No money, no food, relying on strangers - cyclist's hidden camera footage lifts the lid on the best and worst of humanity

Now streaming: Daniel Troia’s cross-country ride from New York City to San Francisco

A movie poster for the film We Are All In This Together by Daniel Troia
(Image credit: Daniel Troia)

Getting out for a ride, whether solo or with friends, is often met with two pleasures: enjoying a midride snack at a coffee shop or gas station and cruising home after a successful day in the saddle. Now imagine that you had no food, no money, and your home was your bike. 

In his latest film, We Are All In This Together, filmmaker Daniel Troia documents his seven-month-long ride from New York City to San Francisco sans food or money. 

Troia relied fully on the kindness of strangers across the U.S., using a hidden camera on his person and a sign that read, “Ran out of food. Anything helps.” 

A shirtless man in tan cargo shorts with a neon yellow bike helmet pulls bananas out of a green dumpster.

(Image credit: Daniel Troia)

Troia captured all footage on his own using the hidden camera, a GoPro and a drone. Footage of the filmmaker out-biking a tornado in Kansas or suffering through the frigid temperatures of the high-altitude of the Rocky Mountains is sprinkled with conversations he has with a diverse group of people along the way.

Most are kind. There's a woman who shares that she was willing to help Troia with food and drink because she and her kids were once homeless, another person shares that he feels we need to be celebrating life more with journeys like Troia’s and worrying less. 

But there are also those who tell Troia off, demanding he gets off the property he, his bike and his sign are stationed on. 

The stories captured by Troia and his journey as a temporarily unhoused cyclist touch on the “shame of living on the streets and our judgements of the unhoused and the perpetual cycle that keeps folks unhoused, food insecurity and food waste, and the influence of fate and serendipity,” according to a representative for the film. 

A man in black hoodie brushes his teeth in a public bathroom sink. Behind him is a single-person tent with a sleeping bag. Leaning against the sink is a silver bike.

(Image credit: Daniel Troia)

“The division in our world has been so intense, and issues around homelessness and food insecurity are so complex,” Troia says, “but the people I met showed me that the one thing we can control is how we treat each other. Every single day, we have the opportunity to show up for someone who needs help. On an individual level, this is where change really begins.”

Troia completed his journey on a steel Surly bike with two front and two rear panniers containing all of his belongings: clothing, a sleeping bag, a tent, camera gear and a few other essentials. Troia focuses little on the specs of his bike or how many miles he rode each day because as he says, “I don’t care about any of that. It’s not about how many miles a day you ride…[i]t’s about the experiences that you create while riding." 

A man in winter clothing stands behind a silver steel bike, holding it upright. The bike has panniers on the front and back. In the background, snow-covered foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

(Image credit: Daniel Troia)

We Are All In This Together is Troia’s third film and it has accumulated numerous awards such as Best Inspirational Film at the New York International Film Awards, Best Humanitarian Film at the San Francisco International Film Awards and Best Feature Documentary at the Chicago International Indie Film Festival. 

Live screenings in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City will be announced soon. The film can also be streamed on Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Google Play.

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