrospect, the title becomes ironic because of the scale that ‘bike trip’ suggests up front.

Very difficult to have anything non-cheesy with a bike reference. Personally I’d avoid being that specific.

‘Changing Horizons’ — Inspired by an Into The Wild quote in Aron Ralston’s book.
‘Deserted Roads, Amazing People’
‘An Unexpected Hitch’
‘Men Plan, She Smiled’
‘East Ride Story’

Did briefly consider ‘Leave Only Tyre Tracks, Take Only Wives’ but quickly realised it was rather dodgy ;).

Haha! I like ‘East Ride Story’. I also like ‘Changing Horizons’ but it is a touch on the dreamy side. And I completely agree that bike references aren’t really working. It’s not about the cycling, anyway!

A comfort break
Well really
Cycle ahead
A roundabout route
About a journey
You never know
Life’s strange outcomes
Journey to remember
Off at a tangent
Surprising outcomes
A learning curve
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Difficult decisions
Open minded travels
Tom’s adventure/s
To go or not to go
To leave or stay

Hi Tom,
I spent half an hour trying to come up with some more suggestions and wrote them on the reply box from your automated message yesterday. I see they have been returned as a message failure for some reason so I’ll try again!
I must say I am underwhelmed by “The Scenic Route”! I don’t think it does justice to the nature of the film or the time spent thinking about titles!
So… here are a few more.…!

Riding to Romance. Yes I know you’ll think it cheesy, but your mother is very impressed by the idea!
Ride into Romance ( as above)
Perfect Ten. ( well, we think she is!)
A Spoke in the Wheel
Spoke too soon
Going for a Spin
One Wedding and a Bike Ride
May contain Nuts

In that case, ‘Janapar’ is a pretty good, Tom. It reminds me of that quirky title of the 2008 western with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.… ‘Appaloosa’ (breed of spotted horse).
What’s the Armenian for ‘The Journey’, by-the-way? If it sounds good to the english-speaking ear it might be preferrable, it it’s a bit more profound. (I think you’re almost there!). JK

‘Jampordutyun’ is the best transliteration, which is from the same root as ‘Janapar’ — I think the latter sounds nicer, plus it could also be used to mean ‘journey’ as well as ‘road/route/way’…

Armenia was significant because I met my wife there, and she’s Armenian. I ended up living for a total of a year and a half in the country, in between legs of the ride. I got married there, learnt the language and am waiting on an Armenian passport!

Hmmm.… this is really very difficult. We’ve been without a title for months, and there is a very real deadline (this Saturday) after which it simply can not be changed…

Tom. Anything I, or anyone else who have submitted suggested titles for your movie, are now going to say is going to be considered ‘poor loser’ but ‘Scenic Route’ for a film about your four year epic journey is really boring. To sum up what you accomplished and how you changed over that time cannot really be summed up in a short title phrase.… that’s why, I believe, you have to think (i) a bit more ‘Hollywood’, (ii) with a great big chunk of irony, (iii) infused with a lot of intrigue to whet the appetite, (iv) including something about cycling without cornily saying it, and (v) be original . (Hence “The Four Year Paper Round”, but that’s beside the point). Bottom line: you can do better!! JK

‘Poor loser’ — not at all! I hear what you’re saying. 

I would just say that the film’s story is far more on the character development than on the ‘epic’ quality of the ride(s). I was just meandering around on a bicycle and I’d hope the title would carry that kind of simplicity. Was the trip itself really that epic, compared to what else has been done in and outside the field of adventure cycling? Probably not! 

I take your point, we could probably do better. But at least the film itself is as good as it could be, and I think that’s the main thing 🙂

Totally agree with John. “Scenic Route” doesn’t quite do it for me either. 

I’d give it another day and go back to the drawing board. 

The title is EVERYTHING.
Take what could have been a little read book about economics and give it a title like
“Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” and you’ve got a bestseller.

Why not spend some time scanning Amazon’s bestseller list for inspiration?

Personally I’d like something along the lines of Rick Gunn’s “Soul Cycler followed by a colon and some snappy descriptive sub-title.

John, I think you hit the nail on the head with:

“(ii) with a great big chunk of irony,
(iii) infused with a lot of intrigue to whet the appetite,
(iv) including something about cycling without cornily saying it, and
(v) be original”

What we have also done is watch the opening scene, pause on the shot where the title will appear, and ask “does the title make sense here?” Equally, I’m trying to visualise the book’s cover with the title on it. That rules out a surprisingly large number of ideas!

Unbelievable response — thank you all so much. This got such a productive discussion going this weekend. We think we’re going to go with The Scenic Route, unless something utterly magical drops by over the next week!

Turned out nice
Right about now, the funk soul turning
Turn round and come back and get me
Turn round, get me.
You get me
It turned my life around
wheels turning
hearts that smack together like the sound of rocks in the night
Old man Tom looks back on his childhood.
A women gets her claws into tom and manages to cause havock with plans
Tom on the road
Tom and Ten
Not to far to Ten
Ten to Tom
Tom to ten
ten to ten ten to ten ten to ten ten tom
the hub exploded like my heart
Heart to hub
Roadworks of love
Love Road works
Love road will hopefully work
The work of love
Hills and hearts
Tenny’s iron fist
No way to get out of this one
The biggest obstacle
Half way round the bend

Tom since you spurned “The Saddle Soars” out of hand (I’m sure the regret is already washing over you), you could consider “I wouldn’t start from here.” It’s the old joke reply to a request for directions and I suppose it’s sort of a nod to you cutting teeth in your unique brand of lunatic cycling. Only trouble is it was the title of Andrew Mueller’s book of collected articles a few years back… though I doubt he’s the sort of chap to power up the lawyers. There’s “Wheeling in the years” — if you reckon your audience is likely to contain a good number of Steely Dan fans. Or “The Freewheelin’ Tom Allen” — you could transpose the album cover to good effect, I reckon. Anyway that’s enough crap ideas from me. I’d swerve around one of the ideas listed earlier… “a fork in the road”… sounds a bit cross-genre. I owe you a pint, by the way.

Sorry I’m late for this.

What about a single word?
“TURN” has a nice simplicity and ambiguity to it?

Though, “Tom’s Bike Trip” certainly fits the bill IMO.

OK — it’s Saturday afternoon, I’m at producer James’ house and I’m not allowed to leave until we have a title!

The previous favourite was ‘Breaking The Cycle’. We’ve ditched that because it’s too pretentious and wanky. ‘Tom’s Bike Trip’ is still in the running. 

We’re looking at the theme of acting upon a decision, taking a risk — the decision to sacrifice all and embark upon a personal journey in a new direction. These kind of decisions are recurring turning points in the story. 

‘The Doorstep Mile’, ‘A Change Of Direction’, ‘A Change Of Scene’, ‘The Right Wrong Turn’ are a few ideas. Any more suggestions along these lines?

Miles From Nowhere
A Long Ride Home

‘The Doorstep Mile’ works — quirky, nice rhythm, but doesn’t say anything about the nature of the story…


’ Tom’s Bike Ride’ is so obvious but actually it is very straight forward, to the point and also, hopefully, makes the potential audience want to find out what happened!

I second ‘Tom’s Bike Trip’. Its without pretension or dreadful puns. Who knows what happens on his trip? (Must be interesting if they made a film about it).

Something like ‘Breaking Cycles’ comes pre-loaded with connotations of someone trying to escape or make a big change, which may alienate people, or I suppose, quite equally draw some others in.
Life Cycles sounds a bit natural historyish — plus I’m pretty sure there is a mountain bike film by the same name. that was released fairly recently.
Good luck with it.

I agree with all you have said. ‘Breaking The Cycle’ or similar does imply a lot — the question is whether or not it would work to the film/book’s advantage.

Tom’s Bike Trip is, like you say, unpretentious & personal. It’s definitely a serious option.

Keep the dreadful puns coming too, though, they’re great comedy! 🙂

If the movie is epic and memorable here is a title that it will always be remembered for, and for which you already own a .com domain which will really help in promotion:

Tom’s bike trip

‘Ride to Discovery’
‘Ride to Discover’
From RideEarth to RideDiscover. If there was one profound discovery, then add a ‘y’

‘Breaking the Cycle’ / ‘Braking the Cycle’ seems to be the favourite at home and with the production people so far…

Yep, Breaking the Cycle is really nice and I also like Sheila’s ®evolution idea which could work well with a graphically diminished R. And Life Cycle too

Pretty sure i’ve seen a cycling exped called ‘Braking the Cycle’ or similar. Not that it has any bearing on your documentary but i thought i’d let you know

Here are my offerings. 

- Tom’s Tale
— The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cyclist
— The Hub and the Spokes
— The Allen Key
— One Less Car
— No Engine, No Need
— Waste Not, Want More
— Learning To Ride Tandem

I’m stuck on certain words when it comes to thinking about your particular journey.….perhaps it will jog something for you that works. Good Luck! (Can’t wait to see the film!)

Revolutions of a Rambling Man’s Heart
Cicuitous ®Evolutions
A Rambling ®Evolution
Rambling Revolutions
The Circuitous Nature of REvolutions
The Revolutionary Ramble
Rambling Awake
Rambling Realizations
The Ramble
The Ramble & Other Adventures
The Adventurous Ramble
Tumbling Revolutions

Thanks Shelia — there seems to be something cropping up a lot about revolutions/cycles, which is a good metaphor if done in a non-cheesy way — although I think ‘revolution’ is perhaps too politically loaded?

I think that maybe something revolution-related would be quite topical, and the film is a kind of soft revolution in a way.

Like Al said something is Armenian like:

Life..I believe its Kyank’
(You can also add “My” in front of the above)
Fulfilled..Katarel (this is my favourite)

Your “Letter from Lapland” was an awesome title..

‘Katarel’ — it means ‘to fulfil’, but in the sense of accomplishing an action, rather than to provide satisfaction. ‘Fulfilled’ in the sense you mean would be ‘bavaravats’, which doesn’t quite have the same ring!

I do like the idea though…

Good stuff so far 🙂

A few more from Facebook/Twitter/mates:

Full Cycle
Breaking The Cycle
Spoke Too Soon
The Saddle Soars

“Lifecycle of a Tom”, 

or just


best wishes, Ron

PS I’m interested because of

Hmm… No hints that will help you I’m afraid:

- I bookmarked poems I liked for months or years in advance, knowing that I wanted to use a phrase from one of those that meant something personally to me but also described the key point of the books.
— I certainly don’t think a stranger could pick a title without a knowledge of me and the contents of my book.
— In which case I think you need to expect a fairly safe / non-controversial title from your competition. That’s not necessarily a bad thing! E.T is a crap name for an alien and for a film. But they made a bit of cash! 

Why not pick a nice-sounding Armenian word that means something to you but nothing to us? Like ‘Restreppo’ — rubbish name for a film, until you have seen the film…

Thanks Al. I fret mainly because of how god-awful the suggestions had been until this week! We’re getting somewhere now though 🙂

To get things going, here are some of the more amusing title ideas we’ve rejected:

Without A Map
Mapless & Hapless
Boy Meets Desert
My So-Called Bike Ride
A Lovely Bike Ride
One Road At A Time
One Way Back
Long Way Back
One Way There
Good Things Come To Those Who Ride
Show Me The Way
Which Way Now
The Road Less Expected
No Road For Young Men
Bearded Love
Beardy Wanderer
Romantic Cycles
Revolution Romance
Rubber Tyres And Whips
Way Too Far For Good
The Love Ride
Small Long Bike Time
Can You Tell Me The Way To Love
Bipolar Riding Disorder
Love Me Long Road
Your Wheels Tickle My Fancy
Tom’s Love Trip
One Road Right Back
The Road Less Travelled
Love Knows No Road
The Road To Your Door
Come With Me If You Want To Ride