Cy­cling Celebrity

Trevor Bodogh looks back on 13 months with the Mon­treal-based com­pany

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Dan Dakin

Cirque du Soleil cy­clist Trevor Bodogh

The call came on a win­ter day in 2016. Trevor Bodogh was in. Af­ter four years of try­ing, the On­tario cy­clist’s dream of rid­ing for the most fa­mous cir­cus com­pany in the world was fi­nally be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

By Oc­to­ber of that year, Bodogh was rid­ing his tri­als bike onto the hal­lowed stage at Cirque du Soleil’s Mon­treal train­ing ground. “It felt like a dream to have my tires on a Cirque stage,” Bodogh said. “It felt that way ev­ery time I rode out to­ward the au­di­ence with the mu­sic thun­der­ing be­hind me.”

The 31-year-old re­cently wrapped up a year-long stint with Cirque’s lat­est tour­ing show, Volta, which fea­tured a va­ri­ety of ex­treme sports and played on a round stage un­der a mas­sive big top. Volta’s 2017 tour in­cluded stops in Mon­treal, Gatineau and Toronto be­fore head­ing off to Mi­ami in mid-de­cem­ber.

Un­for­tu­nately for Bodogh, his tri­als rid­ing was one of a hand­ful of acts that wasn’t se­lected to con­tinue with Volta as the pro­duc­ers shifted the show’s fo­cus be­fore launch­ing the U.S. tour. But for the St. Catharines na­tive, be­ing part of the in­tense world of Cirque du Soleil was an in­cred­i­ble learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It re­quires just about ev­ery hu­man skill you can sum­mon, from fear man­age­ment to in­jury preven­tion to body and sleep man­age­ment, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and prob­lem solv­ing,” he said, adding that work­ing with a large cast of artists with var­ied cul­tural back­grounds and per­son­al­ity types was also in­for­ma­tive. “Ba­si­cally, you’re ready for any­thing af­ter Cirque life.”

Lead­ing up to the Volta de­but in early 2017, Bodogh worked with a team of ac­ro­batic and artis­tic co-or­di­na­tors to fine-tune his one-man, five-minute tri­als rid­ing act. As the show’s year-long run went on, his act evolved as he added new el­e­ments to the per­for­mance. Dur­ing his seg­ment, Bodogh made use of both the flat stage and a large hy­draulic three-level plat­form that rose up from the stage’s centre.

While the in­di­vid­ual acts aren’t par­tic­u­larly long, the amount of train­ing and prepa­ra­tion that takes place be­fore each show is in­tense. Bodogh would typ­i­cally ar­rive at the Cirque big top shortly af­ter lunch each day for an earlyafter­noon train­ing ses­sion on the main stage. For an 8 p.m. show, the per­form­ers eat at 5 p.m., start makeup by 6 p.m. and cos­tume and stretch­ing by 7 p.m. The show is done by just af­ter 10 p.m., and Bodogh ar­rives back home by 11:30 p.m.

The tri­als bike Bodogh rides is a Crewk­erz. He has both a pri­mary and a backup al­ways ready to go. “Should any­thing hap­pen on stage like a flat tire or bro­ken chain, you run to the side stage and grab the spare from a coach stand­ing by,” he said.

As for what comes next, Bodogh said he’ll likely go back to do­ing what he had been do­ing be­fore Cirque du Soleil came call­ing: us­ing his skills on the bike to teach life lessons.

Af­ter hon­ing his skills on the streets of the Ni­a­gara re­gion, Bodogh was en­cour­aged and sup­ported by friends, fam­ily and spon­sors to turn his hobby into a pro­fes­sion. He started putting on demon­stra­tions at a lo­cal bike shop, high schools and col­leges “to tar­get the stu­dents who felt like me at that life stage: unin­spired, un­mo­ti­vated, de­tached or un­aware of the words ‘pas­sion, prac­tice and per­se­ver­ance.’”

“Tri­als bik­ing is one of the most ful­fill­ing ways to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a bi­cy­cle be­cause you don’t sim­ply get on and start rid­ing. There are hun­dreds of hours ded­i­cated to learn­ing,” said Bodogh, who also put on demo rides at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Bike Show for six years. “It’s a com­plete men­tal and phys­i­cal in­vest­ment. You deal with ex­treme risk, which helps break down other bar­ri­ers in life.”

In ad­di­tion to re­sum­ing his demo rides, Bodogh wants to share his bike-han­dling skills with the larger moun­tain bike com­mu­nity to help peo­ple have more fun on the bike and in­crease their com­pet­i­tive skills. “The move­ments seem mes­mer­iz­ing and im­pos­si­ble to some, but they’re com­pletely teach­able,” Bodogh said. “Once you start learn­ing one trick, it feeds into the next, which gives the rider lim­it­less op­tions for fun while rid­ing, and in­creased lev­els of safety and bike han­dling.”

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