BMX pros Danny MacAskill and Kriss Kyle, along with four of their fellow two-wheeled gurus, gathered recently in Glasgow, Scotland, where they participated in workshops put on by Vision Ramps, a production company specializing in the construction, design and creative direction of skateboard ramps. The objective was to explore for the first time the effects of combining the extreme sport of BMX with the Wheel of Death, a large rotating circular apparatus.

“It’s stuff that you’d never find in any skate park or even anywhere else in the world.”

Kriss Kyle
BMX rider

By interacting with a wheel of death on their bikes, the athletes were invited to “push the human physical limits”, as our Performance Designer Germain Guillemot describes it. Creativity and adrenaline quickly flowed as the riders plied their craft in this new environment. They took turns attempting different tricks, with each stunt pushing the laws of gravity a little further. They rode inside, on top, two by two, and in the opposite direction of the wheel’s rotation. They even jumped through a moving wheel of death (remember there’s a reason it’s called “The Wheel of Death”!). The learning curve was as steep as some of the ramps. These experiments allowed us to build up a “vocabulary of performance” in which the most efficient stunt angles and athlete positions were noted. Testing performance effects with a few iterations of the wheel of death, each sporting different frames and dimensions, allowed us to determine which model was optimal.

“It’s amazing to watch those guys going through that small space. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I like it.”

Germain Guillemot
Performance Designer, Cirque du Soleil

This workshop represented the first step in a performance exploration journey. Although we’re only at the beginning of the experience crafting process, the creators of the concept already seem very confident (and the riders stoked) in this workshop’s potential for use in future shows. So, it is very possible we will see this unlikely and jaw-dropping combination of different wheels again down the road.

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