On a whirling ride of his life
YP cadet Erica Lee
He has appeared in several magazine spreads, performed in the Cirque du Soleil, and enjoyed celebrity-style media coverage.
That's because Takahiro Ikeda is the youngest world champion of Flatland BMX, freestyle riding on flat surfaces. He also holds a Guinness World Record for flatland acrobatics.
Yes, he's a bit of a cycling prodigy.
The young Japanese star was in Hong Kong recently to dazzle spectators with his skills. On July 12, Ikeda performed at the Metroplaza mall in Kwai Fong, Kowloon.
While he was at it, he also landed himself yet another impressive title to take home with him: the Guinness World Record for producing the most spins on a bike's back wheel in a minute.
The 22-year-old had planned to pull off 90 spins; in the end, he managed 89. That was enough to help him break his own previous record of 59 spins.
'I was a little nervous today as I'm in a totally new environment in front of so many people,' said Ikeda, who was visiting Hong Kong for the first time. 'But overall, I am satisfied with my result. It's an achievement as I broke my record.'
Ikeda started riding BMX bikes at the age of 14 after he had seen other youngsters do amazing stunts.
After dabbling in the sport for a while, he decided to turn pro at the age of 18. 'I became a lot more serious about BMX when I went professional and travelled to many different places around the world to compete,' he says.'BMX has not only been my career, but also a hobby of mine. It is a part of my life now.'
You might think that whirling around 89 times in a minute on the back wheel of your bike would be a nerve-racking, not to mention an extremely dizzying, experience.
Not to Ikeda, though. 'I only felt very dizzy when I first started doing spins. I have done spins so many times already that it doesn't affect me anymore,' he explains.
Yet even as he's kept spinning on his bike, Ikeda has also kept on flipping through school books. He is now in his fourth year at law school.
But he concedes that he may not become a practicing lawyer any time soon. He says he dreams about opening his own BMX business.
'I want to help more BMX enthusiasts flourish. Hopefully the knowledge I have accumulated through my law studies will help me operate my own business.'
Until then, Ikeda has set himself another goal: he wants to do 100 back-wheel spins within a minute.
'I hope to complete this in five years' time,' he says.
If you want to learn BMX riding, visit the BMX Freestyle Cycling Workshop at Metroplaza on weekends in July and August. For details, call the mall at 2429 6500