After six decades, Berlin's legendary headstanding biker cops hang up their helmets

30.11.2013 14:05

MAINZ, Germany -- After nearly 60
years of performing spectacular stunts,
police officers from Berlin's record-
holding motorbike display team are
being forced to hang up their tight
green leather uniforms.
The biker cops were forced to
discontinue their dazzling
performances -- which often included
headstands and multiple riders on the
same motorcycle -- because of a lack
of funding.
The news made the front page of Be
BZ tabloid, which featured the head
"It's over. After 59 years, police no l
allowed to stand on heads."
"The bikes, the additional equipment
and the uniforms have come to age
and an investment of nearly 150,000
euro (around $200,000) would be
needed immediately," Berlin police
spokesman Stefan Redlich said. "We
need to invest any available money in
the security of our city and the daily
police duties. It would be difficult to
justify the high spending for a display
The news made the front page of
Berlin's BZ tabloid, which ran the
headline: "It's over. After 59 years,
police no longer allowed to stand on
The 32-member group, which includes
several female officers, "survived the
Cold War and the fall of the wall," the
Berlin newspaper noted.
"Back in the 1950s and 1960s
motorbike and car stunts fascinated
crowds and helped us to get young
people interested in police work,"
Redlic added. "Today, it does not have
the same public-relations effect."
Among the artistic repertoire were
daring stunts such as "the eight-man-
headstand-pyramid," "the rotor," "the
mill," and "the big ladder," which
often included dozens of police
officers performing acrobatic stunts on
their police motorcycles.
One of the group's main attractions
and a highlight in night-time
performances was a so-called
"illuminated parade drive."
"Our colleagues used to perform at so-
called police sports meetings that filled
Berlin's Olympic Stadium and had
several gigs a year in Germany and
abroad," Redlich recalled. "But this
year, they only had one public
Over the years, the globetrotting
German amateur acrobats showed
their special police skills in countries
including the United States, Japan,
South Africa and Sweden.
Back in 1994, the display team set up
its first world record while appearing
on a popular German TV show called
"Wanna Bet." At the time, 83 men held
onto each other on nine motorcycles.
Four years later, the display team set
another record, when it performed
with 46 men and four women on just
one motorcycle.
"It is making us all very sad," Georg
Franke, an 80-year-old former officer
who headed the group since 1957,
told NBC News. "We have already been
disbanded, returned our uniforms and
as far as I know the motorbikes will
later be auctioned off."