Check Yo Skillz- “Fun”damentals

by Jill Kitner for Five Ten

There are endless skills available at any track if you know the right way to ride it. BMX bikes are ideal, but as mountain bikers these days we use single speed hardtails (33-16 gearing) with fast rolling tires. Just about any bike will do, even beaters, no excuse. Suspension bikes work as well, you just gotta add more air pressure to your shocks and tires. Jumping drills are probably a little better than manualling, etc. cornering drills are good too.

seatac bmx - kitner

Lately, we have been going almost every afternoon to our local track – Sea Tac BMX. My dad used to run it when I was a kid. It has changed over the years, but out of the hundreds of times I have ridden the track, I still maintain my goal of trying something new every single session. That applies daily to any type of riding- Progression is what it’s all about.

So here are some things to try. Better than doing gate starts every time and sprinting as fast as possible without ever leaving the ground. Some people pulling makes em happy, but we are talking skills not racing right now. So, go on an open day, if it’s available, to ride backwards, hit transfers, use the infields, gap as many rollers as possible, try and manual over as many things as possible. Pick your front wheel up before a lip for a pull manual, ride opposite foot forward and try to pump, etc. Think of K-dub in Moto at the supercrosses- he goes for the sick transfers and wins the crowd every time. Point is, do something creative that challenges your skills. We see so many people come and do the exact same thing, or try once and give up, no no no, it takes patience and practice grasshopper.

Here are some things to try:

For boost– pick a jump that you can do fairly easily. Then try it again slower. Then again slower. Try to jump the jump with the least amount of speed you can and still clear it. This improves your timing and how to pull up harder aka boost. Super boost is a good skill to have.

PUMP– This is maximizing backsides to gain momentum. When I teach this it takes some people a minute to coordinate the timing of it. Go side by side of someone if the timing gets you. So much of the technique is in your legs and just dropping your center of gravity straight down at the right moment when your back wheel crests the top of a roller. Anyway. Come into a rythem section super slow and try to gain speed only with pumping with both wheels on the ground, so you have more speed by the end of the section. I can start with nothing and be up to full speed by the end usually as if I pedaled into it. work it:)

PUMP LAPS– No pedaling, see if you can make it all the way around. The faster or harder you can lower your center from a tall position and get solid backside momentum the better it will be. See how far you can drop before you buzz your ass on the tire. That’s the range.  If you got that, try it backwards, or a half lap. See if you can go backwards and make it back to the start, get further each time. Depends on the track. Or go to another track , they are everywhere. You can do it on a trail as well, find pumpy flowy trails. Could time sections I suppose if you really wanted to know if your pump is better, or roll into an uphill and see how far you make it.

BACKWARDS Gaps– As many as possible The lips will be mellow and the landings steep, gotta pop to get good backsides.

Rhythm– Try and manual between 2, and then the next 2. Then try to jump or ” Double” as many as you can. Then try and triple 3 rollers. and so on. I got a manual or Wheelie through 5 roller the other day and was sooo pumped!! Victory when you get something never done before. I haven’t seen any other girls do such a thing, so even better. Go slow and stay low to find the balance point.

Corners– Pump track will teach you the basics. Try and keep feet level and tires tracking close to the same line around the turn. Lots of people may have a front wheel come in high and the back wheel is low. Enter a little higher and make a smooth arc. Keeping elbows up, knees open and leading the way you want to go, and your head looking around the corner are the best tips I got. Head shoulders hips and knees pointing where you wanna go, nice n square. Also check your bar width. Should be close to about the outside edges of where you would do a push up. Narrow bars make it hard to lean the bike over.

I got lots more ideas, but it’s up to you . Report back , everyone had better try something new.

seatac bmx

The Muddbunnies encourage and welcome female riders of all experience and skill levels to join them in getting down and dirty. Come on, ride like a girl!


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