November 01, 2006
In the first installment in this series on bike skills, last month, we looked at some static skills, where you mostly balanced in place. In practicing those movements, you will have learned to lift your bike airborne and also will have gained some control rocking the bike from wheel to wheel. Now it's time to use those new skills to do something a little more useful-- get up onto things.
Before we start, there are a few precautions. Though it should be obvious, you should start on small objects. Make sure that you have the technique mastered before you start trying these moves at any real height. Getting on top of objects does not present as much danger as getting off them, but things can still get ugly. Consider wearing shin guards. Make sure your bike is in good condition, especially your brakes, pedals, cranks, and chain. Depending on what objects you will be climbing and what type of terrain you are in, your tire pressure may need to be adjusted. If you are riding street obstacles with sharp edges, you will want higher tire pressure to avoid a pinch flat if you catch a wheel on an edge. If you are rolling onto rounded objects or riding natural off-road terrain, lower tire pressure will help grip the surface better. Fatter tires will help too.