Wide majority of people use bicycles to more easily travel from one spot to another, to achieve incredible feat of endurance by traveling over extreme distances, or to become part of cycling sport that covers dozens and dozens of disciplines. However from the moment first bicycles appeared in 19th century France, some drivers elected to use them to achieve appealing comedic visual effect or stunt driving. Today, such feats of bicycle driving survive not only with street performers that want to catch the eye of the passing pedestrians, but also in circuses where performers dressed as clowns test the limits of what is possible to be done with bicycles that have two or in some cases one wheel.
Bicycles that are used by circus clowns range from ordinary bikes that are subjected to various visual driving routines (that often involve performers standing up, rotating or performing various tricks while they drive bike) to the more exoteric examples of bicycle design such as monocycle who have seating position elevated to much higher position. Bicycle tricks that are used by circus performers all around the world are done both on flat surface and high up in the air when bicycle is driven across the high-wires. As is usual for unicycles, most of them who are used in circus have single gear and no freewheeling. This gearing configuration is also often present for all other circus bikes.
Sizes of the bicycles are also highly varied, most is built to the normal specs, however small percentage of them are either very big or unrealistically small which adds to their visual and comedic appeal. Small bicycles are sometimes so small that circus clown can drive them in front of the audience (with much effort because very fast pedaling is needed for reaching even the ordinary walking speed) and then pick up the small bike and put it into his pocket.
Bicycles that are most used by circus performers are BMX bikes (commercial or slightly customized), unicycles, tall unicycles, tiny bicycles, bicycles with eccentric wheels (so called bucking bikes) and bicycles that can be easily disassembled into smaller parts.