Crazy cyclists: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

December 9, 2013 • 3:53 am

by Matthew Cobb

This popped up in my Tw*tter feed yesterday, from experimental evolution ace Richard Lenski (@RELenski). It’s not new, but it is scary.  Here’s the picture Richard re-tweeted:

And yes it is real. In 2006, mountain bikers Hans Rey and Steve Peat decided to ride their bikes along a narrow ledge of the cliffs of Moher in Ireland. These massive cliffs have a sheer drop of 600ft down into the pounding Atlantic – they featured in David Lean’s epic film (did he make any other kind?) Ryan’s Daughter. There’s more detail of the trip, along with some pics, here. I’ve reproduced a few, plus a nausea-inducing video.

And remember folks, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!

37 thoughts on “Crazy cyclists: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

    1. I wish I were young enough to learn to ride like that. When I was young we thought we were radical on skateboards, bikes, motorcycles etc. And actually we were! But we weren’t even dreaming about what they do these days. The only thing I can keep up with the youngsters on, and often take them to school, is GP type motorcycle road racing. Once you pass a certain age though, the body just doesn’t rebound like it use to.

  1. The crazy guys who bike at the edge of the cliffs wear helmets. I repeat, they are wearing helmets. Remember that next time you want to leave your bike helmet at home!

    1. And this proves – that helmet wearers are suicidally crazy lunatics? That a helmet will save you when you hit the deck at 120 mph? I’m reminded of Jeremy Clarkson’s railway crossing safety message – “Always wear a high-vis jacket”.

    1. If they want it to get into the mags, particularly in the UK, then its pretty much a requirement.
      Dunno why but its something which kicked in for mountain bikers since about the start but not for roadies.

  2. I’ve been there, and that’s an extremely unwise thing to do! Even standing on the edge is risky as gusts of wind come along every now and then. Plus pieces of the cliff occasionally crack off.

    I was told by a friend there that someone falls off and plummets to their death on a semi-regular basis. Not sure how true that is, but on a bike, you hit one stray rock the wrong way with your wheel, and……

    1. Those two arent exactly average riders though, both have acquired world championship titles in various mountain biking disciplines.
      About as safe for them to ride it as for someone normal to walk it, they really are that good.

      1. No, it’s not really safe. What do they do when the piece they’re cycling on lets go and falls? No amount of expertise will help in that situation.

        One of the accounts in “Death in Yosemite” (a catalog of all deaths known to have occurred in Yosemite National Park) mentions a rock climber going up one of the big granite cliffs there. He put out a hand to balance a little, touching a big (and seemingly stable) slab of granite – and it instantly fell away.

        Something similar could easily happen at the cliffs of Moher. To say nothing of gusting wind.

  3. You have no idea how relieved I am that my son is not into mountain climbing, biking on cliff sides and all other dangerous extreme sports.

    On the other hand, I absolutely love this video:

  4. I was thinking Venn diagrams. There are people who are into mountain biking along trails and even off-trail, and then there are people who are into extreme sports like base jumping. The latter can feel ill if they are not risking their lives. These two are in the intersection.

  5. When I see people do those crazy things, which would make every cell in my body scream “run away” rather than “Hell ya, let’s do this!” it seems apparent there is something different about their brains vs mine.

    Apparently some people have physiological brain structures that tend to register less fear. (I think that’s one of the difference found in psychopaths or something like that?…not to cast such aspersions on those cyclists. They may be crazy but…)


    1. Age is a factor. I did some fairly dangerous things fifty years ago, but now, in my dotage, I’m much more cautious.

      Whether this change is due to increased timidity or to increased knowledge of risks, I do not know.

  6. Well, it would be very difficult for me to to do this at home in Houston with our rugged terrain. But if I should ever again hoist myself onto a bicycle, it would probably be a great deal riskier to ride in our traffic. But their view is a lot better.

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