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Jumping over things

  I find there is an extra sense of accomplishment when I can jump over something with my bike. It draws at the very fundamental aspects of the biking experience. As kids on bmx bikes, some of the very first challenges we faced were learning how to jump over things. I can remember it wasn’t good enough to just perform a nice bunny hop. It didn’t mean diddly if you weren’t actually jumping over something.
  If we found a decent jump, we could convince younger siblings and friends to lay down side by side under the ramp. If you can clear two people, the logical next step is trying to clear three people. This stunt was just as thrilling for the bike riders as it was for the obstacles. Admittedly this type of stunt presented more opportunity for injuring the jumpees than the jumper.


  As skateboarders filtered into the riding posse, we started jumping over less animate objects. A couple of skateboards might be lined up as a proper bunnyhopping challenge. Coming up a little short might end up flipping someone’s board comically into the air. Coming up a lot short might mean total loss of control for a bike with a skateboard sliding out underneath it.
Walt with a nice ollie

   Another hometown bunnyhopping challenge I remember were the nets at the tennis courts. The nets would be hanging limply across the court. A daring biker could take a few cranks across the court building up speed and then crouch and pop and over the net. Even a slight mistake in timing could mean hanging your back tire on the steel cable of the net and crashing spectacularly.
Jumping over things with a bunny hop eventually becomes a very practical skill. Think about clearing railroad tracks or a cattle guard laid in the road. On a trail ride you might need to pop over a mud puddle or a fallen branch.
  These days my favorite trail has a log obstacle on it. The entire trail comes at you like a Kung fu fighter. Every few seconds it throws another assault at you. Dodge this, drop over this, jump this, turn here, turn here, pow! Then when you are almost out, you cut high on a left side berm that’s almost a wall ride. You swoop down to the right gaining speed. The go-around line presents itself, ducking under a fallen tree. But the A-line arcs into a right side hip jump that throws you over the fallen tree.
The first few times I hit it weren’t very pretty. The take-off and the landing are both obviously cambered and meant to form a hip jump, but I straight-lined it without any style at all.

 Then I started tabletopping into the hip, but I was just barely clearing the log. Sometimes I would  even bonk my wheel off it. Now I’ve got it dialed in, I savor the rest of the trail, and come into the log stunt fully prepared, it’s quite fun.


  So class, your homework assignment is to go jump over something. Whether it’s a crack in the sidewalk or a staircase railing, either one will count as long as you clear it.

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