31 May 1999
It was rehearsals for the 1993 Osaka World Performers' Festival television show, my first professional engagement after graduating from the National School of Circus in France. The winner would walk off with the handsome purse of US$5,000. Hot, tired and nervous - things were running a little behind schedule, and the Japanese hate that. The director decided that my rehearsal period was unnecessary. Against better judgement, I picked up my bike and began the act - not noticing that it had been lying in a puddle generated by the air conditioning. The first trick is standing on the handlebars, however with the moisture as soon as I stood up, both feet left the handlebars and I crashed onto the stage. Dazed and confused I continued. The next trick was a headstand on the saddle. Once again I found myself entangled with the bike on the floor. By this point I'd gathered quite a crowd. For my next trick, my foot went into the front wheel tearing the valve, buckling the wheel, breaking six spokes and landing a mighty bruise on my foot. These were three of the worst falls I'd ever taken in public. In the two hours that followed I rebuilt the wheel, regained my confidence, and delivered a flawless second performance to collect the $5,000.
Justin Case. Trick Cyclist, extraordinaire
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