Bobby McMullen, a visually impaired downhill mountain bike racer, will host a special series of screenings in the Bay Area of a documentary featuring his astonishing hobby. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A session with McMullen. Ticket proceeds will benefit the NorCal High Schools Mountain Bike Racing League and the Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program.
The Way Bobby Sees It is a 60-minute documentary about the 45-year-old McMullen, by Davis, California, based Poison Oak Productions. A mountain biker before he lost his vision, McMullen remains as true to the sport as ever.
"Mountain biking is truly a test of your own abilities," he said. "Just like life, it is only you out there when it comes down to it. You can go as fast and as hard as you want to. You are not sheltered behind your team. It teaches life lessons, sometimes you just have to eat it. I think it is a great sport for high schoolers for many reasons; it is a great outlet for communication with peers and coaches, unlike other sports there are no bench sitters, mountain biking is for everyone," he says.
The NorCal League has joined forces with the Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program (BORP) to facilitate the viewing of this film by as wide an audience as possible. Open captioning and open description will enable individuals with visual and hearing impairments, such as McMullen himself, to enjoy the experience along with everybody else.
"This is not only a film about a delightful individual who inspires all that come in contact with him, the way we have arranged the screening, it is a reminder to people without these impairments what some of the hurdles are, and an acknowledgment that people with physical impairments are a part of our community," says Vanessa Hauswald, who is both president of the NorCal League and organizer of the five evenings with McMullen.
Not totally blind, McMullen has described his vision as looking through a long tube with a smeared lens. He lost his eyesight as a result of diabetes in 1993. Several years later his kidneys began to fail. He can't drive a car, grocery shop, or read a menu without help. He relies on others to see and takes 32 pills a day to stay alive. Despite these limitations, McMullen is on a mission to race the most difficult downhill course in the country. The Way Bobby Sees It is about one man's determination to live an active life even when the path is partially blacked out and completely out of focus.
Movie screenings are coming to cinemas near a lot of NorCal mountain bikers, December 2-11. The entry fee is US$12 in advance through www.norcalmtb.org, US$15 at the door:
- December 2, 7:00 p.m. Sundance Kabuki Theater in San Francisco
- December 4, 7:30 p.m. Cinema West Theater in Livermore
- December 9, 7:30 p.m. Rialto Cinema in Santa Rosa
- December 10, 7:30 p.m. Grand Lake Theater in Oakland
- December 11, 8:00 p.m. The Lark Theater in Larkspur
The Way Bobby Sees It promo