European stunt biking champion Aras Gibieza’s love affair with India continues
When we say, stunt biking, we don’t mean the ‘accelerate-hard-in-a-residential-area-and-attract-attention’ kind of stunts most of us are familiar with. Gibieza’s stunts requires special skill and a thorough knowledge of the physics. Every time he lifts his wheel off the ground or props his leg around, he’s playing with the laws of physics.
Aras Gibieza recently went on a three-city India Tour after wowing the audience at Hyderabad during the Red Bull F1 Showrun. Prior to that, he did an eight-city tour while performing for IBW on Tour. Suffice to say, the young Lithuanian has been to more Indian cities (current count is 12) in last 4 months than most of us visit in a year.
When the dust settled and Gibieza got off his saddle, we caught up with him to know why he does what he does; and more importantly, how he does it. Here’s what he had to say:
How was your experience of the three-city India Tour?
It was really great to ride there. The three cities – Kolkata, Guwahati and Shillong – are completely different. At first, I didn’t think that they would be so different because all three cities are pretty close distance-wise. But, while travelling, after every 5 km. the scenery would change. All of a sudden you start feeling cold, the hill climbs are sudden, people’s facial features changes and everything is totally different from place to place. Kolkata is also a nice place. It’s a bit of old school. It’s still stuck in the fifties, it seems. But it’s cool.
It was nice to see the local guys performing. BMX riders, B-boyers. It was a great event, overall.
Shillong also was great. B boys and local guys performed. We had a really great place and beautiful weather. So it was nice.
What do you think about the level of stunt biking in India?
Some of them are really good riders. Some were beginners while others looked like they might have been riding since years.
Biggest problem [in India] is underpowered bikes. It’s completely different. Things like drifts and burnouts can’t be done with these bikes. Unless you have bike bikes, stunt biking will be stuck at the same level.
How did you started riding?
I started riding when I was 10 years old on scooters. I started doing wheelies just one week after I started riding. I used to do wheelies all over my locality.
Which scooter was it?
It was Suzuki FZ50. It’s a small scooter.
In 2006, I got my first bike. But it was for racing. I used to make fast stoppies and fast wheelies.
In 2008, I got my first stunt bike. I started preparing for stunt biking competitions. I used to do slow wheelies and big angle stoppies, 180 stoppies, tank stands, etc. All these are beginner’s tricks.
In 2009, I won Baltic States Competition in my country.
In 2010, I won in Russia.
In 2011, I won Eastern European Championship.
In 2012, I won the European Stuntriding competition and every other competition I participated in.
Which was your first bike?
Suzuki GSXR 600.
Which is your current bike?
Kawasaki Ninja 636.
How different it is from a road bike?
It’s completely different. If you compare the same model of Ninja, the only common stock parts I have are the engine, wheels, swingarm and radiator. But even that [the radiator] has two fans for cooling now. I have changed a lot of parts on my bike, like handlebars and triple tree. I got bigger sprocket and bigger disc brakes in the front and rear. I’ve even customized the frame to take the loads, all the foot rests are customized and even the tank is customized to allow tank stand and other stunts. You need to do these modifications to prepare the bike for stunting.
Which bike would you suggest to a beginner who wants to try his hand at stunt biking?
Ninja 636. Kawasaki has made this really nice bike for stunt riding.
But we have a problem. Original parts are not too strong for stunt riding so you have to change some parts.
How was your experience riding in Hyderabad opening for the F1 car?
It was amazing! It’s something out of this world. It saw an F1 car so close for the very first time. Great place, beautiful weather, so many people, 650 mt. straight line – it was just great. I was going full throttle in 6thgear on the straight. Even got an opportunity to meet David Coulthard and chat with him. It was amazing. One of the best memories of my life!
What did you discuss with David Coulthard?
We discussed about our countries, culture, my sport, his sports, other sports, etc.
Is it correct that you saw so many people for the first time at one of your events?
Yes, it was the biggest crowd I ever performed in front of. 650 meters and people on both sides, packed to the rafters. It was great. You look around and everywhere it’s full of people.
They scream a lot. THE BEST CROWD EVER!
How different was IBW on Tour compared to North East Tour?
At IBW we had competitions all the time with local teams performing. Weather was too distinct from city to city.
I enjoyed both the tours.
But definitely, Showrun was my favourite.
I have few ones. There is one trick I call unicycle.
Guys from flatland call it time machine. It’s more or less similar.
After this trick I created another trick – Supertower.
You make wheelie circles and you’re sitting on the handle bar and your leg is on the front fender.
Also, 360 kangaroo stop is my favouite.
Is the Supertower similar to Watchtower?
A bit. In Watchtower, you’re standing while here you’re sitting. And also, it’s one-handed.
Which has been the most difficult trick to learn or to execute?
360 is the most difficult, according to me. Also, switchback wheelie.
Today, not many guys can do these tricks. 360, nobody is doing. Even supertower, nobody is doing. Another trick, unicycle. All these are really tough. It also depends on which one you’re practicing. If you’re practicing switchback wheelie every single day then suddenly you’ll start finding that one easy. If you train for another trick, then that becomes easy for you.
What are you training for right now?
Right now, I am training for 360 and those new tricks.
First trick you learnt?
Wheelie. Fast wheelie is the easiest one.
When are you planning to come back to India next?
As soon as possible!
Who’s your experience been overall?
Beautiful. All cities are so different. Different culture and different people. I’m really happy to have got this opportunity twice to visit so many different cities in India.
India is a multifaceted nation. And it’s easy for an outsider to get overawed by its complexity. But Gibieza is not one of them. He loves the cultural diversity and throughout his Indian trip, he was ever ready to try out new experiences. Never once losing that amusing smile. That’s Aras for you: Agile, 100-watt smile, calm demeanor and the ability to activate his inner Ninja once he gets on that Kawasaki of his. And perhaps, that’s the mould for stunt bikers. That of a ninja!
Disclaimer: This article first appeared on RedBull.com