Going Going Bike

Aug 142012
Bomberdrome Airview

For us of an older generation, a visiting circus and fair used to bring all sorts of odd attractions and entertainment.

One such attraction was the Wall of Death. This attraction would allow you to see motorbikes ride vertically and perform stunts around a silo or barrel-shaped wooden cylinder structure. The motorbikes would be held in place by centripetal force.

Unfortunately the Wall of Death has largely died out as an attraction as stricter health and safety laws have come in.

The Wall of Death project

However, Northampton-based Ministry of Bikes are on a mission to bring the much missed Wall of Death back into the public eye with their travelling Bomberdrome attraction, using bicycles instead of motorbikes of course.

The Ministry of Bikes collective has spent the last couple of months building the £4,000 26 foot structure from hundreds of individual planks of wood.

While the steepness of the vertical walls on the Bomberdrome isn’t quite death defying (mainly because to ride completely vertically on a bike is impossible as you’d have to be going some speed to do it), Ministry of Bikes say riding on their version of the Wall of Death is no easy task. The track is pitched at an acute angle of 65 degrees.

Riding style

George Pollard, one of the members of the Ministry of Bikes team, told us that the Bomberdrome was really tricky to ride at first, but he and his fellow members eventually got to grips with the riding style as well as some of the stunts that can be done on the structure.

“It is such an adrenaline rush to cycle around it and it is an amazing spectacle to watch.”

Faster, faster, quicker, quicker

Fun idea

Bill Pollard, another member of the Ministry of Bicycles collective and George’s brother, said that the idea to bring back the Wall of Death was inspired by seeing similar Bomberdrome bicycle attractions in the US.

“I had seen guys in America make one of these and it looked like excellent fun. So I decided to make the first UK bicycle wall of death. We have had a few set backs like getting the funding together and then trying to build it in the pounding rain, but it has finally all come together.”

Documentary and photo project

Film Northants, the county film festival of Northamptonshire, has also been closely involved with the Bomberdrome project. They commissioned a film documentary to document everything from the build to the subsequent debut of the Bomberdrome at the Wonderful Wheeled Weekend at Wickstead Park in Kettering on August 4-5.

The finished documentary will be screened at the 2012 Film Northants ceremony on September 17 before being taken to the Leicester DocFest.

The photos of the Bomberdrome used in this blog are the work of Steve Rideout, who has been photoblogging the project for the Ministry of Bikes. An extensive collection of images from the build to the Bomberdrome in action at Wickstead Park can be found on Steve’s website. We encourage you to visit the site and see the marvellous photos!

Time to travel

Ministry of Bikes now plan to travel the country with the Bomberdrome and ride on it whilst dressed as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The next Bomberdrome date is this weekend at the Umbrella Fair in Northampton, while the attraction will also be on show at the showing of the project documentary at Film Northants.

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