How Bunny Hopping My Road Bike Saved My Life!
On this beautiful early morning, stars littered the SoCal skies as dusk crept up from the horizon, washing the stars into the blue and orange hues. Just another morning commute for me, seven miles on the dot, door to door. I was ready to push my typical 13 mile per hour pace so I turned my tail and headlight onto flashing and started off.
On a particularly dark, unlit section, fairly close to my house, I was just beginning to loosen up and work my way into a higher gear. With the cool air becoming increasingly welcome as my body warms I begin to feel the horrifying sense of a car is coming up very fast and way to close for comfort. Now, this is where I wish I could tell you that I bunny hopped up onto the roof of a VW Transporter but it's just not that sexy of a story. I simply and effortlessly bunny hopped up and onto the curb as the Hyundai Santa Fe whizzed by. Had I not just leaped to safety I would have surely gotten a ride in an ambulance to either the hospital or the morgue. Adrenalin flowing, I stood up and hauled ass, hoping that one of the next few red lights would grant me the chance of getting his license plate number. However this cautions driver had no problem pushing the limits of the color yellow and I could only see tail lights getting smaller and smaller.
Bunny Hopping Basics
Now out of breath, out of legs and in need of a drink I gave up my pursuit. Once calmed down I realized that all those years on BMX bikes just saved my life.
Whether you run drop bars, flat bars, bullhorns or BMX bars you can bunny hop your bike. Set-up is not important however as usual, before you attempt these kinda of maneuvers, maintenance is critical. Proper tire pressure is key to making your wheels survive. Make sure your bar clamp it tight on your stem to avoid your bars slipping into an uncomfortable position or possibly losing your grip. One last thing about maintenance, true wheels with tight spokes will last longer. It is no secret that straight, tight wheels perform better and bunny hopping is no different.
So how did my learned behavior that has almost become instinct happen? It is almost too simple! While riding at a medium pace for starting out you will need to eye up a crack in the road. This sounds ridiculous but trust me, to someone who has never bunny hopped before this is easier said than done. This crack means you have to hop your bike a length of at least about 40 inches, your wheelbase. Ok, back to the crack. First thing to do is to get out of the saddle. You'll need some serious room to generate some upward momentum in a split second. At a medium speed, with bent elbows and knees, lift up on your bars really hard! Some people use the word "yank". That really describes it best. Once your front end is coming up you will have to get the rear end up, this is where the legs come into play. Take those bent legs and explode them upward. This will make the rear end lift off. Now, you don't want to land too heavy onto the front or rear wheels so you have to level the bike out when you are at the peak of your air. People point in slow-motion amazement as you soar majestically above this crack in the road. Teenagers flash thumbs up signs while soccer mom's unloading their minivans drop the eggs onto the driveway, stunned by what they are witnessing. Ok, if that happens please email me your story! Next, as you land, begin to bend your elbows and knees as your wheels contact the ground. You may hear your chain slap your chainstay but you should hear almost no other sounds. Your local bike shop will have a neoprene cover to prevent the chain from chipping paint. Specialized has the "Slap Jacket" for example. Once you have controlled your landing, Remove one hand from your bars, making a fist slightly above your head, pump it straight down to about chin level in a firm, assertive fashion. You have just bunny hopped my friend!
But you aren't done yet! Find a 2x4 and jump it with the 2" side up, then the 4" side up. If you can do that over and over again you are probably ready for a small curb. Work your way up to bigger curbs and even possibly a low ledge or park bench. If you can hop a road bike onto a low ledge than you will earn the right to be among the masters!
Bunny Hop, Step by Step
- Get out of the saddle!
- Bend your knees and elbows.
- Pull up on the handlebars, HARD!
- Explode your legs launching the rear of the bike upward.
- Level out.
- Ride away fist pumping!
Bunny Hopping Your Road Bike
Bunny hopping or getting hit by a car?
This guy can HOP!
Now that you've read it and seen it there is no reason why you can't do it! I will have to add that you should always use caution when trying this "stunt". Use your brain and wear a helmet! Be sure to practice in a place that is free of traffic and have your cell phone in case you get hurt!
As always, keep it fun! What is the point if it's not fun? We all ride for different reasons but if one of your top reasons isn't to have fun then please, don't even try bunny hopping!
Leave me a comment below and let me know how your doing, tell me I'm an idiot and that I'm all wrong or ask for advice! I'm always willing to help in any way I can.