On yer Skibike!

Bike and Ski at the same time!

The winter sport of skibiking, or skibobbing as it is also known, has been around since the 1950’s. A skibike is quite literally a bike with skis instead of wheels. Most of the other normal features of a bike have also been removed, such as the pedals, chain and brakes. Skibikes tend to be ridden down hill only and let’s face it, only a wuss uses brakes! Skibikes do have suspension however!

The first skibike / skibob design was patented in 1892 by an American, Mr J. Stevens. It was not until the 1940’s, when a German and Austrian Engineers, Georg. Gfäller and Engelbert Brenter invented skibike type contraptions which were combined to form the basis for the modern skibike design.

A ski bike has no wheels, they have been replaced by skis!
A ski bike has no wheels, they have been replaced by skis! Source: Flickr by richardmasoner.

Skibiking as a winter sport gained popularity during the 1950’s and 1960’s and it also became a common method of winter transport for people living in the Austrian and Swiss Alps.

A Skibike rider wears normal ski wear. There is a lot of snow spray when skibiking, much more than for normal skiing, so ski wear with a high level of waterproofing is best. A skibike rider also has a short pair of foot skis to assist with their balance.

Skibike Racing and Events

Many Skibiking events take place in Europe, such as the World Cup and the World Championship. The races are similar to normal Alpine ski events and include Slalom, Giant Slalom, Parallel Slalom, Super-G and Downhill.

The Elite World Championships will be held in Kichberg, Austria, from 25th to 29th of January 2010. Later in the year the Senior and Junior World Championships will be taking place. They will be from 24th to 28th February, in Gaal, Austria.

UK Skibiking Team

The sport of skibiking is not well known in the UK, because of the small numbers involved and a lack of continuity, support and sponsorship. Despite this UK skibikers have performed well in international skibiking events. Nic Platt is the current British skibiking champion. Other current skibikers in the British team include Tim Platt, Harry Dearden, India Muirhead, Nic Jones and Kenny Campbell.

Senior members of the British team include former British Champion Denis Osbaldeston, Richard Platt, Darren Walker, Alistair Platt, Kevin Rochfort and Tom Rogers.

Other famous UK skibikers include Anne White (1988 Senior World Champion 1988, World slalom Champion 1989) and Tony Marsh (European Champion 1982).

More Information about past and present British teams teams can be found at http://www.skibikeracing.co.uk.

Sit-Skiing for Rehabilitation

A variation of the skibike is the sit-ski. The sit has a chair mounted on main central ski. The skier is seated in the chair and then has hand held stabilising skis mounted on the end of poles. This is demonstrated in the YouTube video embedded below.

One charity support group which uses skibikes and sit-skis to help with rehabilitation of amputees is BLESMA, theBritish Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association.

[BLESMA] is the charity that directly supports all our service men and women who lose limbs, the use of limbs or eyes or the sight of an eye in the service of our country and we are with them all whenever we are needed for the rest of their lives.

BLESMA have helped to provide rehabilitation to service personnel through many different adventure activities. Ski Spectacular events are held in the at Breckenridge, Colorado, USA, by the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports USA. Members of BLESMA were given 6 days of tuition is given in snowboarding, mono skiing and three track skiing. Outdoor activities like sit-skiing help amputees to realise that there is life after amputation.


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