Artistic cycling is the greatest sport you’ve never heard of

This combination of gymnastics and cycling is an ultimate expression of balance and creativity
artistic cycling All together now! Do you have what it takes to ride a bike like this? (© Lukas Blazek - Dreamstime.com)


We like to consider ourselves pretty informed here at OWLconnected. But it's a big world out there, full of surprises for us all.

Take the sport of artistic cycling. We had never heard of it, but—surprise!—it is quite popular in Europe and its world championship have been going on since the 1950s.

It involves athletes performing handstands, twists and spins, and other tricks involving balance and strength. There are solo athletes, athletes working in pairs, and even groups of four to six working in sync with each other.

And they do it all, of course, while on a bicycle.

Special bike, special talent

Embed from Getty Images

Thanks to her Instagram account and videos, Germany's Viola Brand is one of the most well-known artistic cyclists. (Getty Embed)

The bike in artistic cycling looks very much like the ones that many of us use day-to-day. But as you might expect, there are a few special adjustments to maximize the bike's potential for tricks.

The front handlebars are tilted upward and the frame can rotate around the front wheel completely (the better for 360° spins!). The bike has a fixed gear, not the several gears found on average bicycles. A fixed gear bike is more stable and predictable—this is a good idea if you're going to be balancing upside-down on the seat!

The best artistic cyclists in the world train hard year round, especially to build up their core strength and perfect handstands and twists (hint: if you can't do a trick on the ground, you're not ready to try it on a bike).

Check out highlights from the recent world championship below.

Is artistic cycling your new favourite sport? Do you already do it? Let us know below!


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