Wheelie boys: back from left, Kaje Matthie, Trent Daniels and Kenneth “Chicago” Matthie and ahead of Jason Ingham, on the ramp that Mr. Daniels built for the freestyle jump (photo provided)
In college, Trent Daniels wanted to do a backflip on his dirt bike.
He even tried to do it as a physics project. “My teacher said ‘no way!’,” the Belco stagehand said. “She said it was too dangerous.”
At 16, Mr. Daniels got into motocross racing, but had to stop doing it seriously after a serious accident.
Now 32 years old, he is still crazy about cycling. A few months ago, he and some friends formed Stunt Bermuda, a group dedicated to promoting wheelie culture in Bermuda.
Wheelie Culture Explained
Google explains wheelie culture as: “a subculture born on the streets, where pain turns into creativity. It’s a chance for cyclists to flaunt new tricks, make new friends, and honing their cycling skills. It’s a way of life.”
Stunt Bermuda meets informally on Sundays. “We don’t have a structure in Stunt Bermuda yet,” he said. “People can just show up to one of our Sunday workouts, join in and have fun.”
On September 5, they will hold their first event, the All in Stunt Show at Parking Lot One in Hamilton.
It will include a custom bike show, slow race, BMX wheelie competition and best BMX trick competition with cash prizes.
Participants are requested to wear their swimsuits as the competition side will take place on the water.
There will also be crash pads used in the competition so that the children do not get hurt.
Mr Daniels said Stunt Bermuda was trying to tap into the wheelie culture in the show and add more to it. “We try to showcase the talent we have on the island in a positive way,” he said.
A few months ago, with the help of his Stunt Bermuda friends, Mr. Daniels finally did this backflip, but it took some work.
“I learned how to do it from YouTube,” he said. “I started by building a portable ramp. I didn’t really know how to build a ramp, but I followed the instructions and watched a few YouTube videos.”
He first took the ramp to a dock in Sandys, thinking learning on the water would be far less painful than on land.
Many people said they wanted to try the five-foot ramp when they saw it, but changed their minds when they approached it on their bikes. Its steep slope made it intimidating.
“I built it, but I don’t know what angle it is at,” he said. “I know it’s steep. I probably rolled in the water 15 times before I could do a flip.
“Then I bought an inflatable landing to use on land. It’s kind of like a fun castle. I crashed twice before I could somersault back on the landing.
One of his most spectacular failures was featured on the humorous Instagram feed @mrfotogenik.
“I tried to do a jump on a mini mountain bike and landed upside down,” laughed Mr Daniels.
It was awesome when he finally achieved his goal. “I did my first backflip, it was amazing,” he said. “I can’t even explain the feeling.”
Mr Daniels said that around the world there was an increased interest in wheelie culture thanks to
Instagram sites such as @wheelie.fun.worldwide which have over 200,000 followers.
Now, it’s common to see kids and adults around Bermuda trying to do a wheelie on school grounds, in traffic, or in parking lots.
“The online Wheelie culture has a major impact on what we do here, especially with kids on bikes,” Daniels said. “You see kids today doing things on bikes that we never did when we were growing up. They are amazing.”
He said the community often reacts negatively to wheelie culture, without really understanding it.
“We’re told to get out and get away from the technology, but when we do they call the police,” he said. “So far no one has called the police since we jumped off the ramp, but there have been other cases where people are having fun on their bikes or learning to ride a bike in fields or somewhere like that.
“The island is not suitable for people who really like to do more with bikes than just ride them from point A to point B.”
Mr. Daniels said it cost them $20,000 to put on the show.
People watch Stunt Bermuda’s Kaje Matthie do a back flip over the water (pictured)
“As long as I can remember, I’ve ridden a bike in one way or another and I’ve always loved stunts, rear wheelies and racing,” he said. “It’s only now that I’ve decided to get out of my comfort zone, do something exciting for the island, and stop saying I wish someone else would. .”
He’s not only the promoter, he’ll also be in the show demonstrating his ramp and backflips.
He said that ultimately he would like to be able to teach kids to do different tricks on their bikes.
“We can all learn together,” he said. “I really appreciate that.”
Hosted by local social media influencer Mr. Fotogenik, the All in Stunt Show will also include a demonstration by Zeb Dennis, Canadian motocross champion and elite stuntman.
Elite stuntman Zeb Dennis will perform at the All In Stunt event (Photograph provided)
Mr. Dennis is known for his flowing style that makes jumping effortless.
“Over the past decade, wheelie culture has started to spread everywhere,” Dennis said. “It’s huge in Canada and really huge in the United States. It’s pretty wild.”
In Durham, Ontario, he runs a summer camp and freestyle motocross and BMX program called MotoPark Academy. Throughout the program, he produced several champion motocross riders.
He was the last in Bermuda in 2000 to compete in the Bermuda Motocross Club Champion of Champions race, held at Coney Island, St George’s.
“It was awesome,” Mr. Dennis said. “After that we had a good following of Bermudians coming to our summer camps from 2000 to 2008 and then that fell apart.”
Those interested in joining Stunt Bermuda can email firstname.lastname@example.org or message them on Instagram @stuntbermuda.
All In Stunt Show will take place on September 5 from 12-4 p.m. in parking lot one in Hamilton. Tickets are available at www.ptix.bm, $45 general admission, $125 adult VIP tickets, $50 VIP kids and children under four are free. VIP tickets will include two drinks, a plate of food and seating in the stands.