10 August 2023

Artistic Cycling – a beginner’s guide

The full run down the basic information needed to enjoy the UCI Cycling World Championships Indoor Cycling event - Artistic Cycling

Artistic Cycling – a beginner’s guide

You’d be forgiven if your Artistic Cycling knowledge doesn’t quite match up to the level of your track, road and BMX – we get it, there’s a lot of two wheel action to get your head around. But if you’re heading to the Emirates Arena this weekend and want to impress the person next to you by sounding like you know what you’re on about, we’ve got you covered.

How does it work?

In a nutshell, it’s gymnastics on bikes. The rules are also quite similar in that riders have five minutes to perform a series of tricks on their bikes to a track of their choice. Riders must perform a number of compulsory exercises as well as optional elements which are scored by a panel of judges wo look at the variety of exercise, the degree of difficulty, and the precise execution of them. Points are also deducted for mistakes, feet touching the floor, and falls.

The routine with the highest scores wins. Simples!

Some of the moves you can expect to see are headstands on the handlebars, pirouettes, partner lifts and balances, riding backwards standing on the saddle and many many more. Some of these are far too complicated to describe in an article but let’s just say, you’re in for a treat.

Don’t forget, this sport got its origins from the circus so that sets the bar pretty high for cool tricks. Although, there will be a distinct lack of clowns around (many of you will be pretty pleased to hear that!)

There are three different formats – solo, pairs or teams. During this Championships these are further split into: Men’s single, women’s single, women’s pair, open pair and open team (four riders).

Can I do it on my bike?

Well, these bikes are actually specialised for artistic cycling in terms of their handlebars in particular. Whereas on the bike you take to the post office has a limited range of movement of the handles, these bikes have a full 360 degree swivel that allow riders to go full throttle with their moves without their feet touching the floor. In addition to this, these are fixed gear bicycles, so if you’re going up and down hills to get to the post office, you may struggle.

But, this is what makes for perfect instruments for artistic cycling – the consistency is key. The two wheels are also of equal size and closer together than a normal bike in order to make wheelies that bit easier.

The final handlebar difference from your bike is that there is no horizontal extension to the handlebars meaning that they are directly above the front wheel – not as easy for hanging your shopping over them then or attaching a nice wicker basket to the front.

Who are the crème de la crème of artistic cycling?

It’s very difficult to look past the German riders when it comes to artistic cycling. They currently hold every gold medal on offer and won’t want to give them up in a hurry.

A match-up to keep an eye out for is in the women’s pair where the defending champions Helen Vordermeier and Selina Marquardt from Germany will face stiff competition from the Austrian pair of Rosa Kopf/ Svenja Bachmann. With a fresh new routine, the pair, who have now won four consecutive bronze medals will be looking to step up two places on the podium and bag themselves a gold and the much sought after Coo toy.

Is it a potential date night?

Absolutely, and if you are not feeling fully prepped to take a date to the Artistic Cycling, we got you...

Phrases to impress your date at the Artistic cycling

“It’s a mesmerising blend of balance, focus, skill, strength, creativity, flexibility and mental fortitude.”

“Of course, the German National champions Antonia Bärk and Laura Bruder are absent from the women’s pairs because Bruder used to represent Switzerland.”

“This is better than FIFA.”

“It takes some serious Kenergy to do this.”

Things not to say if you’re hoping for a second date

"Shall we try this at home as our second date?”

“It doesn’t even look that hard anyway.”

“I’m wearing this outfit to work on Monday.”

“I reckon I could do this after a few tequilas”

Artistic Cycling tickets at the BMX Centre in Glasgow are sold out, but you can still catch all the action on the BBC (and broadcasters worldwide).

Enjoy the spectacle (and your date)!

By Georgie Heath - Sport Broadcaster, Journaliste, and all-encompassing sporting enthusiast