Tips to take your mountain biking to the next level (sponsored)
by Aaron H. Bible | Brought to you by Pioneer Sports
Charlie Morrison has been riding bikes since he was 5 years old, and has been plying his trade as a coach, athlete and mechanic in the bicycle industry for two decades. Currently the head mechanic at Frisco’s Pioneer Sports, Morrison’s background includes 10 years racing BMX, seven years racing mountain bikes and six years as a freestyle mountain bike coach for Woodward at Copper Mountain and Woodward at Mammoth Mountain resorts.
We tracked Morrison down to try and learn a few basic, beginner bike tricks that he thinks anyone can master with a little practice.
1. The Track Stand.
This classic trick for road, mountain or BMX is one of the first things every cyclist can learn to up his or her game. Here’s how it’s done: Come to a stop on your bike while keeping your pedals level. Keep your hand on the rear brake. Turn your front wheel back and forth slightly to help balance. To keep your track, stand and regain balance, as it’s normal to start to lose balance at this point. Slightly let off the brake and inch forward.
“Practicing this skill will help increase balance, which will aid your ability to stay on your bike in technical terrain,” says Morrison. “It’s best to practice this skill in an open area, like a driveway or parking lot, while not clipped in.”
2. The Wheelie.
Another classic that we all want to pull off. Get in a lower gear (easier to pedal) and from a seated position, bend your elbows and lean over the bike. Then, says Morrison, in a single motion, extend your arms and pedal hard. “For safety, be ready to use your back brake if the front wheel starts to get too high,” he says. And keep pedaling to keep it up in the air.
3. The Manual.
Similar to a wheelie, the primary difference is that a manual is done from a standing position without requiring pedaling to get the front wheel up. From standing, lean forward over the the bike with fixed elbows. To lift the front wheel, extend your arms and lean back, positioning your body over the rear tire. “Yank hard on the handlebars and coast on that rear tire,” Morrison said. Easy right?
4. The Stoppie.
While rolling slowly, stand up on the pedals and apply the front brake hard enough to get the back wheel off the ground, in what is essentially a reverse wheelie. “Be balanced on the bike, shift your weight forward over the front wheel, and get on the brake hard, balancing over the wheel as the bike comes to a stop,” says Morrison.
5. The Bunny Hop.
The bunny hop is not only a great trick for streets, parking lots and dirt parks, it’s essential for trail riding as well. The bunny hop is to get you and your bike up and over an obstacle, like a curb, rock or log, in a move similar to a manual. “With pedals level to the ground, get your weight back over the rear tire, get off the front tire, start with a manual, pull up on the front tire, then squat and jump, pulling the handlebars and bike with you,” explains Morrison. “Hop up and over your obstacle pulling the bars up and forward.”
Practice these classic beginner tricks in a parking lot, master them on pavement or even on the grass, and you’ll find yourself progressing much more quickly on the trails and in the bike park..
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