This Friday on the damp grass of Maidan, I sat down with three guys. Wazid, a 19 year old science student, Avijit – who just passed his ICSE exam with good marks – and Charles, a 13 year old. They were the representatives of a Cycle Stunting group from Kolkata which is leading the upcoming cycle stunting wave across India. Most of us don’t even know that cycle stunts happen in India let alone the fact that Infinity Riderzz from Kolkata are considered pioneers in this sport. When you see their photos that are coming next, you will witness the undeniable quality of their individual talents. It takes a lot to face your fears. But it takes a lot more to overcome your fears day in- day out. What drives them? Are they doing it for fun or do they have a career plan with it? What risks are involved in doing something this dangerous? Following is a conversation with three boys to find out more about how they do what they do!
BongRong: How old is Infinity Riderzz?
Wazid: Nearly 5 years.
BongRong: In the journey so far, what has been the most difficult part?
Wazid: Family problems.
BongRong: Would you care to explain?
Wazid: At first parents did not support us in doing all this. They took our cycles away so that we couldn’t practice. So, we practiced on our friends’ cycles. One day my picture came out in a newspaper. I showed it to my parents. They were so happy! After that the cycle-taking-away thing never happened.
Avijit: Another problem is…we have to go to different faraway places. For that we need to get out of our house very early. My family did not support that. Lots of people from the area saw me practicing. They went and told my mother good things about me. They said I am really good at it. My mother initially was angry because I did not listen to her, but for the last three years she has been my biggest supporter. She just bought me my new cycle. It costs twenty thousand. Each and every penny of that twenty thousand my mother has saved. It did not come for free. She asked me to do well in my exams and I did excel in my ICSE exam and then I got my new cycle. Now each and every member of my family supports me.
Charles: Stunts are very risky. Many times my parents told me to wear guards and helmets. My mother asked me to wear my helmets or not to do stunts at all.
BongRong: I am having a feeling that you don’t listen to your mother? Do you?
Wazid: Actually helmets are a bit uncomfortable. It’s something that always stays on your head. Many stunts are not possible to do while wearing helmets. We practice stunts without helmets but we do wear guards. We are planning to wear helmets. Because we do wanna try and make stunting a recognized sport in India and we want to make it legal so that we can place this sport in everyone’s heart. So we will compromise and wear helmets.
BongRong: We do wish you start very soon. If someone is serious about taking stunting as a career, they should wear the basic safety gears. Talking about safety, had any accidents so far?
Wazid: We do it safely and so far we had a few cuts and scratches only. Nothing major. Actually, stunting depends more on physics. It’s about creating the balance. There is a stunt called ‘switchback headstand’ on cycle. It’s the most difficult stunt ever done in India. It’s very dangerous. We had to overcome our fears. We had to understand what we need to do to keep it safe. It depends on calculating the gravity and balancing it out.
BongRong: Don’t you feel scared? Someday something might just go horribly wrong and…
Avijit: Of course, we are not supermen.
BongRong: So how do you overcome that fear?
Avijit: What we do is risky and there is no doubt about it. Many people will watch what we do and criticize it. The main thing is this – we have to concentrate. We have to have the self confidence that we can do it and concentrate on what we are doing.
Wazid: We concentrate on what we are doing. Not on what others are saying. The important thing is to block everything out and we have headphones for that. Plug in some music and everything goes off.
BongRong: We have heard that your team has become smaller. What’s happening?
Wazid: Loads of people come and join our group. You get to know people over a period of time. There were many members in our group.
Cycle stunting is a hard sport. You have to keep this as your priority if you want to be good at it. We don’t support any kind of addiction and if you want to be a part of us, you have to be serious about it and do only things that won’t affect your concentration. Because concentration is the most important thing in this sport.
Some were not sure about how it will help them build a career. That’s something that bothers us too. But we want to stay at it and try to make a career in cycle stunting. Naturally, we can’t compromise. We have to do hard work if we are serious about it. Now we do shows all over India. We are getting recognition. We did the Times of India Happy Streets. Loads of things are happening. So, all those who left us know that things are happening and if they want to come back, there is only one way back to Infinity Riderzz. It has to be your first priority. Or there is no coming back. Now we are getting new responsible members. Like Avijit, Bishal, Sonu, Harsh, Charles, Akash, Prakash and me. These people are focused on what we want to achieve. If you want to be a part of us you have to keep this as your first priority and you have to stay focused.
Avijit: No one remembers the second. Everyone remembers the first and that’s what we want to be. You have to study to make sure you can get a job if cycle stunting doesn’t pay you. Apart from that nothing else can be your priority. We stay up to catch up on our studies all through the night and come to practice at 4 am. Cold winter or summer…it doesn’t matter.
BongRong: How much do you guys practice everyday?
Avijit: I practice for 3 hours in 4 days of the week.
Charles: 4-5 hours every day.
Wazid: I don’t have any timing. I do it whenever I possibly can. I am doing it anytime that I don’t have to do something else.
BongRong: Young ones who are fascinated by this sport – if they want to do stunting like you, what would be your suggestion?
Avijit: We have opened our academy for beginners in stunt riding. We would ask them to join us.
BongRong: Really? How’s that working out?
Wazid: It’s working out pretty nicely now. We host workshops here (Park Street), in Patuli and Newtown. You can fill up the form and join anytime you want.
BongRong: That’s all over Kolkata. What are you guys doing for transportation?
Wazid: We ride our cycles everywhere.
BongRong: What? Are you kidding?
Wazid: (Pointing at Avijit) He comes from Sonarpur everyday for practice.
Avijit: (Laughing) Imagine what condition I get into when I travel from Sonarpur to Chinar Park (near Kolkata Airport) for workshops.
BongRong: That is nearly 29 Kilometers! You guys have dedication and there is no doubt about that. But loads of people will have the same question as I am having right now. There is no secure future in Stunting. You might not earn a living through it. You might have to opt for a job. What are your thoughts about it?
Wazid: One of our inspirations is Kamil Kobędzowski from Poland; he is the best stunter in the world. He gets a lot of sponsors. He does shows every week probably. His future is based on this. We would like to do that in India. We are already getting shows. So, there is a future and we are already talking to sponsors.
Avijit: You have to study and do this as a sport. If you are that good – you will make a career out of it.
BongRong: We have been talking about uncomfortable issues. Let’s get somewhere better. Best moments of your life as a Stunter?
Wazid: Standing with Akhilesh Yadav in his house. I performed in a show organized by This Is It of Lucknow. I was personally rewarded by him. He himself is very much fond of cycling. He was very happy to see us doing our stunts on cycles. It was the greatest day of my life.
Avijit: My father never supported my stunting. But somewhere deep inside he loves me and to love me he has to love this sport because it’s a big part of who I am. I don’t talk to my father very much or very frequently. One day he rang me up. I was very surprised. I was thinking what I did wrong this time. He asked me if I am coming to Maidan for practice. I said yes. Then he told me that he is looking at my picture in Anandabazar Potrika. That was the happiest moment of my life.
My father called me after seeing me in a newspaper. My father personally called me.
Charles: When I was doing my first stunt show in St. Teresa’s Church near my house in Moulali. That day was my happiest day. My mother was there and from that day she supports me constantly. That was the happiest I have been in my life.
BongRong: Thank you for sharing that with our readers. So, what can Kolkata expect next from Infinity Riderzz?
Wazid: We are planning for a big and unique event. We are gathering money for it. So, you have to wait for the upcoming winter to know more about it.
BongRong: Thank you for your time riders. Our best wishes are with you and we hope you shine like bright stars in the national scene. Until next time then…
Team BongRong doesn’t promote unsafe stunting and requests all stunt riders to wear full protective gears.
– disclaimer –
Photos used in this article were provided by Infinity Riderzz. The copyright of each photograph stays with the individual photographer. If any photographer wants their name to be mentioned contact us immediately.