Paddy Waters cuts a solitary figure on his bicycle. In fact he is the only cyclist of his kind in Britain and Ireland. He is what’s known as a trick cyclist.
On what looks like an ordinary bike Paddy manages to do some extra ordinary things. His two wheeled routine is strikingly similar to that of a Cossack on a horse. He goes from being on the saddle, to under it, at the side of it, to standing on it and not just by himself. In one act he manages to ride with four other people planted around the bike.Click on the link, Paddy Waters, to see his performance.
Paddy, who is from Dublin, is doing a degree in circus entertainment in London. As his specialty he has chosen trick cycling. This was once a popular act in most circuses, but is now almost extinct in these islands.
The advantage of using a bicycle to entertain, according to Paddy, is its power to surprise. ‘The bicycle is a vehicle I use for performance. It’s a machine that people are familiar with, or at least that’s what they think at the beginning. It allows me to take them to unusual places where they don’t expect.’
Waters doesn’t feel lonely about being the only practitioner of this old art, rather he sees his solo status as being something of a selling point. However Paddy, who doesn’t come from a circus family, has no illusions about the difficulty of making a living in the industry he’ll be entering after completed his degree next April.
‘Circuses in the UK are far behind those on the Continent and Ireland is quite a few years behind that of the UK ,’ he says.
On a more optimistic note he believes that the inclusions of circus acts into the bill at summer festivals such as Oxygen and Electric Picnic are encouraging signs of diversification for the future.
At this moment in time he isn’t particularly concerned about the fortunes of the circus industry. He has far more pressing thoughts on his mind, like trying to break the world record for cycling backwards. The current record for100 km stands at just over four hours. He is planning to make his bid for the record before the year is out, but first he needs a route and a sponsor.