Record-breaking Bicycle Ride Along A Wire Strung 135ft In The Air
Pedal power: Daredevil highwire cyclist Nik Wallenda braves the tightrope with no safety net to make his world record
Taking urban bicycling to a new level, Nik Wallenda slowly pedaled among the city's morning commuters - about 135 feet above the street.His trek spanned 235 feet along a wire suspended between a crane and the roof of the Prudential Center arena. It set a world record for the longest bicycle passage on a wire without a safety net.
Wallenda is a seventh-generation member of a circus family that's gained fame as both 'The Flying Wallendas' and 'The Great Wallendas'. 'I never expected to see something like this in Newark because just nothing ever came here,' said Makhan Taylor, 27, a Newark native.
Don't look down: The stuntman sets off above a car park in the New Jersey city of Newark
Wallenda, who performs in the circus' Bellobration show, walked the wire across Mulberry Street and returned via bicycle to set a mark with Guinness World Records.The stunt featured several frightening moments that left onlookers gasping, including a cell phone call placed halfway through the walk.'He's getting a hot stock tip,' quipped Todd Andrews, 44.
Wallenda was actually calling NBC's "Today" Show, which televised the stunt live.The 29-year-old daredevil said he ran into several unscripted challenges, which included the rear rim on his tireless bicycle slipping toward the end of the ride as the wire angled upward to the arena's roof.
Footsteps: Nik Wallenda's father, Karl performs a si,ilar stunt close to Tower Bridge in London in 1976
A set of brackets securing stabilizer wires to the main cable were too thick and also caused problems for him.'They were like speed bumps,' said Wallenda, who hopes to set another record by traversing the Grand Canyon on a high wire next year.
Wallenda said he realised how much Newark had riding on his success and held the stunt here partly to draw attention to the progress being made by the Booker administration. 'That was one of the reasons I chose this area,' Wallenda says. 'It's a wonderful area. It's been cleaned up.'
Success: Wallenda with his wife, Erendira, and his children, Yanni, 10, right, Evita, 5, left, and Amadaos, 7, centre, after completing the stunt
His daredevil feat marks the return of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to Newark after a 52-year absence.Newark Mayor Cory Booker stood in front of a crowd of more than 400 onlookers who gaped at Wallenda's performance. Allowing the attention-getting feat to be performed above downtown during the morning commute is the latest gamble for the 39-year-old Booker, who spent nights in an RV parked at some of Newark's most dangerous street corners early in his political career to highlight neglected neighborhoods.
'We're doing everything we can to lift the city and it would have been tragic if he had fallen,' Booker said.