As an avid mountain biker, and all-around biking enthusiast, I sometimes wonder over a can of Red Bull and a Danny MacAskill clip if we haven't quite exhausted all the possibilities of what can be done on steel and wheels.
So, during one sleepless night, with the help of professor Google, I found myself scouring the web for moments that have redefined biking as we've known it. I found some really weird stuff and some really remarkable feats as well.
And I just had to share with you all some of the adventures and accomplishments of some really creative bikers, who rode to the edge of skill and sanity to bring new sensation to an age-old sport.
the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing.— Google Definitions
Imagine jumping and climbing over the obstacles provided by your everyday urban environment, but on a bike! It's like the circus has come to town--right into the middle of town, and it's awesome!
While extreme BMX biking has been around for a while, bike parkour is a relatively new sensation. There aren't many guys who can pull it off, because one false move on a rooftop or train-rail or bridge can erase you from the world.
But there are a few names out there, whose sweet moves show the world just what it means to wear RedBull on your back.
Danny MacAskill is what's known as a "trials cyclist". Growing up in Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Danny used to work as a mechanic and practiced riding several hours a day before and after work.
Now he's a pro rider for Inspired Bicycles Ltd. and for the last 8 years, he's been stunning the world with his five-minute street-trial videos and getting widespread media attention.
The video that really grabbed the world's attention was released in October 2014, where Danny rode up and down Cuillin Ridge, a steep and rocky peak on his home island. After only 5 days, the YouTube video had over 10 million views.
His latest video, "Danny's Wee Day Out," is a true representation of Bike Parkour, where he rides, jumps, climbs, and even swims on his mountain bike around a small Scottish town.
Tim Knoll is a street rider, who describes his riding as BMX Freestyle, though I think the whole world would agree that it's more like "biking gymnastics." He really is straight out of the circus, and whether it's around his hometown or on the streets of Berlin, Tim brings his incredible creativity to the streets and to the world of flatland biking.
Tim grew up doing gymnastics (big surprise...) and diving starting when he was only 7 years old. When he took up biking, he brought that same level of stunts and acrobatic flare to two wheels, and he's been dazzling the world with his mad bike parkour skills.
This might seem absolutely rediculous...like something someone just made up in their back yard. And that's probably just how it started, but rediculous or not, it has its own Wikipedia page, and therefore it's officially a sport.
Welcome to the world of underwater cycling. Contestants have to wear scuba gear in order to race long distances in a pool, or even the shallow parts of the ocean. Because your scuba tank will run out of gas before your muscles do, the key to long distances on a bike underwater is cardio and breath control.
You can't just do this with any old bike. They have to be incredibly dense and heavy in order to stay underwater and not float their riders to the top.
There is an official "Underwater Bike Race" that was started in North Carolina, as a charity fundraiser event organized by Discovery Diving. It is held annually at the artificial reef surrounding the USS Indra, just 12 miles from the Beaufort Inlet.
Robbie Maddison, a pro motocross racer from Australia, turned freestylist is considered to be today's Evil Knieval. Robbie is always pushing boundaries when it comes to stunts, and though he wasn't the first to hydroplane a dirtbike over a body of water, he sure brought it to the next level.
After two years of bike-building, a dislocated shoulder, broken ankle, and several concussions, Robbie and his team took an outfitted KTM 250 SX to the shores of Tahiti to ride the Teahopo pipeline.
There was a lot of bike-sinking, hard crashes into barges, and bike-rebuilding after every submersion. It took three attempts and one very-near-death experience, but at the end of the day, Robbie rode the perfect pipeline and there's some really incredible footage to prove it.
I will never forget the first time I saw a unicyclist ride a mountain. A friend and I were biking the north shore of Lake Hodges in San Diego county, and when we reached a forested area with steeper, more technical climbs, we had to walk our bikes up a few of them.
I was carrying my bike up one of the last ones when I heard the familiar, "on your left!" callout from another biker coming up behind me. As I moved to the side of the single-track trail to let him pass, what I saw made my jaw drop. Or rather, it's what I didn't see--a second wheel.
This guy had a unicycle outfitted with mountain-terrain tires and he was effortlessly bouncing and climbing up the steep, rocky slope like it was nothing, and I knew from the trail I had just rode that we were already at a more strenuous part of the ride.
I was impressed to say the least. I used to think that unicycles were only ridden by clowns at the circus or the fair--a fact I've since learned to be far from accurate.
The sport of extreme unicycling takes three main forms. Mountain unicycling, flatland unicycling, and street unicycling.
Mountain unicycling is pretty self-explanatory--you ride one wheel up and down huge mountains with a ton of natural obstacles like steep climbs and drops and rock formations.
Street unicycling is very similar to BMX parkour. It involves tricks and jumps and rail-grinds around street obstacles or skate parks.
Flatland unicycling is just how it sounds--you have a flat surface to ride around and do tricks on. This is more like what you'd imagine unicycling to be in its original, organic form--clown tricks.
Yes. Unicycle hockey is an official sport. It even has a governing body called the International Unicycling Federation, founded in 1985 to establish official rules for the game.
Notable Record Breakers
World's Tallest Bike
The STOOPIDTALLER bicycle was conceptualized, built, and ridden by Richie Trimble in Los Angeles, California. Richie's main intention was to win a Guinness World Record with his creation.
On December 26, 2013, STOOPIDTALLER was ridden, measured, and officially broke the Guinness World Record for the "tallest rideable bicycle in the world," measuring 20 feet and 2.5 inches tall.
World's Longest Bike
Measuring 117 feet and 5 inches, the holder of the Guinness Record for World's Longest Bicycle was built in the Netherlands by a Dutch cycling organisation known as Mijl Van Mares Werkploeg.
Made from the same aluminum trusses that are used in lighting rigs for concerts, it takes two people to pedal and steer this long hunk of steel--one on the front and one on the back.
The team said that it's actually relatively easy to ride, as long as you don't have to make any turns...