The Art of Cycling
I did gymnastics when I was a kid, and one time my teacher was sick and the substitute was also a teacher for artistic cycling. I saw what they did and wanted to do the same. I wasn’t able to ride a bike back then, I had to use stabilisers! So I quickly learned it and that’s how I got into artistic cycling. My first time doing artistic cycling was in 2002, but It wasn’t until 2003/2004 that I actually started a regular training twice a week. In 2014, I became vice-European champion for the juniors and German vice-champion and those are my greatest successes so far. I live in Frankfurt am Main at the moment and that’s why I’m in different clubs. I regularly train in Langenselbold, I was also in Mörfelden and Wiesbaden. It depends on the time of the training, how long it takes me to get there, university and so on. My greatest challenge so far was learning how to do a handstand, just because I started quite late to practise it in comparison to others. And when you’re taller and heavier than others, it’s quite harder to do and then I became so tall that it was really hard to hold it. And then I did it without holding it and I had get there step by step. Let me say it like this: Actually doing and holding a handstand, I learned in 2012, but until I learned to push my body upwards while doing a handstand starting with my feet and hands on the floor and then using my own strength to push myself up, that took me about 2 years, or 1½ but 2 years until it was good. There are several factors: On the one hand, the materials are obviously very expensive a bike like this costs about 2.500€. On the other hand, it’s difficult to set up a training session, because you have 6-8 people and everyone needs their space and then the entire hall is full. Then you also need 3 teachers to be able to train properly, and that’s difficult. So you can’t do that in school for example, other sports you already get to know in school, and then it’s also a very technically adept form of sport, you need a lot of know-how so that you can get on a certain level in the first place. Well, in the first place, the two, or everyone here, my training-pals, because we train at the same time. But 2 years ago I also got a coach’s license and I’ve been a regional coach for a while, and I’m also active in the state association and I obviously support the athletes here. I supervise the athletes at competitions pretty often and I like to show them stuff at the training sessions and, yeah. But generally, we’re friends, but they’re also my students and my training-pals, I would say. Well, my grandpa is my coach and my mom and uncle also used to do artistic cycling and I joined them one day and that was a lot of fun. Well, my big sister once had a jazz course in this hall and my mom and I picked her up and I saw people warming up and I wanted to see what they’re doing and then I joined them. I train twice a week, Monday and Tuesday. I train thrice a week, on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. It’s just really nice to do artistic stunts on a bike. I wouldn’t stop doing artistic cycling, because it’s fun and we became really great friends, we see each other at the training. Well, I think we did a very good job we worked really hard, we had really extreme and strong opponents NOT because we were the only contestants… Do you wanna add anything? Yes, I also liked everything, except for that one fall during “Vorhebehalte Dornstand” but everything else was fine. I’m really good friends with Antonia and I got around to artistic cycling through her. It’s fun, you can gain a lot. We’ve been doing this for quite a while now and it helps you disconnect from everything happening at school and I train 5-6 hours a week on 2 days, because I’m also a coach myself. It is a sport that helps you zone out. You move a lot and it is richer in variety than, for example, running. For example an upside down exercise is something really different and new and that’s while I like it a lot, since many years. Perfection, I think. I aways have to be perfect. I fell down during the quad exercise and now I’m angry with myself, for example. When everything goes perfectly, then I’m happy. And the body tension has to be there with the arms or it won’t work. The challenge of the sport is the perseverance. For 26 years. You try again and again and you fight against yourself and that’s what it’s about. That these young people learn that it’s not important to be 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, it’s about what you present and saying: “That’s what I’m doing!”, then you can be proud of yourself. That’s the essence. My father is a passionate racer and when I was 12, he took me with him, and he trained his kids, usually this sport is being trained by parents, because it really is an individual sport. And then suddenly, I was standing in the hall, in front of Ms. Seifert, my first coach, and she told me to get going, and the bikes don’t have breaks but fixed pedals, so I crashed into the wall. But that’s how I got stuck with the sport. I remember during my first competition, I didn’t do my last exercise free-handed, even though I should have. But I didn’t have an opponent, so it wasn’t that bad. Nowadays I am still nervous before every competition. Even at regional competitions there is a certain nervousness, because you wanna do it well, even for yourself. In the next years, I want to qualify for the world championship. For that, I need to increase the difficulty, so I’m learning the handstands in the Swiss execution, which means that you do a Vorhebehalte, you push your legs to the front, horizontally to the floor, and from that position, with unbowed legs, you go into the handstand. This brings you more points than what I’m doing at the moment, and so I have a realistic chance to qualify for the world championship. So that is my short- and long-term goal. Basically, it’s two essential points. One is, doing artistic cycling, you always outgrow yourself, again and again, for example back in 2012 or even in 2015, I wouldn’t have thought that I would be able to do a handstand on a bike, or I was dubious at least, but then I trained hard and kept working on it and in the end, I managed it. I outgrew myself. And that is something that you can have for individual exercises, but also when you keep improving at competitions or at the training. It’s always a challenge and you repeatedly overcome your “limits”, which weren’t limits at the end of the day. The other point is that the artistic cycling community is very special. We don’t earn money, and we all do it because it’s our passion and that’s why it’s a very special and nice community and that makes you stay with the sport for a long time. I don’t know the exact criteria for a sport to become Olympic, but I know that artistic cycling doesn’t qualify, simply because it is not spread on all continents, actually only on 2 continents. There are a few people who do artistic cycling in Canada, but there are no actual structures yet. And that’s why this whole thing is difficult and it’s one of the biggest points why Olympia remains a dream for artistic cyclists.