Fundamentals of Manualing and Rolling
Sometimes riders try to ride like the pros and top amateurs, but have yet to master the basic skills of riding. Beginning riders should always focus on taking jumps the fastest yet safest method of their ability and only move on to advanced methods when they have mastered the basic methods.
Some of the most basic methods to attack jumps, is learning how to manual and or roll them. This skill requires learning the balance point of a coaster wheelie (manual). The manual is a very effective way to keep your track speed and sometimes the only option to take a jump that is too big for you. A beginning rider or even the older weekend warrior cruiser rider should try to find two small rollers and practice manualing through them. Focus on keeping the arms relaxed and bent on the approach and simply lean back over the seat and bring the front end up aiming to the point on where you want to set the front wheel down. Take a night at your local track and see if you can manual every obstacle and always try them at a safe speed at first (60-75%) and see if you can take the jump faster by manualing rather than jumping them. Another way to practice the manual is to create a visual goal of simply taking two cones in a safe flat open area by placing one cone for the starting point and the other for the finishing point. Once the rider masters a small distance then it is time to lengthen the exercise.
Depending on the speed of the rider approaching the jump, sometimes pedaling while manualing can also be effective. This is also known as a stand up pedaling wheelie. Try practicing this on all of the jumps you manual at the local track as you never know, it might be faster. The best way to master this exercise is on a tabletop and or small set of doubles. Your approach to the jump is the same as a manual and what you want to do is keep your core (abs) tight with your legs and arms relaxed and simply take a few pedals all the way through the jump, continuously pedaling all the way down the backside of the jump. Sometimes this can be faster and in some cases will not be effective at all due to the fact that you may be going to fast for the jump anyway. Nevertheless, this is a great skill that may come in handy in those stop and go type situations where you may lose your speed and have to recover quickly.
I hope that my fundamental approach will improve your riding, helping you to be even more competitive at your next race. Practice safely and good luck.
Coach Greg Romero
Founder of BMXTraining.com
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