Aaron Colton returns to downtown Minneapolis to tear up the skyway
Watch Aaron Colton return home and tear up some of his childhood stomping grounds to bring things full circle.
It’s no surprise that a kid who, at age two, learned how to ride a Yamaha PW50 and cut his teeth riding BMX and mountain bikes grew into an adult with an affinity for all things two wheels.
Although renowned freestyle rider and technical king Aaron Colton left the Midwest years ago to chase his moto dreams in climates more suitable for year-round outdoor riding, frigid and snowy Minnesota will always be the place that formed him. Hailing from Shakopee, MN, about 30 minutes outside of downtown Minneapolis, some of his fondest childhood memories brought him to the area for school field trips to explore the entertainment, food, architecture, and local history. One feature that always enamored him was the second-story fishbowl-like tunnel system that spiderwebs through downtown. Not only is the glass-paneled nine-and-a-half mile stretch the world’s most extensive skyway system, but it also allows users to traverse over 80 city blocks without stepping foot outside. When Red Bull approached him with an opportunity to return home and tear up some of his childhood stomping grounds – specifically his beloved childhood skyway – he jumped at the opportunity to bring things full circle.
A well-rounded rider who has mastered a myriad of disciplines such as Supermoto, Motocross, Flat Track and Pro Road Racing, and WORCS, Aaron knows his way around a variety of machines. From iconic two-stroke project transformations to roaring-loud race-ready rebuilds, he’s made a habit of sharing how he adapts his bikes to suit his needs. In 2021 to prepare for precise indoor riding, he reimagined the capabilities of an Alta Redshift to accommodate his rip through the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. The enduro bike got a huge makeover to include components found on his freestyle bikes to create a fully custom 242-lb rig that is a cross between a supermoto and technical bike, perfect for power and precise handling. Additionally, opting for an electric instead of a combustion-driven bike allows for access to more indoor spaces with less noise and no exhaust – perfect for something like zipping around downtown Minneapolis’ human-sized hamster-tubelike skyway system.
He approached his ride like a skate session with a few locations in mind to tear up on the Alta and began by sailing through City Center. After popping some wheelies and nimbly balancing on the tail of his saddle, Aaron made his way to Gaviidae Plaza where he played with some escalators – and physics – to match the speed of the moving stairs that call up images of Michael Jackson’s famous Moonwalk. Once he reoriented himself, he cruised to Minnesota's tallest building, the IDS tower. When he reached Crystal Court, it was time to demonstrate a slew of tricks that more than exemplified his precise bike handling skills. Curious onlookers recorded video and observed a master at work while he pulled off moves like smooth 180 stoppies and graceful, ballet-like single-foot podiums. After another zip through the skyway corridors, he emerged at Orchestra Hall.
Orchestra Hall is a location that holds memories for Aaron and is a place he recalls field trips to as a child. He remembers one such visit where a conductor took a crisp dollar bill from his wallet and pulled both ends to snap it to emit a sharp, popping noise to demonstrate the finely tuned acoustics of the space. No better place, then, to ride such a finely-tuned motorcycle as the customized Alta. As Aaron elegantly balanced and swooped across the glowing wooden boards, he had an opportunity to really hear the mechanics of the machine he was riding. A symphony of sounds presented themselves, from the creaking of the boards below him, the sound of the chain spinning, the cool, metallic hiss of brake pads skimming the rotors, and the whoosh of his suspension at work. Music to the ears of any rider, no doubt.
For the final leg of his skyway mission, Aaron really opened things up. On his last tear across the glassed-in labyrinth, he blasted from Orchestra Hall to Target Center’s basketball courts at the bike’s max speed of 74 miles per hour. After being passed a basketball on-bike, Aaron sunk an assisted one-hand shot – all net. With some celebrating and a few victorious laps around the arena, his skyway tour came to an end. If this trip back home showed anything, it’s that Minnesota is always happy to claim him, and there seemed to be a mutual pride as Aaron once again made his mark in the motorcycle world while showing off some of the wonders of his home state in the process.