Max Poulin, the Bicycle Acrobat

Jerry Tremblay balancing on a bike

Jerry Tremblay during a performance. Photo by Stephan Hoyer, used with permission.

Maxime Poulin aka Jerry Tremblay is a Montreal-based performer who specializes in performing comedy and acrobatic feats on his bicycles.  Our connection to him: He rides with a Monkey Light on his custom-made bike during his shows!  He has been performing professionally as a trick-cycler for the last 7 years.  He often performs with $hantalle Taylor as Jerry Tremblay for a funny show that involves bikes, juggling, a tattoo of “Tattoo”, hula hoops, and a fluffy dog.  He was recently featured on the German show, Das Supertalent.

We asked him a few questions about his performances.  Read on to learn more.


MonkeyLectric: You’ve been performing with a bike since you were fairly young. How old were you?
Max: I’ve started trick cycling at the age of 19 during my circus formation at the National Circus School of Montréal. But, since a very young age, I’ve always been on a bike or doing other extreme sports. Because of all that background, when I started riding a bike, I’ve improved very quickly.


MonkeyLectric: Why such a unique type of performance?
Max: I would describe my performance as a piece. During my number, the idea is not to only show tricks, but to put meaning behind every one of them. The most important thing for me is that the tricks support the narrative line of the number and character.
The good thing is everybody has a bicycle, has ridden a bicycle or has seen people riding a bicycle. The bicycle has a lot of established meanings in the mind of the audience. On stage, I intend to play with those meanings and turn them into an entertaining mixture of impressive skills, theater and comedy.


MonkeyLectric: What were some of the first tricks that you learned?
Max: I’m quite a daredevil, when I started riding a bicycle, my very first goal was to stand on the bike handlebar and the seat. My coach refused to teach it to me because he said I wasn’t yet ready to learn that trick. My corky answer was: ”well, look at me, I’m gonna learn it alone then”. So I did.  Shortly after, after many falls, I was standing on the bike.


MonkeyLectric: Tell us about Jerry Tremblay!
Max: I’ve created this character 7 years ago. This character is inspired from all the “wannabes” that I saw, from all the absurdity that people can do to impress others and to prove themselves. With this character I’m aiming to be awkward and tacky. Also, an artistic guideline that is very important to me is subtlety. I intend to stay on a line where the audience is wondering: ”Is he real? is it an actor playing a character? Can I laugh?”


MonkeyLectric: Some of us have trouble doing a wheelie or a track stand. I’d love to be able to be able to easily track stand at a traffic intersection. Do you have any general tips for doing so?

Max:

Well, by writing is it a bit hard to explain. Give me a session with you and you’ll be able to do it.

Here’s anyway some general guidelines for those with a fixed-gear bike:
– Your front wheel has to be at a 45 degree angle, left or right doesn’t matter.
– Then with your pedals, by going backward and forward, you’ll be able to search for your left and right balance.
– Only search your balance with the pedal, not with your upper body.
– Now, do that for many hours! hehe! No secret, practice is the answer.


MonkeyLectric: What do your audiences find most surprising about your performances?
Max: The mixture in between high tricks on the bike and theater.
Funny fact, I have a special made bike to do acrobatics, every parts of the bike are quite special… but one of the questions that I receive the most is always “what that thing in your back wheel?”


Thanks for chatting, Max!

To learn more about Max visit his website: http://www.maxpoulin.com/

visit @jerry_tremblay on Instagram, check out his Facebook page, and watch more videos on his YouTube channel!