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Cycling: Guide on Bike Jumping
Welcome to my guide to bike jumping, Bike jumping is a very skill based sport which is very heavily adrenaline based, and very cool. In this hub I intend to give you the basic tips you need to be able to start jumping.
As with downhill biking you can jump with any bike, however I would advise a specialist bike because you will break a normal bike very quickly. There are two main types of jump bikes, bmx and hardtails. The one that would suit you best depends on your riding terrain. If you jump on compact dirt or tarmac then get a bmx, they are much lighter and allow greater precision. However if you ride on softer or rough ground then you need a hardtail, these are larger and can cope with the difficult surfaces better than a bmx. I have a hardtail as it allows me to do downhill biking aswell.
This is very important, jumping is very dangerous and it is almost certain that you will crash at some point. Always wear a helmet, you probably hear this to death however if you look at the professional jumpers they all wear helmets because they realise how dangerous it actually is, you don't want your first time to be your last. Also gloves are important because when you crash these hit the ground first.
Pre Flight Checks
Before you start jumping then you need to make sure your bike is up to it. Firstly go over all the bolts checking that they are done up properly, last thing you want is a wheel to come off. Next check that your wheel spokes aren't loose look at this guide for more info on how to do that. http://bicycling.about.com/od/bikemaintenance/a/Spokemaint.html Also check that your brakes work properly, this is the most important piece of equipment on your bike as without it you are doomed to crash.
Firstly find yourself a small jump, one where you hardly get in the air at all. This will allow you to practise your run up and balance. For your run up stand up on the pedals, Keep your hips in a vertical line with the pedals and bend your arms. This should give you a neutral balance and therefore you shouldn't rock to far backwards or forwards. As you come up to the jump keep your body symmetrical with your strongest foot forwards on the pedals, if your body isn't straight then you will vear off. As you go over the lip of the jump pull the handlebars up towards you, this will stop the bike landing on its front wheel. If you land on the front wheel you run the risk of going over the handlebars if you hit a bump, it also doesn't set you up well for the next jump. And here is a video of me proving why not to land on the front wheel.
Once you are comfortable doing small jumps you can move onto bigger jumps. On these jumps you will have more of a chance to feel your bikes balance in the air. You start off the jump the same, and pull up when you reach the lip, however depending on your bike and riding style then you will either need to push the front down or pull it up further. With my bike I need to push it down. The ideal position to land is both wheels at the same time, however in preference you would rather rear wheel first than front first as I mentioned earlier.
One thing however you should remember whatever jump you are doing it to abort if it isn't feeling right, if your run up isn't ideal or you are at the wrong speed then brake and pull off to the side and go round and try again. Never do an jump thinking, ah well it will be ok, because that's when serious accidents happen.
All of this information is the best of my knowledge the best way to jump, however there will always be danger in jumping and you need to be aware of this. This adrenaline is what keeps alot of us coming back again and again, trying to find the limit is what we thrive on, you will feel scared when trying a jump however that is dwarfed by the great feeling you get afterwards.
I hope that this hub has helped you learn the basics of jumping. Enjoy and thanks for reading.