Imagine Lionel Messi scoring goals on a remarkably smaller football pitch. Now picture him showing off his athletic footballing brilliance all while balancing on a bike as if the floor is lava. Welcome to the world of Cycle-Ball.
Cycle-Ball, also known as radball due to its German origins, was introduced to the world by German-American Nicholas Edward Kaufmann in 1888 and combines both cycling and football. The team with the most goals wins the game. The premise may be simple, but the execution is less so.
‘It takes place indoors on specially designed bikes,’ says Patrick Schnetzer, eight-time World Cycle-Ball champion. ‘People don’t really know that we’re essentially playing while standing on the bike and not sitting. We play 2 vs 2 and the goals are only two metres high and two metres wide. The field is is 14m x 11m and the game lasts seven minutes each way with a two-minute break for half-time.’ France play Germany in the 1933 Cycle-Ball World Championships (albeit outside) Cycle-Ball players must constantly balance on fixed-gear bikes. Shooting is allowed with both the front and back wheels, and Schnetzer notes one of the most challenging aspects is the balance. Players cannot step foot on the ground. Should they do so, the player must head behind their own goal line and restart from there.
‘Shooting the ball or defending the goal are some of the hardest things to learn. But at some point, when you’ve invested a lot of time and been training so hard, you […]