My fellow editors, in one of their more delusional stunts, want me to learn one of Tim Knoll’s bicycle tricks. Never mind that he’s mastered a daredevil brand of rolling gymnastic grace, while I’ve mastered only the grace of a circus clown. And never mind that more than 6 million YouTubers have watched his Baryshnikov-on-a-bike exploits, or that he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered while practicing new ones.
So I meet the 28-year-old one evening at Estabrook Skatepark, the open-air studio where he hones his craft. And being a team player, I ask if I could realize one of his moves in a day. And being the cordial type, he doesn’t laugh in my face, but politely says, “The answer is no.” OK, but let’s say I was hypothetically dedicated to learning the easiest one. “Honestly, it’s the most popular trick, where I go underneath the semitrailers,” he says. “That’s the least-technical. An easy position.” Yeah, real easy. Just release the handlebars, Gumby your body into the limbo posture and glide underneath the steel hulks, your face inches from instant rhinoplasty. “It’s the art of movement, really, just through different means,” Knoll says. “I’m kind of out there on the fringes.” And it’s no place for us clowns.