Interview: Phil Keoghan talks about his latest documentary, Le Ride


Phil Keoghan, best known for being the host of The Amazing Race, recently sat down with us at Hidden Remote for an interview. In it, Keoghan discussed his latest documentary, Le Ride.

When we sat down with Keoghan to discuss Le Ride, he had quite a bit to say about the incredible journey he went on. Said journey was his ride across France, retracing every mile of the 1928 Tour De France. Keoghan set out to make the trip because of the amazing story that’d gone overlooked. What we’re referring to is the Australasian team’s entrance into the Tour De France.

Being the first English-speaking team to enter the Tour, a lot of pressure was on the team comprised of Percy Obsborn, Harry Watson, Ernest Bainbridge, and Hubert Opperman. Not only to make a statement for their native countries, but the Australasian team was short six members.

In a race where teams have 10 members each, showing up without enough competitors can end the race before it even begins. Keoghan emphasized how the four Australasian riders had their work cut out for them but it didn’t deter them. In fact, their disadvantage likely motivated them more, even as the stages of the Tour became more grueling.

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One of the biggest points Keoghan drove across during our interview was the challenge that these four riders accepted. Despite everyone laughing at their foolhardy attempt, they proved those naysayers wrong. Keoghan went on to add that his own journey was just as difficult, and the stakes were just as high.

For Keoghan to relive the same journey as the 1928 Australasian team, he had to make his voyage as identical as possible to the 1928 ride. To do that, Keoghan rode a vintage 1928 bicycle the entire trip; a bike that seemed to be falling apart at every turn. He also road on the same routes as the 1928 Tour, though a few detours were necessary due to the changes in landscape. And like the Australasian team, Keoghan’s team suffered from just as many setbacks along the way.

The good news is that none of those setbacks deterred Keoghan’s team from finishing what they set out to. They pushed through the grueling trails, maneuvered down dangerous roads and highways, all the while, riding on bikes that were so old they belonged in museums.

Keoghan himself should be commended for the dedication he showed in simply finishing the ride. It was extremely difficult any way you look at it and he came out victorious in the end. That alone is worth an applause. At the same time, Keoghan did right by the 1928 Australasian team, ensuring their story wouldn’t be forgotten to time by reliving it. Keep in mind, Keoghan credits his wife and co-producer, Louise, as the person who made the entire film possible. She deserves just as much recognition for helping tell this incredible story.

For more on Le Ride, check out the entirety of our interview with Phil Keoghan below:

Hidden Remote: In Le Ride, you’re retracing every mile of the 1928 Tour De France. What drove you to take on this challenge?

Phil Keoghan: I found this story about this extraordinary team, the first English-speaking team on the Tour De France, and as someone who likes underdog stories, I was surprised that no one had brought this story to light. No one had ever highlighted it before. The Kenneth brothers who wrote the book about Harry Watson did an excellent job of highlighting him and then I thought, what a crime it would be if the story was forgotten for all time? I knew it would be incredible to tell that story so we started researching for ways to tell the story, realizing that everyone who was there, who could articulate what took place, is gone. The only way to bring the story back to life is by riding the original course on a vintage bicycle. It was so fun to film, yet the hardest thing I’ve ever been involved with.

HR: As far as companions go, who went with you on the ride? 

Keoghan: Sometimes, there are these stories, when people really want to get it done, they find people who can be excited for them. For me, it was my mum and my dad.

Going into something like this, the risk factor isn’t just will I finish the ride or not, it’s maybe you’re not going to get through the ride. You kind of have to put your balls on the line and take that risk. I felt like I had to go out and be that sacrificial lamb. It was literally a call to my family, my good friend, Scott Shelley, who is a cinematographer, my other friend, Greg Pert, and my riding partner, Ben Cornell, who was physically and mentally tough enough to join me. The one thing I can say about Ben is that he wouldn’t give up on me, no matter what.

Phil Keoghan, host of the CBS series THE AMAZING RACE, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Phil Keoghan, host of the CBS series THE AMAZING RACE, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

HR: What did you walk away from this experience with?

Keoghan: Out there, you don’t have sound operators and you don’t have a lot of things so you have to make due with what you have. There is nothing in my career that measures up to all of the hats I had to wear to make this film. And there was nothing more mentally demanding than making this film. The only satisfying thing is that we set out to make this film that no one thought we’d do and that we pulled it off. We made it work.

I remember being at the New Zealand International Film festival and Florence Henderson stood up and said the film was amazing. Someone may tell you something that isn’t necessarily good, but then when someone like Florence Henderson says it was amazing, there’s nothing more satisfying than that. I love telling stories. We took a huge risk and thankfully people liked it. Look, as my dad said to me, if nothing else happens with this film, then you just make sure that this very important part of sporting history is being told. Make sure Sir Hubert Opperman, Harry Watson, and Percy Osborne’s stories, that their story has forever been captured on camera. Our reason for making this film came from a place of passion, in how we wanted to ensure this incredible achievement from this underdog team didn’t go forgotten and that’s what we did.

HR: Going back to the original competition, which if any of the riders’ stories stood out more than others? And what did you take away from their experiences?

Keoghan: Sir Hubert Opperman, the captain—who later became a Sir, Hernest Bainbridge, Percy Osborn, and Harry Watson. Those are the few riders I focused on. Sir Hubert Opperman actually beat the winner of the 1928 Tour De France, Nicholas Franz, in the Paris-Brest-Paris race a few years later. What’s even more impressive about Opperman and his team is that each team on the Tour had 10 members but the Australasia team only had four riders. All of the other teams had 10 riders except for them. Nicholas Franz was part of a team of 10 and wound up being the winner but the fact that these guys finished is what makes this story so remarkable. Out of the 164 riders, only 41 made it to the finish line. You know 15 of the 20 stages were drafting stages where each rider trails behind the other. So when you only have four guys to a team, you’re at a disadvantage. When you consider that they finished at all, it’s remarkable.

In New Zealand, one of my motivations was for New Zealand to recognize the guy who finished 28th out of 41. I’m trying to wake up the New Zealand Sports Hall Of Fame to their blindness of one of New Zealand’s greatest cyclists, Harry Watson, in hopes that they’ll give him the recognition he deserves.

Next: The Amazing Race 30 Season Premiere

HR: Apart from Le Ride and Amazing Race, are you working on anything else that you’d like to tell your fans about? 

Keoghan: Actually, yes. I recently released a PodCast called BuckIT. The byline is tick it before you kick it. Basically, tick it off your bucket list before you kick the bucket. I just released an interview I did with an American astronaut, Jerry Linenger and it’s available on

Le Ride can be downloaded online on Amazon, iTunes, and VOD. For more on Phil Keoghan, check out his Twitter page @PhilKeoghan and website that can be found here.