Hallenradsport: Artistry On Two Wheels

Where American stunt cycling tends to focus on the individual performing short, episodic stunts, the European approach is more team oriented, with long, flowing movements.  Kind of like the difference between barrel jumping and figure skating.

This video is from the 2009 Hallenradsport (literally cycle sport in a hall) Artistic Cycling World Championship held in the town of Heerlen, NL which is close to where Karen and I live:

The bikes appear to be modified track bikes.  They are single speed, with small chainring and large rear sprocket for easy wheelies.  Direct drive allows riders to go backwards and forwards and precisely control speed.  Notice how the rider can push the bike off to an assistant without it falling.  That’s because the front fork is unusually steep, keeping the bike very stable, at least when both wheels are on the ground.  Don’t think it helps much when ridden like a unicycle….

Hallenradsport is a beautiful display of grace and courage, and illuminates some of the difference in mindset between Euros and Americans.  Not that one form of stunt riding is necessarily better than the other; both serve to expand our sense of the possible, prompting us to marvel at people’s wonderful capacity for self expression.

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