Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hopping What, Now?

When I first started mountain biking, I read all of the magazines which were on the market, religiously.  I was living in the flatlands of mid-Ohio, and dreamed of riding in the cool places I saw in the pages of the monthlies:  Utah, California, Colorado...

One of the very basic techniques of mountain biking, as far as I could tell from reading these publications, was "bunny-hopping".  This was the act of levitating your bike off of the ground, and floating over an obstacle on the trail, such as a hole, a rock or a log.

I practiced bunny-hopping my mtb  for hours, every week.  Rather, I spent hours trying to figure out the secret of floating the bike off of the ground.  But, I had very little luck.  I tried to follow the tips that all of the how-to articles gave, but to no avail.

Then, one day as I was riding home from the Post Office, I crossed the railroad tracks at speed.  As I approached the tracks, I pulled up on the brake hoods of my road bike, as I shifted my weight forward and flew over the crossing without impacting the tracks.

Just as I touched down on the pavement, I realized that I was "bunny hopping" the bike, just as I always had when I approached tracks, or a hole in the pavement.  A light bulb went off, in my head, and I realized that I already knew how to perform this mountain-biking trick, without realizing it.

It was then that I realized that there was really no difference in technique between road biking and mountain biking;  it was all about attitude.  From then on, I knew that any technical knowledge that I gained on-road, would benefit me off-road, and vice-versa.

This is why I don't understand why riders who follow one discipline feel superior to other riders, who happen to follow another discipline.  We all ride bikes, after all.

Two wheels, pedal power.  Beneath it all, we are doing the same thing.


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As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.