I Can Ride A Bike

From summer 1998 through to the summer of 1999 I was living in America. During that time I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, their permanent show at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Cirque du Soleil didn’t have as many permanent shows then as they do now and to get to see one of them was pretty special for me. Generally speaking, I’ve rarely been a big fan of Cirque du Soleil’s shows but I have to admit that I remember thoroughly enjoying La Nouba, particularly the Flying Trapeze. However, there was also something unusual in the show, something I don’t think I’d ever seen done, as an act, in a circus: Bikes.

Now, we’ve probably all seen BMXing – either we’re old enough to remember it from the 80s when it was in vogue, or more recently with its resurgence and the advent of youtube. But they also had a mountain bike. In case you’ve never seen it, here it is:

At the time I was pretty impressed with it. Looking at it now, it seems a bit tame – not to mention a bit dated! But today I saw something that was not only technically outstanding but beautifully shot, and enjoyable to watch. I mean, I can ride a bike but this guy can Ride A Bike! This is Danny MacAskill (sometimes known as ‘Danny MegaSkill’), a Scottish street trials pro rider for Inspired Bicycles Ltd, and his video “Way Back Home”:

I still haven’t really see bikes in circuses but based on this I think maybe there’s some real scope for it. It not only epitomises the technical precision and artistry that you get in circus but also shows how creative and entertaining it can be.

Have you seen bikes in circus? Do you use bikes in your show? Let us know in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “I Can Ride A Bike”

  1. I think bike acts in circuses are unusual but it’s definately out there. Here’s some that I know of, I’m sure there’s more.

    Of course there is the more traditional chinese bike acts with acrobatics on bikes, always finishing with the famous ‘crazy amount of people on 1 bike trick’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KZjD6Cs6N8

    Then there was an ex world champion in BMX who had an entertaining circus act with trampolines. Can’t seem to find a video at the moment.

    Ina Queiss who studied for some years at Codarts Circus Arts in Rotterdam (Holland) is specialised in unicycle and BMX: http://www.bikerina.com

    From Holland there’s a guy named Dez focussing on pirouettes and choreography. Here he is in Holland’s got talent, his audition act was better, but I can’t seem to find that at the moment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu_2tmFoRWs&feature=related

    I heard there is a hand to hand on bike couple graduating from ESAC in Brussels this year. No video that I know of.

    And of course the great act of Hors Cycles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8HRWv4U94

    1. Thanks for all that. Yes, there are the traditional bike acts and you still see them around. I chose to ignore them as they seemed different.

      1. I agree the traditional bike acts are different, though they as well get influenced by trials and bmx. I saw an act by 4 chinese girls some years ago that had quite a few modern / street elements in it.

        Anyway, I was wondering: do you know if and how the increasing popularity and level of muni and unicycle trial is of any influence to their two-wheeled counterparts?

  2. I don’t know I’m afraid as bikes aren’t my area of expertise. I would imagine that unicycling etc. are more influenced by the resurgence of BMXing (and bicycles generally) rather than of influence to them.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts or more knowledge on this?

  3. […] This is Allie Cooper. She’s a rope artist based in California whom I met at a circus party some time last year. She’s very lovely and put together one of the most enjoyable promo videos for her rope act that I’ve seen. In some ways it reminds me of Danny MacAskill’s Way Back Home. […]

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