Weekend Warm-Up: Monte Cosby Won’t Stop

The humble bicycle. I don’t know if any other machine facilitates as much freedom and fun. That’s something that Monte Cosby knows well. Get him on a bike, and the grin that spreads across his face is as wide as the open road.

a young man grins up at the woods

Photo: Patagonia Films


Patagonia Films adroitly captures this vibe in Monte: Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop. The short documentary explores Cosby’s journey from public housing in Richmond, Virginia’s east side to a small private college nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains.

The vehicle for this journey? A bicycle, of course. After the death of his father, his uncle, and a few friends in his early adolescence, Monte started down a troubled path. With a rock-bottom GPA and a burgeoning drug problem, things were looking grim. Enter the Richmond Cycling Corps, a non-profit dedicated to pairing disadvantaged Richmond kids with the world-expanding freedom of bicycles.

a young man rides through housing projects

Monte Cosby riding through the streets of Richmond, Virginia. Photo: Patagonia Films


Everything’s different

Soon enough, Cosby was cruising, then racing through the streets. The Corps became his family, his encouragement, and his guiding star. It took a few tries (he was kicked off his high school racing team three times), but he finally found a new path. He graduated with a 4.0, applied to some schools, and soon found himself at Warren Wilson College.

“Everything’s different here. Everything,” Cosby says midway through the film. And it’s true. With the mountain setting came a host of new experiences: mountain biking, rock climbing, and a kombucha-brewing college roommate. Code-switching can be stressful, and an ACL surgery that sidelined Cosby’s burgeoning racing career didn’t help matters.

two young men straddle bicycles

Bicycles, and the communities they build, are Cosby’s guiding star. Photo: Patagonia Films


But there are always bicycles. A team and some friends. Rubber and metal. The wind in his face and the chain rattle in his ears as he bombs down sun-splashed trails. These are the things that saved Monte Cosby.

Cosby’s future is unwritten, but his dream is to work in the outdoor industry, creating safe and equitable spaces for people of color. Will that involve bicycles? Maybe. But even if it doesn’t, the bikes will be there for him when he needs them. It’s what they do.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
You can find more of his work at www.andrewmarshallimages.com, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).