As a high schooler in the public-housing projects of Richmond, Virginia’s East End, Monte Cosby felt his future was limited—until mountain bikes offered him a different route forward.
In the years since, biking has served as the bridge between two different worlds and a vehicle to overcome the struggles along the way. It led him to Warren Wilson College, where he joined the nationally ranked cycling team and is majoring in outdoor leadership.
Patagonia has captured Cosby’s story in a new documentary, “Monte: Can’t stop. Won’t stop.”
Patagonia is going on tour to share the documentary, starting with the film premiere at Warren Wilson College on Saturday, April 29. Along with a screening of the film, the event will include skills clinics for riders of all levels and a Q&A with Cosby and the film director.
Cosby grew up in Fairfield Court, a public housing community in Richmond, Virginia.
“I started from nowhere. I started from the bottom, the worst projects in Virginia, where homicide rate is the highest, drug rate is the highest, drop-out rate is the highest. That’s the neighborhood I grew up in,” Cosby said. “These people are really dedicated to being something great; it’s just hard for them to be great when there’s nothing around them that’s great.”
One day, someone got Cosby on a bike. He learned how to navigate obstacles, how to start well and finish sprinting, how to pass on a narrow trail, and when to let others pass. Biking became more than two wheels, and one mantra a way of life: Can’t stop. Won’t stop. This led him to enroll in the Richmond Cycling Corp’s Legacy Academy, where his new skills as a cyclist earned him a full scholarship to Warren Wilson College.
“For me to come from nothing; anyone can do anything. Don’t give up,” Cosby said. “One quote I always say is ‘can’t stop, won’t stop.’ No matter where you at, no matter how hard it is, keep pushing.”
His dream after college is to give back to his community by getting more kids on bikes. He also seeks to break down racial barriers within the sport.
“You don’t see a lot of Black people on bikes,” Cosby said. “The sport is not diverse in a lot of ways, which I’m trying to make a change of. I’m trying to be a role model, trying to be a leader for all those young Black folks out there who want to become pro cyclists one day.”
Jalen Bazile, Patagonia’s film tour host and professional outdoorsman, will kick off the film premiere with a mountain bike expedition workshop to share foundational to advanced skills for all-day or multi day mountain bike expeditions, from bikepacking pro tips and backcountry tricks to building your repair kit and route planning. After the screening, he will host a Q&A with Cosby and the film’s director.
“Bikes are often seen as our first vehicle of freedom, allowing us to go anywhere with a few pedal strokes, but most of us take that privilege for granted,” said story editor Sakeus Bankson, on why Patagonia chose to make a film about Monte. “Monte’s story embodies that freedom—the joy and passion and empowerment—while being unflinchingly honest about how inaccessible that freedom can be.”
Tickets for the film premiere are free and this event is open to the public. Space is limited. Reserve your ticket at bit.ly/wwc-patagonia-premiere.
Film Premiere Event Schedule:
5-6 p.m.: Film tour host and professional outdoorsman, Jalen Bazile, shares the foundational to advanced skills for all-day or multi day mountain bike expeditions, from bikepacking pro tips and backcountry tricks to building your repair kit and route planning.
Tabling with Richmond Cycling Corps: The Richmond Cycling Corps is a local nonprofit organization that uses cycling as a tool to create engagement with youth. While cycling is one of their main programs, at the heart, the organization is serving disadvantaged youth who live in public housing.
Light food and drinks available and there will be a raffle of Patagonia gear.
6:25 p.m.: Film Screening
7 p.m.: Q&A
8 p.m.: Event ends