When you fly through the air 50 feet up with a pair of ice skates strapped to your feet, it’s good to know when you come back to earth, your bike will be there to ground you. Riding her VanMoof X3 gives nomadic performer Angela Kim time to breathe and reflect in her otherwise action-packed life in New York City. Her adrenaline-fuelled lifestyle is one that’s perfectly suited to biking in one of the world’s most vibrant, bustling metropolises – so of course, we wanted to know more.
“I started as a competitive figure skater, and I did it professionally for several years. And then I had this crazy idea to combine both figure skating and my acrobatic work,” Angela explains, “there are really no boundaries because it’s never really been done.” As a former aerialist for Cirque Du Soleil, Angela thrives off the creative freedom that stems from inventing and evolving an art which combines her unique skill set herself. It’s not been an easy ride. But in the long run, the challenges are what pushes and focusses Angela to be better at what she does everyday: “I love challenges. I love the grit and the effort it takes to do something; the process of failing over and over. When you finally get something, you get this magical feeling of accomplishment.”
“There’s so much distraction and noise and you’re always doing a million things at once. If I’m stressed out or I just need time to think, I get on my bike and I’m just super present. That’s something that I struggle to find elsewhere.”
And it’s not just about the intricacy of the skills and strength that’s required to ace each trick, spin, and turn while Angela’s up on the ropes. When you see the heights from which Angela performs, it’s stomach-lurching stuff. But it’s when the stakes are at their highest that she’s in her element: “I love that even when my adrenaline is pumping, I have this deep calmness when I’m 50 feet in the air. I know that I’m in control.” Unable to take her eye off the ball for even a second creates a sense of concentrated calm: “It’s like this zen intensity – it’s hard to explain,” she laughs.
So, when Angela’s back down below the sky-scrapers of Manhattan, what is it about riding that she finds so compelling? Perhaps ironically for an aerial acrobat, it’s a bike ride’s grounding quality. “I love biking because it puts me in that meditative state of creativity,” she explains: “I do a lot of reflection on my bike – I have a lot of those aha moments.” And riding her VanMoof is the perfect juxtaposition to the fast-paced, stimulating life of a New Yorker: “There’s so much distraction and noise and you’re always doing a million things at once. If I’m stressed out or I just need time to think, I get on my bike and I’m just super present. That’s something that I struggle to find elsewhere.”
“I love that even when my adrenaline is pumping, I have this deep calmness when I’m 50 feet in the air.”
According to Angela, the next step of her life is set to be about giving back: “I love coaching and being able to take all my experiences and share it with my students,” she tells us. “It’s always been about me and me being in the limelight, so to now be able to share that with others and inspire others is really important.” Angela hasn’t just found a family within her circle of circus performers, acrobats, and ice skaters. Biking’s opened up a whole new community between riders. And if you ride, you’ll know just what we mean.