Recently, the World Championships for indoor cycling occurred, with the event of artistic cycling, a culmination of gymnastics and bike riding, seemingly spearheading the championships. This aforementioned tournament seemed to provide a platform on which the sport may elevate itself and gain recognition, perhaps in turn increasing the amount of athletes motivated to compete. Yet, whilst it may be clear the sport is aiming to continuously renovate in order to maintain the levels of competitiveness, artistic cycling has been competed on the international stage since 1956, and cycle ball since 1930, which may suggest the sport has achieved longevity, and has continuously appealed to athletes striving to compete at the pinnacle of their sport. As such, the sport seems to have found a remarkable blend of both consistency and innovation, the results may ultimately be productive, with perhaps the sport, and it’s athletes, expanding their repertoires.
In artistic cycling, athletes attempt to perform stunts to music, utilising their bicycle’s handlebars, wheels and frame. Most often, events are competed either singularly or in pairs, with a five minute round in which exercises may be performed in order to attain points from the judges. In order to perform the majority of manoeuvres, the bicycles seem to have been adapted in order to contribute to the accretion of consistent, higher scoring; the wheels seem to be closely spaced, perhaps enabling stunts such as wheelies to become more accessible, and the handlebars swivel 360°. These adaptations may suggest the sport, and it’s equipment, is continuously being innovated and enhanced in order to advance the sport’s credentials; these improvements may act as the catalyst in further competitions being improved, and differing events included in order to increase the level of intrigue.
In the World Championships, hosted in Stuttgart, the home nation may have been impacted superiorly than the other competitors, due to German athletes winning the gold and silver medals in four categories. This may suggest Germany has been productively impacted by the vast amount of the population seemingly invested in the sport; they have 10,000 licence holders for artistic cycling, and victory may enhance this amount further, as medals may act as an incentive for other athletes to strive to replicate their colleagues achievements. Yet, whilst Germany may emerge with the plaudits, other countries may also draw productive conclusions, including Austria, who won the gold medal in the Act 4 Open with a score of 222.24 points. Therefore, it seems the sport possesses competitors with quality who may be able to surpass records and, whilst Germany seem to be dominating due to their current form, perhaps this may lead to a more intriguing spectacle, as other countries may be intent on accomplishing more records than their European counterparts.
Whilst artistic cycling may be the present focus of the sporting world, perhaps predominantly due to the recent World Championships, it also contains a sister event: cycle ball. Exclusively a male discipline, the rules seem to closely coincide with football, with two teams of two players, acting as both goalkeeper and outfield players, competing, with the overall aim to score goals via striking the ball with their bicycle. As such, this sport may be aiming to become accessible to the masses, as it’s similarities to established, recognised sports such as football, combined with videos being shared across various forms of social media, may enable the sport to be absorbed by the masses, perhaps in turn leading to future competitors.
The next major event aims to be hosted in Böhl-Iggelheim on the 12th March, and whilst the hosts may be amongst the favourites, due to both their high level of representatives and their recent gold medals, other countries may also be able to utilise the previous tournament to gain victories; when it is considered 50% of the world record scores for artistic cycling have been achieved in the past year, this suggestion may be amplified. Ultimately, with the achievements amassed recently, the sport seems to be aiming to increase the possession of accomplished competitors with high aspiration levels, and with social media seemingly constantly contributing to the sport, perhaps it may continue to grow, and extend its’ consistent run of championships.
How may indoor cycling flourish in order to gain further recognition?