Calgary teen sets world record for longest 'manual' — a.k.a. bike wheelie

Calgary teen Max Ganakovsky performed a history-making stunt at the Airdrie Airpark Airport in August when he did the longest manual — similar to a "wheelie" — ever recorded.

Max Ganakovsky has broken all records for the longest manual, and earned a spot with Guinness

Watch this Alberta teen's Guinness World Record ride for longest bike manual

CBC News Calgary

4 months ago
Known more commonly as a wheelie, Calgary's Max Ganakovsky rode 648.27 metres on one wheel thanks in part to some Calgary and Airdrie businesses who helped last August. It was recognized officially by Guinness World Records recently. 2:18

Calgary teen Max Ganakovsky performed a history-making stunt at the Airdrie Airpark in August when he did the longest manual — similar to a "wheelie" — ever recorded.

Now, he's had the feat recognized by Guinness World Records.

"It feels surreal. Being a Guinness World Record holder has always been one of my dreams," Ganakovsky told the Calgary Homestretch. "And it feels great to have this dream come true."

A manual is the correct term for the trick. It's pretty similar to a wheelie, but with no extra pedalling allowed. In a wheelie, the rider can continue to pedal for that extra propulsion.

Ganakovsky managed to pull this off for 648.3 metres — that's nearly double the previous record of 339 metres.

He says it's all in the technique.

  • WATCH | Ganakovsky nearly doubled the record in his attempt to get in the Guinness World Records book. Watch his epic 'manual' in the video above.

"Before you take off, it's very crucial to get a lot of speed," Ganakovsky said.

"During my attempt, I think I accelerated for about 100 metres prior to lifting my front wheel off the ground. So firstly, the acceleration phase was very crucial. And it's also very important to take off, like pick up your front wheel on the right note so you're not crooked. So everything is centred. And yes, from there it's kind of autopilot. Just make sure to keep balance and, yeah, just not much to it, really."

Actually, based on the description, it sounds like there is a bit of skill and practice involved.

"It's obviously hard work. It's not something you do on the first try, and it took many years to master, but when you master, it's actually very enjoyable."

It's a Guinness record for Calgary teen Max Ganakovsky, a BMX racer who hopes to make it to the Olympics. Ganakovsky set a new record for the longest manual. (Igor Ganakovsky)

The BMX racer, who trains with Calgary BMX, says doing manuals is part of his sport.

"This manual skill is kind of very important for my sport, and I always do it every day when it's nice weather," he said.

"I go outside on my bike and do manuals every day. It has been a skill that I had for a long time and I just wanted to really showcase it to the world and prove that I'm actually good at it."

The plan was derailed in June, when Ganakovsky had a training accident that took him out of commission for two months.

"I originally was planning to do this in April, and that's when I applied for the record, and the plan was to train with as much knowledge as I had before I got the instructions from Guinness, to attempt it in June. But in June, I had an accident in training and I broke my collarbone in three pieces," Ganakovsky said. 

After surgery from Dr. Andrew Dodd, and recovery time, Ganakovsky started training again in August.

He made his record attempt on Aug. 27, on the runway at the Airdrie Airpark.

"Obviously, when you have a skill like this, it doesn't fully go away, but it was certainly a struggle to get back to it after taking so much time off," he said. "And I'm happy that I was able to bounce back from this injury and, yeah, and do my world record."

His dad, Igor Ganakovsky, says there was a whole team of people behind Max to help make the attempt, with many local businesses giving up resources to complete the task. 

"I can tell you right away that the total cost for this attempt could easily exceed $10,000, but because of our wonderful supporters and volunteers, the total cost of this event was well under $1,000," he said.

Global Raymac Surveys measured the distance, and both Calgary BMX and B-Line Indoor Bike Park were on hand to help out and witness the event.

"Only certified surveyors can be used to verify the distance travelled during the event and Global Raymac provided the state of the art equipment and personnel resources to comply with all of the record guidelines," said Igor in an email to CBC News.

"Airdrie Airpark airport had the runway that was compliant with the guidelines and the airport authorities had to shut it down for two hours during the event. It took a bit of work and co-ordination on their behalf to make this event even possible."

Igor also praised his son's sponsors for support over the years, including Pedalling Innovations, WLM designs, Box Components and Vista Projects Ltd., as well as Maximal Advantage Inc helping Max set up his bike for the ride.

"All in all, during [the] COVID-19 crisis situation those individuals and businesses not only dedicated their time and resources to help Max achieve his goal, but they also showed the true community spirit where one can ask for help and get it right away," he said.

After the successful attempt, slow motion video analysis showed the following details:

  • Pedalling cadence prior to crossing the starting line: 158 r.p.m.
  • Take-off speed prior to crossing starting line while performing manual: 55.4 km/h
  • Time from start to finish: 1 min. 53.2 sec.

Long term, Ganakovsky would like to compete at the Olympics as a BMX racer.

"My whole reasoning behind this world record attempt was to firstly prove myself to the world, what I'm capable of, but also it's a mini milestone in a big journey that I want to have in BMX racing in the long term," he said. 

"I want to go to the Olympics and represent Canada at the highest stage. And, you know, this record was also very important to me because I really wanted to help my club out and give them the support they need in order to become a world class club. And yeah, I think this record did just that."

With files from The Homestretch.


  • An earlier version of this article said the teen was from Airdrie. While the stunt was performed in Airdrie, the teen is from Calgary.
    Jan 19, 2021 7:54 PM MT


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