In the fall, Kathrin Igel traveled to California to integrate artistic cycling into the circus schools in San Diego and San Francisco. While training in San Diego had already begun with an energetic workshop, preparations were still underway in San Francisco.
At the San Diego Circus Center, the discipline of “Acrobatic Bikes” is now part of the program. Circus director Jean-Luc Martin had been interested in establishing a cycling artist program at his school for quite some time. In the fall of 2023, the long-planned project became a reality. Kathrin Igel, with a few bikes in tow, traveled to beautiful California to set the starting point for the training on-site. “Some bikes were already sent there in advance, so now there are 5 bikes available,” she excitedly recounts the project’s launch. Fourteen interested artists participated in the camp week, with some showing exceptional dedication and interest. Among them was 14-year-old Tennyson, who mastered the handlebar seat stand in just 2 days and was particularly enthusiastic about artistic cycling. “Tennyson aims to make the move to the National Circus School in Montreal (Canada) after completing her schooling. There, she could continue with artistic cycling, which would be fantastic,” hopes Kathrin Igel.
The school director expressed great satisfaction and plans to continue in close collaboration with Kathrin Igel and also in cooperation with the Montreal Circus School. Canadian coach Luc Tremblay and Jean-Luc Martin, who previously worked together as artists, already conduct joint online training sessions at their respective schools. Artistic cycling is now integrated, ensuring sustainable support for San Diego.
Lisa Hattemer’s Perspective on San Francisco
When the director of the circus school in San Francisco find out that Kathrin Igel would be in California in the fall, she contacted her and asked her to stop by on her journey. Juliana Neves has recently taken on the responsibility for the large school, which hosts over 500 artists and around 40 trainers. Currently gaining insight into her extensive responsibilities, Juliana is determined to provide training in artistic cycling for the artists.
Although the school offers perfect conditions, this option has not been available until now. Chinese coach Yingying Chao is employed there, primarily training unicyclists. The school’s basement is filled with old artist bikes, and the Chinese coach enthusiastically told Kathrin Igel that she was the first Chinese athlete at an Artistic Cycling World Championship. Kathrin, impressed by her past skills and knowledge, is optimistic, stating, “Here too, the opportunity will be given to engage in artistic cycling.” Especially since the 2016 world champion, Lisa Hattemer, is currently working in San José nearby and has agreed to keep an eye on developments on-site.