7 Fun Facts About the 1986 BMX Film, Rad

This month, 33 years after Rad’s release, fans are holding a celebratory meet-up and ride at Rad’s Cochrane and Calgary filming locations.

Shot locally and released in 1986, the movie Rad tells the story of Cru, a young man with a dream of making it big as a BMX racer by racing the “Helltrack” and winning the grand prize of $100,000 (and a sweet Corvette). This month, 33 years after its release, fans are holding a celebratory meet-up and ride at Rad’s Cochrane and Calgary filming locations. Like most cult films, Rad is polarizing, but its deficiencies tend to be overshadowed by its iconic status. Here are some things you may or may not know about this enduring piece of pop culture.

  • Rad’s critic score rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 0 per cent, while its audience score is an impressive 91 per cent. The film reportedly grossed $2 million at the box office. (For comparison, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, released the same year, grossed more than $6 million in its opening weekend.)
  • Main character Cru (Bill Allen) was loosely based on real-life BMXer Eddie Fiola, who was also Allen’s stunt double.
  • Cochrane’s current mayor Jeff Genung was an extra in the movie.
  • Lead actress Lori Loughlin was best known as Aunt Becky on Full House until she was indicted in the massive college admissions fraud case earlier this year, eclipsing her sitcom celebrity.
  • No official version of Rad has ever been released on DVD, Blu-Ray or any streaming service. To see it (legally) you must hunt for a used VHS copy and dig out a VCR.
  • Last year, Mongoose Bikes sponsored a three-day celebration of the race at the centre of Rad by re-creating the fictional Helltrack, near Dallas, Tex. Helltrack Festival included live music, celebrity BMX athletes, vintage bikes and appearances by cast members Allen, Martin Aparijo and Fiola.
  • Rad was the subject of an episode of How Did This Get Made?, a podcast about movies that are considered so astonishingly bad that hosts June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas and Paul Scheer ponder how it’s possible they were green-lit in the first place.

For details on the 33rd anniversary celebration of Rad go to facebook.com/rad33official.

This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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