What's a Gravity Bike?
2 October 2009 / Posted by Brett Phillips
Image: Courtesy of Brett Phillips, Victoria Australia Circa 2010
A Gravity Bike is a specialised two wheeled bicycle propelled by nothing other than gravity. Without pedals or a chain, Gravity Bike riders rely on steep gradients and gravity to reach incredibly fast speeds. Historically, Gravity Bikes evolved from modifying a traditional BMX where a rider would add weight, alter seating and handlebar positions and change a bikes aerodynamic characteristics in the pursuit of greater speeds. More recently, Gravity Bikes have evolved to become highly specialised and purpose built machines capable of reaching speeds over 130kph from a standing push start.
Gravity Bikes are ultimately built for speed. The steeper and more technical a road or dedicated racing circuit, the greater the adrenaline rush for riders. Fitted with full protective gear including leathers, helmets, gloves and boots, Gravity Bike riding combines the thrill of speed with a love of bicycles.
Gravity Bikes and Gravity Bike racing have a long and proud history. For more than 30 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands of people around the world contributing to the growth and presentation of the sport.
Formed in 1996, The International Gravity Sports Association was created to recognise the need for fair, unbiased leadership for the sport of gravity racing. Since its inception the goals of the association have been to foster strong and fair competition, to provide reasonable rules, to administer the competition program with impartiality, and to reduce the hazards associated with the sport. In the early years, the IGSA events featured Street Luge only and in 2000, the IGSA added classes for Downhill Skateboarding, Classic Luge, Inline Skating, and Gravity Bikes.
Riding and racing Gravity Bikes is awesome. There is nothing like being poised at the crest of a 2.5 mile technical decent. Your hands clenched tight around the handlebars of a Gravity Bike, built for no other purpose than to break the sound barrier. Adrenaline is coursing through every inch of your body. To the left are 3 of the fastest riders in the world, to the right, another 2. It's the World Championships. You have trained for years, months and days for your chance to race this final 3 minutes, 10.4 seconds. In the blink of a eye its over and you are the newest World Champion!
So go on, get out there and give it a go.