Saturday, December 29, 2012

In Which CR Biker Contemplates An Escape From Iran

From the official movie site, Ben in grey jacket, back to us, with fleeing diplomats pretending to scout movie locations in a (sigh) yelllow VW bus.  Where are the bikes?

I just saw the movie “Argo” at the Collins Road Theater in Cedar Rapids.  It’s nice to see Ben Affleck in a historic drama in which he doesn’t have a silly romance or an urge to re-write the history of the Doolittle Raid.

And, among many memorable actors, it has Alan Arkin.  It’s a genuine pleasure to see you again on the big screen, Alan.  Hope to catch you again soon.

It’s an excellent movie, and it featured a tense scene of Ben driving the fleeting Americans around Tehran in a VW microbus.  Among my other reactions to the movie was: “Where can I get that bus?  That looks fun to drive.”

Argo has a more relevant—more relevant to this blog—mystery.  Six Americans fled from the US Embassy in Tehran, and ended up being sheltered by the Canadian ambassador.  To get them out, there were competing ideas, including the “Bicycle Idea.”

It’s 300 miles from Turkey to Tehran, according to the film.  Some characters in the movie suggested the BI—getting the diplomats bicycles so they could cover that distance on two wheels.  Thus would have been born USGBRAI—Uncle Sam’s Great Bike Rice Across Iran.  If it worked, and they decided to repeat it, it could have been USAGBRAI, pronounced “us-ag-brie.”  Taking place each winter, with small Persian towns competing to attempt to thwart the fleeing band of Yankees with roadblocks, USAGBRAI would be the hostile off-season counterpoint to RAGBRAI.

I wonder what bikes they would have used?  In the late 1970s, I was riding what is still my favorite bike, a 1974 Schwinn Continental, which sadly broke for good in this century, but I’m not sure those would have been good for a 300-mile stealthy journey across semi-mountainous terrain in winter.

Would they have been on six fat-tired mountain bikes?  Did such things exist in 1979?

Anyway, I suppose the “Argo” ploy worked better.  Still, it would have been nice if bicycles had somehow been part of the plot.

Then Ben and Alan could have told each other: “Argo bike yourself.”
John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck. All were good in the movie "Argo."  Image again from movie's web site.  I'm sure Goodman is just saying "Argo bike yourself."

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