VIDEO: Death-defying mountain descent, backwards

Norwegian takes on slippery 10% open mountain road at 50mph, barely able to reach the brakes.

by Sarah Barth   December 9, 2013  

Eskil Ronningsbakken.png

Most people find steep, winding mountain descents bum-clenching enough as it is. Not Eskil Ronningsbakken.


The daredevil Norwegian cyclist has made a film of his 50mph descent of Trollstigen, a 10% gradient serpentine mountain road in Norway.

In the extraordinary video, filmed from helmet cal, support car and helicopter, Eskil encounters cars and hairpin bends, all the while struggling to perch backwards on his saddle in wet and slippery conditions.

But of course, Eskil is a pretty extraordinary stuntman, as these photos of his other death-defying feats prove.

And at the bottom, what’s left to do? Go back up of course - backwards.

Still no record-breaker

Didn't know backwards cycling was a 'thing'? Earlier this year, we reported how Australian Andrew Hellinga cycled 337km in 24 hours, backwards - in the process breaking the Guinness World Records for the longest distance cycled backwards as well as the longest distance cycled backwards in 24 hours; he is waiting for confirmation of both records.

Hellinga’s riding style, sat atop the handlebars and facing backwards, was efficient enough to allow him to break the original 24-hour record of 180km in a short 10 hours and 15 minutes.

Following a short break to take in his supporters’ congratulations, the Aussie continued his journey to achieve his target of 333km.

Going on to beat that target by 4km, Hellinga described how his body responded to 24 hours on the handlebars: “My bottom was screaming out “Ouch”! And my legs just groaned when I moved them.”

26 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Is there a link to the video?

posted by Pisiform [52 posts]
9th December 2013 - 8:42

6 Likes

sorry, video should be there now Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7444 posts]
9th December 2013 - 8:51

12 Likes

It's impressive, I wouldn't do it but, it is speeded up in parts, isn't it?

posted by bendertherobot [326 posts]
9th December 2013 - 9:23

12 Likes

It's a bit jerky because of the way it's filmed but doesnt look sped up to me.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1020 posts]
9th December 2013 - 9:38

6 Likes

Erk!

Falls plumb within the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" category for me.

Very clever.

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [202 posts]
9th December 2013 - 10:00

9 Likes

I've been up Trollstigen..in a coach mind...pretty frightening doing it that way let alone coming down backwards

djc1245

posted by djc1245 [21 posts]
9th December 2013 - 10:10

7 Likes

Safe as anything. He was wearing a helmet and hi viz, and stopped at all the red lights.

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [174 posts]
9th December 2013 - 10:18

13 Likes

bendertherobot wrote:
It's impressive, I wouldn't do it but, it is speeded up in parts, isn't it?

Yeah, there is one bend where the cornering is sped up. I'm not sure he did 50mph either. I'd like to see the evidence of that on a mountain bike, without turning the cranks. When I do 50mph on my racer, I have to be cranking it and I'm no slouch either.

All said very impressive and butt clenchingly scary. Especially the amount of wobble he starts out with. I thought his buddy was going to knock him off!

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1175 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:02

7 Likes

Edgeley wrote:
Safe as anything. He was wearing a helmet and hi viz, and stopped at all the red lights.

I was thinking about that, if he fell he would be spun backwards onto his back, which is actually a very strong protection system, so as long as he didn't fly over the edge of the barriers, or hit his head then it maybe safer than going down on your from (those are two big 'but's admittedly).

I also wonder about the change in dynamics for breaking and turning. More weight over the front wheel, less on the back - may make traction on cornering a bit better, but you'd want to practise the braking before you hit a hairpin.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1175 posts]
9th December 2013 - 11:05

8 Likes

That's just ridiculous!

backflipbedlem's picture

posted by backflipbedlem [816 posts]
9th December 2013 - 13:02

10 Likes

It also strikes me that, technically, he's cycling forward but only facing backward. He should try cycling backward, that would be impressive.

posted by bendertherobot [326 posts]
9th December 2013 - 13:09

8 Likes

Sarah Barth wrote:
It's a bit jerky because of the way it's filmed but doesnt look sped up to me.

The way it's filmed? At 1 minute in 1080p it's clearly sped up.

posted by bendertherobot [326 posts]
9th December 2013 - 13:10

11 Likes

TAWATTTTTTTT

posted by gareth2510 [139 posts]
9th December 2013 - 14:13

12 Likes

Mad as a fish....and the point.

We're all entitled to a reasonable opinion!

posted by Guyz2010 [289 posts]
9th December 2013 - 14:16

12 Likes

80kph, my arse.

posted by Mr. Rossi [37 posts]
9th December 2013 - 14:19

7 Likes

It doesnt look as impressive if you drop the music from Benny Hill over the top of the clip.

posted by Some Fella [796 posts]
9th December 2013 - 15:07

13 Likes

"I think there's only 1 thing missing" he says, yes mate your brain!

KEVIN

posted by kairey1964 [13 posts]
9th December 2013 - 15:34

5 Likes

50kph maybe, but 50mph in that position on a mtb? Rolling On The Floor

posted by tomr [2 posts]
9th December 2013 - 18:47

9 Likes

Why?
Almost as brainless as the scientists in Prometheus.

nice road



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1356 posts]
9th December 2013 - 20:02

6 Likes

Impressive and crazy, but not 50mph!

--
DrD

posted by DoctorDee [7 posts]
9th December 2013 - 20:21

5 Likes

Off his box, but funny nonetheless.

My wife wouldn't watch it; said it was too scary. what have I married...

posted by Owen Rogers [32 posts]
9th December 2013 - 21:13

5 Likes

At last a valid reason for disc brakes

noobrakes

posted by zzk [16 posts]
9th December 2013 - 22:27

4 Likes

Not bad until you see Danny McAskill going backwards downhill just on his front wheel. Road Bike Party 2 has landed Big Grin

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [628 posts]
10th December 2013 - 16:05

5 Likes

Aye, rendered totally pointless by Danny!

posted by bendertherobot [326 posts]
10th December 2013 - 17:33

2 Likes

This guy has got to be off his tiny head,albeit wearing a helmet. What fat good would it do if he had gone over the edge?
His weight distribution is all on the front forks and wheel,that has surely got to make the bike more unstable than a drunk on a high wire.

Your ears are your rear end defenders,don't clutter them and stay safe.
Clutter them and possibly stay in hospital,or worse still!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TheCyclingRooster's picture

posted by TheCyclingRooster [15 posts]
10th December 2013 - 22:54

4 Likes

[[[[ Oh yeah? I bet he couldn't do that without a bike...
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [296 posts]
11th December 2013 - 19:06

2 Likes