Riding on the edge
Rebellion is in the DNA of stunt rider, Arunas ‘Aras’ GibieÅ¾a. Perhaps why when Gibieza got his first scooter, a Suzuki RG50, at the age of 10, he couldn't think of anything beyond performing stunts.
pics courtesy/Red Bull Content Pool
“I always wanted to do something that others can’t. I tried different sports including football, basketball and motor racing for a while, but it was while performing stunts that I always felt at home,” admits the 25-year-old, who recently won the 2014 Stunt Riding Eurocup.
Pics courtesy/ Red bull content pool
Born and brought up in Lithuania, a small European country, east of Denmark and Sweden, Gibieza is currently in India to judge a series of stunt riding competitions as well as to woo Indians with his stunt riding skills.
Though, currently in Mumbai as part of a Red Bull event, Gibieza would soon travel to Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Nagpur and several other cities across the country.
“I have never been to India before, but I have heard a lot about the stunt riders here. I am looking forward to having a great time here,” he says.
Seeing him perform stunts on his motorbike is no less than magic on wheels, whether he does a 360, a kangaroo landing, a switch back wheelie or the usual acrobatics of stunt riding.
Ask him what’s the hardest trick he has ever performed, and the Lithuanian answers: “Every new trick that you are training for is the hardest one. Once you master it, it gets easy, but then you must start learning another trick, because a year gone, and it’ll be old. It’s how this game is played. You keep on learning, improving and growing,” says Gibieza, adding, “I am learning the 360 right now. I have done it before, but I am training hard to perfect it. In the open, you can do it as many times as you want. But in competitions, you don’t get a second chance. You must do it perfectly on the first attempt itself,” he replies.
The stunt rider informs that while learning stunts, he has had several accidents in the past. He broke several of his bones including his wrist and leg, but despite all the pain, he feels that the ability to perform a new trick has been worth it. “It’s a dangerous sport, obviously, but now, I know what I can do. And, it’s an amazing feeling. Why I do it? Because I love stunt riding. I can’t sit on the couch and watch movies. I like to ride, and ride. But at the same time, safety is important. If I don’t feel good, I don’t do it. I take a break. To be a good stunt rider, you need to realise all these things,” he advises.
For someone in a dangerous profession as stunt riding, you would expect him to be a bada** in real life, but Gibieza seems quite the opposite. He doesn’t drink or smoke. And when it comes to relaxation, he prefers a cold-water shower, sauna or a spa session.
Apart from riding, his next favourite thing in the world is filming videos and working on his stunt clips. “When I am not riding I am filming things. In fact, I have a lot of footage of me performing stunts. It helps me practise better, and at the same time, if I do something new I manage to share it immediately with my fans. It’s not professional, but it’s what I do when I get some free time,” he shares. In fact, most of the videos on his YouTube page are shot and edited by Gibieza.
But at the same time Gibieza also stays away from watching videos of other stunt riders. “If you watch those, you would want attempt to repeat it, so I don’t watch videos of other stunt riders. Right now, I know all the tricks, and I want to create my own style,” he admits.
While his stunt-riding career remains top priority, Gibieza, also wants to popularise stunt riding in Lithuania. “I am working towards hosting a few competitions for heavier bikes as well as for scooters this year in Lithuania. It’s all in the plan, and I hope to achieve that,” signs off the young daredevil biker.
I ride a custom-made 2003-2004 model of Kawasaki Ninja. It’s the best bike for stunts, but unfortunately not available any more. The new bikes have too many electrical circuits, and customising them is a big issue. I use this bike because the Kawasaki engine is powerful. It gives you the right power and yet, is smooth. Apart from the engine we have retained the rear shock-absorbers and the wheels, but its frame is too soft. So, everything else in the bike is custom-made, right from the frame and the gas tank to the brake calipers and adapters. My bike weighs somewhere around 178 kg, which is the ideal weight for stunts. Actually, any weight around the original weight is ideal.
Gibieza’s guide to fitness
>> After waking up, I do stretches and warm-ups.
>> I practise a lot of CrossFit.
>> I play football, basketball and do a lot of running.
>> Not drinking and smoking is of utmost importance to stay in good shape.
>> For food, I eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
>> But most importantly, I believe, it’s essential to do all this in batches.
>> I ride a minimum of two to three hours, everyday, in the morning as well as in the evening, at least five days a week. But when I go for long tours, or if there’s too much of travelling involved, I practise at least eight to ten hours, daily.
>> Champion stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer has been a huge inspiration to Gibieza. “I met Chris once during an event. He gave me a DVD. It motivated and helped me a lot,” he recalls.