It’s the ultimate balancing act – travelling upside-down on a bicycle 1,000 metres above an icy Norwegian fjord, with just a weight dangling below him for stability.
This is the latest jaw-dropping trick from extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken, who enjoys nothing more than precariously perching on the edge of a clifftop or walking on a tightrope between two hot-air balloons.
The 29-year-old with a head for heights describes himself as an ‘ educated balancing performer ‘ , and has been honing his death-defying skills since the age of five, with circus troupes around the globe.
Naked save for a skin-coloured thong, Eskil rides a bike – backwards and upside down – 1000m over a Norwegian fjord. Strong, cold winds added to the extreme nature of the stunt
Eskil says of his feats: ‘ What I do, is draw a picture with vulnerable human beings and their bodies, in the surrounding of mother earth. ‘
Seeing his balancing acts as expressions of art and not stunts, Norwegian Eskil has even bigger plans for the future.
He says: ‘ I dream of balancing on the top of the Burj in Dubai , the tallest building in the world. ‘
Eskil sees his balancing acts as expressions of art and not stunts, and is currently working with a group of 50 like-minded performers in Nairobi in Kenya . No fjords there to criss-cross just ‘ intimate ‘ work balancing on chairs and bicycles.
‘A stunt is something you see in movies, often done with mattresses safety lines or nets, ‘ says Eskil.
‘What I do, is draw a picture with vulnerable human beings and their bodies, in the surrounding of mother earth.
‘That ‘ s the balance between life and death, and that is where life is. ‘
Regardless of his particular philosophy, Eskil has performed and produced feats of endurance that seem to be super-human.
In March of 2007, he managed to balance on a single ice cube that measured 60cm by 35cm, support ed on each end only by two ropes and suspended almost 1000ft above a glacier in a Norwegian national park.
In the same year in his home country, he positioned himself upside down and did a handstand on a trapeze bar placed under a hot air balloon.
‘I have performed professionally for almost 14 years now, so it ‘ s hard to compare one piece to another, ‘ says Eskil about his antics.
‘Biking upside down on a wire 1000m above the Norwegian fjords in fresh biting wind still stays as one of the most exciting moments of life. ‘
Seeing an Indian yogi on television serenely balancing inspired the younger Eskil to devote his life to his precise art.
Again back in a skin-tight leotard and surrounded by mist, Eskil balances on a chair, on a pole, on a rock wedged between two cliff faces
‘Living in the countryside of Norway was filled with inspiration, ‘ says Eskil about the trees and mountains of his homeland.
‘My mother would be screaming at me to come down all the time, but my dad would be saying “Wait a minute, let me take a picture first!”
‘I know it sounds crazy, but you learn a lot from that kind of play you learn to respect the height and danger. ‘
Literally running away when he was 18 to join the circus, Eskil perfected his craft under the expert tutelage of Peter Jakob, a trainer with the Moscow State Circus.
Honing his natural talents over the past 11 years, Eskil has now reached a level of athletic excellence mixed with spiritual calm.
However, he is acutely aware of the risks he takes with his balancing.
In this stunt the daredevil performs a handstand over a dramatic drop bizarrely as part of a Norwegian TV campaign about risk-taking
He added: ‘ I feel fear, of course I do, we are humans and we have a natural sense of self-preservation.
‘However, I must control that before I undertake any new project because that would lead to lethal mistakes.
‘If I ever find myself totally fearless then that is when I will stop what I am doing. ‘
Next up on Eskil ‘ s dream list of performance feats is the Burj hotel in Dubai which he feels will top his previous achievements.
‘I would dream of balancing on the top of the Burj in Dubai , the tallest building in the world. ‘
Don ‘ t look down: Eskil Ronningsbakken strikes a pose as he balances on a penny farthing