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‘Dancers on bikes‘

By Adam Marsal

Never use the term ‘dancers on bikes’ to describe guys who perform unbelievable tricks on tiny bicycles. They call themselves flatland riders! Ultimately they’re masters of balance. Professional competitor Martin Drazil presents to you this fascinating discipline.

The sport is sometimes described as a form of artistic cycling with a blend of breakdancing. No obstacles, no bunny hops or the huge air from ramps to the landing on grind rails. All the flatland riders need is their bike and surprisingly… a piece of flat land.

The daring acrobats can show their tricks in the merest of spaces. Like in the corner of a garage. If you’re at Martin’s level, you can do it without scratching your new car. Take a look at Martin skills!

Years of training to master the skill

Professionals like Martin are often very dedicated and will spend several hours a day perfecting their techniques. You could get injured very easily by the pegs, pedals or bars if you loose your balance. In competition talent and skill are judged by the ability to maintain coordination and balance, while performing a variety of difficult and elegant moves. Martin says it takes a month at least to learn a great trick.

If you want to manipulate the bike into more imaginative positions, without a fail, you’ll have to be patient. Martin trained almost everyday for at least fourteen years! It always makes him happy to nail a new trick for the first time. In his career Martin has taken part in many competitions around the world. He names Barcelona and Paris as his most favourite spots. “It’s usually sunny there and both towns have an enchanting atmosphere,” Martin says.

All you need is a dry shelter

In winter or when it rains, it’s hard for Martin to find a place where to train. There’s nothing worse than a wet and slippery floor for the flatland riders. Underground garages seem to be the right choice. With the CNG propelled engine of the white Škoda Octavia Combi G-TEC , it’s safe to enter most garages, which is in contrast to propane engine vehicles. In both cases we’re talking about gas but there’s a difference.

Natural gas (CNG) is lighter than air so in the event of a leak, the natural gas will disperse upwards and be removed by the garage’s ventilation system. By comparison, propane is heavier than air and would normally pool in low spots in the event of a leak. That can be dangerous and may result in an explosion. That’s why propane cars are normally prohibited from being inside the building. Natural gas (CNG) engines are also very economic. According to some of the latest tests it can take you from Berlin to the Italian Venezia for less then 40 euros. ”And that counts” says Martin.