Kārlis Ploks, the Trick Master

Kārlis Ploks – triku karalis uz motocikla

Kārlis Ploks – king of motorcycle tricks, 1920s

Kārlis Ploks’ life was unusual and full of adventure. He was born in 1895 in Sinole, Vidzeme. Having grown up in relative poverty and lost his father in early childhood, Kārlis Ploks learned to cope with the difficulties and challenges of life very early on. After his time as an apprentice at a gypsum manufacturing plant in Rīga, Ploks began his working life.

Once, after having finished work on a building in Russia, Ploks and his friend headed back to Rīga from Odessa by foot, a journey lasting 8 months. After the First World War, Ploks turned his attention to his hobby – riding motorcycles. He gained fame as a king of motorcycle tricks in Europe. With his acrobatic motorcycle tricks, Ploks visited many countries, making headway with his unique programme. In Rīga, the Ploks family lived in a house on wheels. Kārlis built this himself to avoid paying property tax.

Kārlis Ploks, together with his wife Alma and son Haralds had the good fortune to get to Germany before the start of the Second World War. Kārlis’ wife was Polish, but with the help of an acquaintance she was able to get forged documents claiming that she was German. In this way the family was able to leave Latvia as Baltic Germans.

In Germany, Kārlis Ploks invented coffins made of leaves and was thus able to avoid being drafted into the army. This minimized the usage of wood in war conditions and the inventor was saved from being sent to the front line. His son, Haralds, was called up for the German army, however. After the war, Kārlis Ploks headed off on the greatest adventure of his life – his journey on the yacht, Biscaya.

Kārlis Ploks, 1920s

Kārlis Ploks, ceļojot pa Krieviju

Kārlis Ploks, travelling in Russia before the First World War

Alma, Haralds un Kārlis Ploki

The Ploks family in Germany, 1940s