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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 46, been riding for 40+ years. Raced BMX for years. Back then, I did all the tabletops, 360s, etc. But then, like today, during races, clearing big doubles/whoop's... I'd cross-up a little - like 20-30 degrees - just as the standard way I'd jump.

"Today", I'm talking very minor stuff. I'm an XC guy, so I'm talking 12" high, 20' down the trial. But even then... a little cross up.

Back in the day, I was convinced it was easier to cross up a bit when clearing big doubles, etc - seemed to keep me aligned, oriented...

So. Is it just me? Do you guys do this?
 

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I was told by riders more experienced at jumping than myself that you should do something, rather than nothing, when you jump. It is supposedly to prevent the "dead sailor" at which I seem to be so "skilled".

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is supposedly to prevent the "dead sailor"...
That's a much better way to describe it! I was riding with some friends (also lycra-clad XC guys) all weekend. One asked "Why do you cross up on every jump... not that I can even jump at all" He has a road bike background.

I described it like this... "Remember that Evil Kneivel toy - the crank-up motorcycle and the ramp... you'd send it over the ramp in whatever position he was on the bike... and land or crash the same way? Well, that's how I feel when I get air without any "style". I just freeze in the air and have a much higher likelihood of landing wrong."
 

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Yep...need a little bit style to prevent the dead sailor. Jumping is a dynamic motion. Trying to remain dead still/rigid in mid air to leads to bad things. The more you try to prevent your bike/body from moving in the air the more likely you are to end up off center when you land.

When moving the bike around in the air, you are controlling the movements to a greater degree and your focus becomes completing that movement and lining up your landing.

I raced BMX as a kid (rode moto too), and did a cross up or some other motion on pretty much every jump, and 25 years later I still do. Sometimes the motions are more vertical (raising or lowering the front end to control the arc match the landing) than a side to side (cross up/whip), but always something to control the path of the bike.

You can do a lot in the air to control your height/distance and landing point while in the air.

Watch some motocross/supercross races. Moto guys do a lot of scrubs/whips, and it isn't just to look cool, though that is a side benefit.
 

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Another ex-bmxer here. Did some racing when I was in HS with my Cooks Brothers bike before I went more in to freestyle so I sold my Cooks and got a Haro Freestyle. Like others, when I hit a jump, I just can't help but do something in the air. Just feels more fluid and natural especially on the landing. When I don't, the landing seems like its pretty harsh.
 

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I throw whips and toss the bike around all the time. Nothing wrong with bombing a flow trail and throwing out a flatty or a whip here and there! Get creative to, dont limit yourself.


And your very right if you get air thats kinda lofty throwing style makes it easier to control. If I'm going fast though I try to pump more and keep the bike low and fast. I tend to only push the bike around then to set myself up for whats next instead of style.
 

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does anyone care to try and put it into words? i'm typically very linear in my jumps, and i agree it feels a bit sketchy, and when i watch MTB vids i don't see anyone jump "linearly". on the other hand, if there is a slight "turn" in the jump, i am able to utilize that and whip the tail a tiny bit. in that scenario i feel much more stable and confident with the landing. i guess practice practice practice...
 

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I can't say that I ever get enough air to accommodate any style of any kind.

And my trails don't exactly have many jumping opportunities, either. Just too twisty. There are a couple of tabletops on a couple of new flow trails that were built in town last summer, but they're very entry level tables and it's easier to pump/roll them than it is to get any appreciable air on them. I've been working on getting air there because they're good locations for it - good area to line up the jump and enough runout to control the landing, but I've been building up slowly to minimize the panic I get on big air. A little rush is good, and that's what I aim for.
 

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Same goes for snowboarding, doing nothing in the air will result in "rolling up the windows." I am always messing around trying to jump off features on the trail and no matter how small they are I throw my rear a little for control. You will straighten on the landing as long as you are not too far crossed but it's better than the dead sailor others have described. You often see people who are stiff in the air bouncing off their front tire on the landing.
 

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Yeah, always a little body english in the air or else it feel a little out of control. I think there are a couple of factors.

Once you are in the air, the only thing you have control over is the gyroscopic forces of your tires. Turning your bars a little or kicking the back end out keeps you in touch with those forces.

If you left the lip of a jump "perfectly" balanced and could land the same way it wouldn't matter. But as human beings we need to continually adjust our balance. When tires are in contact with the ground, the adjustments are minute (usually).

And it feels cool. And in my imagination, I could be mistaken for Vanderham every time my tires leave the ground.
 
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