Bicycle stunt show includes valuable message
About 650 Century Elementary students roared their approval Tuesday morning as Rich Wieber, a professional bike stunt rider from St. Paul, performed tricks in the gym.
Wieber delivered a message of perseverance, anti-bullying and goal-setting. In the afternoon, he met with about 500 Century Middle School students.
Over the past 15 years, Wieber has performed at hundreds of schools, SeaWorld, Mall of America and NBA halftimes.
"Bike riding is fun. It's great for exercise. It's great for the environment. It's a great way to get places," Wieber said, offering bike safety tips.
The bike stunts "took a very long time" to master, he warned students.
"I've been doing tricks on bicycles for over 20 years and I've never learned any of my tricks on the first try. I haven't learned any of them in one day. They take months and months and years of practice, so please remember that."
Wieber demonstrated "freestyle, flatland-style tricks" at Century School, explaining the specialized equipment on his bicycle motocross (BMX).
He urged students to set goals, believe in themselves and doggedly practice.
"When you said a goal, the only way to make it happen is to have a plan," Wieber said. "Don't give up and work hard. It'll happen."
At the conclusion of his 40-minute presentation, Wieber jumped his bike over two teachers. The move is called "The Bunny Hop," but Wieber said it should be called "Leap of Faith." He noted that, with a ramp, he can jump 14 feet. His personal record is jumping over a dozen people.
Century Elementary School Interventionist Casey Swenson discovered Wieber while researching ideas for a "fun, good type of message" for a school assembly.
"We have a lot of assemblies. Normally, they're plays," she said. "I thought this would kind of more exciting and get the kids more hyped up and involved."