| July 28, 2020
As described by A Peloton Of One, a “peloton” is a vital part of the cycling community – something that, by design, allows for a cyclist to progress further and stay safe. Directors John Bernardo and Steven E. Mallorca seek to create such a peloton for survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). Following cyclist and CSA survivor Dave Ohlmuller’s bicycle trek from Chicago to New York, the film takes great strides to give a voice to the unheard.
Cataloging Dave’s journey toward closure, A Peloton of One begins with Dave recounting his experiences of betrayal and depression after being sexually abused as a young altar boy. Connecting with fellow survivors, politicians, and activists, Dave leaves the Windy City and strikes out on the road in prospects of raising awareness for those who have survived CSA. Throughout Dave’s journey, the film highlights fellow survivors and their experiences, while identifying major problems with current legislation in many states, regarding CSA.
Traveling through climbing skyscrapers and beautiful countryside, Dave continues to inspire – and be inspired – by the connections made through his two-week and nearly three-hundred-mile journey. Overcoming physical and mental barriers, Dave makes stops in Indianapolis, Pennsylvania, and finally in New York while hoping to truly build a community or “peloton” of support for those affected by CSA.
“…Dave leaves the Windy City and strikes out…raising awareness for those who have survived CSA.”
The film does an excellent job blending Dave’s personal journey and giving voice to family members and survivors of CSA. While some documentaries would simply document the issue at hand and show its progress throughout the film, A Peloton of One takes steps to show the viewer how they can support the cause and influence legislation within their state. Bernardo and Mallorca each show a true passion for the subject matter in their direction. They balance Dave’s story, the experiences of his community, and highlight how people can make a difference in the lives of those affected by CSA.
Watching A Peloton of One, I could not help but feel inspired. I believe inspiration is ultimately the goal of documentaries like this film, not just by Dave or the story of each survivor, but by how their stories were told throughout the film. The production team did an excellent job creating a documentary about the destruction of innocence and how those affected by CSA can build a life that is not defined by their abuse.
Beyond providing a more than relevant message, A Peloton of One delivers a compelling story of perseverance and community coming together to bring an end to CSA. I highly recommend this film to fans of activist documentaries, or even exposé films such as Spotlight.