World-traveling bicyclist performs tricks on campus, jumps over freshmen



An international biker pedaled his way across UK’s campus Saturday, capturing the attention of many incoming freshmen during their first few days on campus.

Thomas Oehler, a 28-year-old Austrian trial biker, made a pit stop at UK during his five-week national tour, sponsored by Red Bull. Oehler participates in trial riding, in which the rider attempts to keep his or her feet from touching the ground while riding through an obstacle course.

Spectators gathered around South Campus Saturday afternoon as Oehler performed numerous tricks for onlookers.

RJ Ross, an English freshman, said he was impressed by Oehler’s versatile performance.

“It’s awesome seeing him out across campus improvising and doing different things,” Ross said.

Though the tour began just a few days prior to his visit, Oehler said he is always thinking about what to do next.

“I sit in the car and look around me,” he said. “I am constantly planning things. It never stops.”

Oehler said he thrives off of his audience and tries to draw a large crowd.

“It’s always hard to find the really crowded places, but once you get more and more people involved, they just keep coming,” he said.

During his performance, Oehler incorporated students by telling them to lie down side-by-side as he jumps over their bodies.

“I got pretty scared. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Jordan Barrass, a business freshman, said.

Students actively participated, and took photos and video of Oehler’s performance.

“It kind of gives you a feeling of what the whole campus is about,” said Carl Groathouse, a computer science engineering freshman. “You can become involved in events just by being here.”

Oehler participates in other styles of riding, including dirt and mountain biking. He began trial riding at age 12 and started competing shortly after. He is a five-time Austrian trial bike champion and won the European Championship in 2006. In 2008, Oehler was named the World Champion. He currently holds the world record for bike high jump, reaching 2.9 metres.

“I like the technical parts — playing around on the bike and doing really tricky lines. That’s my thing,” he said.

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