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Free ‘wheelie’

Free ‘wheelie’
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First Published: Wed, May 05 2010. 09 59 PM IST

Daredevil: Chris Pfeiffer, aka maniac-on-the-bike.
Daredevil: Chris Pfeiffer, aka maniac-on-the-bike.
Updated: Wed, May 05 2010. 09 59 PM IST
Daredevil: Chris Pfeiffer, aka maniac-on-the-bike.
A long line of Delhi bikers with their flamboyant hairdos, tight T-shirts and modified Enfields came roaring in. Seconds after they parked their bikes and squeezed in with the rest of the crowd to watch the bike show, Chris Pfeiffer, aka maniac-on-the-bike, came screeching and careening out on to the little strip of asphalt cleared for his performance.
Before you knew it, he was riding his bike only on its rear wheel (that’s called a wheelie), the rest of the bike vertically up in the air, while he alternated between standing on one foot on the edge of the seat, and jumping up on to the fuel tank like he was trying to tame a particularly moody horse gone out of control.
The Delhi bikers looked gobsmacked. Pfeiffer then turned his bike 360 degrees repeatedly on only its rear wheel, at one point letting go of both hands, before bringing the bike to a stop only on its front wheel. The crowd went wild. One moment Pfeiffer and his bike were pirouetting like a ballerina dancing en pointe, the next he was a joker on a bike, riding it backwards, sitting on the handlebar.
“When I ride difficult tricks, I feel like one unit with my bike,” says Pfeiffer, who is currently touring India. “It just feels natural to me.” You bet it does—this multiple world stunt bike championship winner has been riding since he was 5, when his father, a passionate biker himself, gifted him a small, modified dirt bike. For someone who has spent all his life with bikes, winning competitions is not the objective. “It’s nice, but for me it’s all about innovating and creating new tricks.”
The German stunt biker didn’t think it was crazy to jump over 33 people lying side by side, without using a ramp—a record in ramp-less jumping. But he advocates safety first. “Do everything in small steps. I always respect fear. If I’m scared, that’s a sign for me to stop whatever trick I’m doing and rethink.”
A good piece of advice for the Delhi bikers, who left without a squeak after the show.
Chris Pfeiffer will perform at the Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, at 5pm today, and at Besant Nagar Beach, Chennai, at 5.30pm on Friday.
Photographs by Pradeep Gaur / Mint
rudraneil.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Wed, May 05 2010. 09 59 PM IST