Variations in how to ride the hamster wheel at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee

Expert section, Ray's Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee Approach to the hamster wheel, Ray's Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee Approach to the hamster wheel, Ray's Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee Hamster wheel, Ray's Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee
My Jan. 22 blog post, Technical sections at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park: ingeniously challenging, included a short paragraph about the hamster wheel in the Expert Section at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee. My video in that blog post also showed Ken Barker from Cedar Rapids, Iowa riding the hamster wheel (starting at the 33 second mark).

Caleb Wendel Caleb Wendel at Ray's Indoor Bike Park, Milwaukee
I met Caleb Wendel, co-owner of The Bike Shop in Houghton, Michigan that weekend and yesterday, he alerted me that the video he took of me riding the hamster wheel was now up on Vimeo:

As I wrote earlier, Ken and I figured out one way to ride the hamster wheel without putting your feet down: ride in fast and up as high as you can go without falling backwards; lock both brakes until the wheel starts to move, then pedal quarter turns with the same foot to keep the wheel moving; use your elbows against the hub and spokes as needed to keep your balance.

Of course I’m now itching to go back to Ray’s at least one more time before they close for the season and I’ve been thinking about how else the hamster wheel could be ridden.  This video shows a Ray’s employee, Dave Barnett, riding the hamster wheel (some of it includes a helmet cam view).  It appears as though he’s not pedaling at all, once the wheel starts to move, but rather just throws his body weight forward a few times (starting at the 23-second mark):

I’d like to try that approach, regardless. I’d also like to figure how to ride the hamster wheel perfectly clean, ie, no shoulder or elbow dabs against the hub and spokes. It would seem like hopping the bike left and right as needed to keep balanced might be a way to do that, though doing that at a steep angle while pedaling half turns seems daunting. I’ll report back next time I go but if anyone has ideas or experiences to share, please attach a comment.

Here’s a short video clip on how NOT to ride the hamster wheel:


GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribers to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills newsletter get:

Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills video: Light Hands, Heavy Feet - Developing the Habit

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blogs.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer


2 thoughts on “Variations in how to ride the hamster wheel at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee”

  1. Griff, I whole-heartedly agree with you on the “how not to ride the hamster wheel” video.

    The video of the guy from rays is pretty much the same as yours, but he’s got a single speed and thus a larger gear ratio so his 1/12th pedal kicks are equivalent to your 1/4th turns in a lower gear. I’d say you pretty much cleaned it. Did you see anyone clean it without arm dabs?

  2. Jed, ahhhh, that makes sense… different gear ratio. Never occurred to me.

    No, I never saw anyone clean it without arm dabs and since I’m an old school motorcycle trials guy, mine wasn’t a clean, since arm dabs, shoulder dabs and hip dabs count the same as foot dabs. I just gotta get back there. ;-)

Leave a Reply