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

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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.

First Draft Wordle

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.

Comments (skip to respond)

102 responses to “Film Title Needed In The Next Three Days! (Competition)”

  1. How about

    Tom Rides?
    Tom the Rider

    Riding Together

  2. YES- comment number 100 and 101

  3. Tom, his bike and all the strangers
    Tom, his bike and all the others
    Me, my bike and a simple journey
    Simply my bike, me and a journey

  4. If it helps, I am also a fan of Janapar — and yes a subtitle for that would probably work we

  5. Nearly there!!

  6. Tom, I still like ‘Janapar’.….. but maybe you might like to qualify it with a phrase to make the full title, for example:” JANAPAR — Discovery by bicycle”.

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

  7. 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.


    1. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I see your point there- maybe cycle trip would be better because bike could be motorbike then.

  9. 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 ;).

    1. 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!

  10. Side tracked

    1. Good one — thanks Mum!

  11. 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

  12. Hmmm,

    - Every Day is a Journey
    — No Destination
    — Enjoy the Ride

    Ok I need a bowl of cereal.

  13. 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

  14. (In that case, ‘Janapar’ is a pretty good title, Tom.…../ typing’s getting worse!)

  15. 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

    1. ‘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’…

  16. John Kenney avatar
    John Kenney

    Why the Armenian fixation?

    1. 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!

  17. There are always good names left. What was the most annoying thing about the trip?

  18. This site might be a helpful source of information for naming your film:

    How about “Beyond the Bike”

  19. 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…

  20. ‘Soul Cycle’ is a new chain of Spinning Studios in NYC… but Amaya’s giving good advice. JK

  21. 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

    1. ‘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 🙂

    2. 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.

      1. I like ‘Soul Cycle’… that’s the problem, all the good ones have been taken!

    3. 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!

  22. The Bike and Me.
    The Bike and I.
    The Bike and Tom

  23. 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!

  24. Spokes, Sacrifice & Surrender

  25. 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

  26. … sorry: full title.….….
    “Four Year Paper Round”
    (Tom Allen’s ‘Ride Earth’ epic)

  27. .. and another:-

    “Four Year Paper Round”

  28. Hey Tom, Just received your e‑mailer about wanting a title for your epic. Got one here for you:-

    “Pedals And Pinnacles”

    Cheers, John

  29. Shredding treads

  30. Or “Tom’s Bike Trip: What Not To Do If You Want To Cycle Round The World”

    Kind of an anti round the world jibe?

    1. Love it!

  31. Anus Horribilis

    It’s not only catchy and crude but also pithy and plucky.

    Do I win?

  32. 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.

  33. ‘The Scenic Route’

  34. Stephen Chapman avatar
    Stephen Chapman

    Rolling bones
    What dreamers do
    In my place

  35. Blatantly ripping off your Twitter name, how about Ride•Earth•Tom?

  36. 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.

  37. 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?

    1. A Fork In The Road
      A Turn In The Road
      You Turn

    2. 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…


  38. ’ 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!

  39. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

      1. I like Tom’s Bike Trip

  40. “Will the cycle be unbroken”

  41. 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

    1. That would be very appropriate and descriptive actually — good idea!

  42. Free Your Feet?
    Cyclic Peregrinations?

    1. Cheers Andy. I had to look up ‘peregrination’!

      1. Good word isn’t it 🙂

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

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

    1. 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

      1. Kev Shannon avatar
        Kev Shannon

        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

        1. Cheers Kev. It shouldn’t really matter, if we do go with that.

        2. andy welch avatar

          Was it breaking away by any chance?

      1. Really? I quite liked it…

  45. Mark Maultby avatar
    Mark Maultby

    Oh, and:

    A Bicycle Built For Two

    1. Guffaw! Cheers mate 😀

  46. Mark Maultby avatar
    Mark Maultby

    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

  47. 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

    1. 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?

      1. andy welch avatar

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

  48. 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..

    1. That’s a really interesting idea, cheers Lance (and Al)

    2. I like “Katarel”

    3. ‘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…

      1. Haha ja “bavaravats” doesn’s quite fit.

        1. andy welch avatar

          bavaravats is funny though.

    4. ‘Janapar’

      means ‘road/route’ in Armenian

  49. Good stuff so far 🙂

    A few more from Facebook/Twitter/mates:

    Full Cycle
    Breaking The Cycle
    Spoke Too Soon
    The Saddle Soars

  50. Paul Ashley-Unett avatar
    Paul Ashley-Unett

    is this the way?

  51. Chain Ring to Wedding Ring

    Life Cycles

    Love Cycles

    Riding to the Rest of my Life

    Wheel Love

    I’ll have more of a think!

    1. Chain Reaction

      1. One of my sponsors might not be too happy about that! Life Cycles = promising

  52. Ron Stephens avatar
    Ron Stephens

    “Lifecycle of a Tom”, 

    or just


    best wishes, Ron

    PS I’m interested because of

    1. I like Life Cycle / Life Cycling… thanks Ron!

    1. Hah!

      I wonder how you came up with your book title(s)? Any handy hints?

      1. 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…

        1. pps — don’t fret too much. You will neither win nor lose your Oscar because of the title!

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

    2. andy welch avatar

      what about ‘the woman from armenia’
      or ‘the man from uncle’

  53. About a boy and a bike.

    Boy meet bike

    Bike meet world

    A mix of the above:)

  54. 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

    1. Gary Askew avatar

      Tyred Out!

    2. james dean avatar

      The journey within, one cyclists dream!