Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 113 Posts

·
Enthusiast
Joined
·
5,360 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies if I've discussed this before, but I don't believe I have.

What is the proper way to fall from a bridge? Say it's a 30-inch wide bridge having no railings and with an eight foot drop onto jagged, watermelon-sized rocks. The trail is otherwise smooth, cross-country type stuff, so you're not wearing body-armor or anything resembling it.

You begin to ride across the bridge.

Plan A is obvious: Succeed!

But what if you mess up and drop a front wheel off the edge? What is your Plan B?
 

·
******
Joined
·
2,989 Posts
Further the fun by seeing who incurs the highest hospital bill to speed of fall ratio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,083 Posts
Apologies if I've discussed this before, but I don't believe I have.

What is the proper way to fall from a bridge? Say it's a 30-inch wide bridge having no railings and with an eight foot drop onto jagged, watermelon-sized rocks. The trail is otherwise smooth, cross-country type stuff, so you're not wearing body-armor or anything resembling it.

You begin to ride across the bridge.

Plan A is obvious: Succeed!

But what if you mess up and drop a front wheel off the edge? What is your Plan B?
So 30 inch is pretty wide....so that is a really dumb move to pull...

But push the bike over and stay on the bidge.....


Or if you see a spot to land a foot jump for it...
 

·
conjoinicorned
Joined
·
3,525 Posts
commit or eat *hit

i fell once without a backup plan and shattered my radius, now i jump and at least try and land on the feet...
 

·
Enthusiast
Joined
·
5,360 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hard to put into the right words what inspired my post. Here it is though: Would I be a better or safer mountain-biker if I practiced how to fail? Is it really the best approach to tackle a trail feature having utterly no clue or skills to fall back on should one mess up? Given the bridge scenario, how could I safely practice a failure scenario? What can I do short of actually crashing and eating s--t to prepare myself for the inevitable moment when I will screw up when it really counts?

Broader question: Should the sport be doing more to help beginners learn skills and techniques for failing gracefully?
 

·
****** to the dirt
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
Hard to put into the right words what inspired my post. Here it is though: Would I be a better or safer mountain-biker if I practiced how to fail? Is it really the best approach to tackle a trail feature having utterly no clue or skills to fall back on should one mess up? Given the bridge scenario, how could I safely practice a failure scenario? What can I do short of actually crashing and eating s--t to prepare myself for the inevitable moment when I will screw up when it really counts?

Broader question: Should the sport be doing more to help beginners learn skills and techniques for failing gracefully?
grab a short length of a 2x12 plank. Put it on the ground and ride on it. Half way through bunny hop of it (you are not far from the ground so it shouldn't be hard) Next raise said plank 6" off the ground and proceed to do the same thing. Ride it and bunny hop off at the middle. Continue raising the plank 6". When you you get comfortable with the 2x12 plank a 30" bridge shouldn't be all that hard.
 

·
Purveyor of Trail Tales!
Joined
·
1,189 Posts
Hard to put into the right words what inspired my post. Here it is though: Would I be a better or safer mountain-biker if I practiced how to fail? Is it really the best approach to tackle a trail feature having utterly no clue or skills to fall back on should one mess up? Given the bridge scenario, how could I safely practice a failure scenario? What can I do short of actually crashing and eating s--t to prepare myself for the inevitable moment when I will screw up when it really counts?

Broader question: Should the sport be doing more to help beginners learn skills and techniques for failing gracefully?
Hi JonathanGennick,

Answers:
1) Yes
2) No
3 & 4) At minimum get this book, "Mastering Mountain Bike Skills" (Lee Likes Bikes) and these videos done by West Coast Style Mountain Biking Instruction (Mountain Bike DVD | Mountain biking video training | Mountain Bike Instruction and Techniques | West Coast Style). The subject of how to dismount a skinny is covered extremely well in the first video. Then practice those skills in a safe area. I built 12 stunts, including 4 skinny bridges of different widths and lengths, in my yard just so I have some safe place to develop both riding and recovery skills. Even better is taking a class from Lee McCormack, Better Ride (Mountain Bike School, Mountain Bike Camps, coaching by Betterride) or Simon Lawton (www.fluidride.com).
5) Yes

My Yard:
Tire Wheel Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel Bicycle tire
Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim Mountain bike Bicycle tire
Clothing Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame

Take care and have fun however you get dirty!

Michael:thumbsup:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bro

·
Professional Crastinator
Joined
·
6,272 Posts
I know a lot about dismounting a moving bicycle!

For bridges, try to go fast enough that even if you do ride off the side you are going fast enough to crash on the far "wall" instead of in the bottom. More importantly, use your eyes to find the spot on the far end of the bridge where you will exit. See it. Ride to it.

This was succinctly paraphrased above as "commit or eat &hit".
If you keep your weight back, you can also manual to safety if you miss your line.

If you are on a tall skinny at slow speed, get out NOW! Try to land on your feet. Flap arms vigorously.


It is hard to practice crashing, but there a few things you can try:
When I crash to the side like a washout or you just lose the whole bike in a slick turn (I have many times), I hold onto the bars until they hit the ground. You can practice this by just tipping over into a hillside. You don't even have to be moving. That'll keep you from breaking a wrist. Your hip and knee and elbow will take some scrapes (it is not a random coincidence that pads are made for these specific areas of your body).

Going over the bars at high speed or on a really steep exposed downhill usually means disaster - tuck and roll. Your shoulder and back are going to take the hit. Grab a tree if one is available. If you are negotiating a mountain of jagged rocks at the time - good luck! You don't practice this dismount, but you can practice the terrain - start small and work your way up until the risk outweighs the reward.

Going over the bars at slow speed means you might be able to leapfrog and hopefully outrun your pissed-off bicycle. You can practice that, too. I would do it on flats, on someone else's bike.

Side-swiping a tree? If you can collect yourself before you hit the next tree you might be OK. The next tree may also give you the course correction that you so sorely desire. ...or make things worse.

Loamy soil is the best surface for dismounting a moving bicycle. I never liked sand very much. :D

And lastly, if you stretch and loosen up your whole body before you ride, you will fall (and bounce) better.

Have fun!

-F
 

·
Enthusiast
Joined
·
5,360 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone. The idea of setting up some boards in the backyard is a good one that I"ve had for some time now. (I lack a good yard for it though). Frankly, I don't want to ever manual off an eight foot drop onto jagged rocks. But there are plenty of lesser woodways that I ride that might be more fun if I increase my comfort level with dropping off them. Not that I'm unable to ride them or terrified to ride them, but I feel I can be a better rider if I work on my ability to fail with grace (or at least with minimal pain).

Here's a question that just now occurred: Given that the entire rest of that trail has minimal penalty for failure, does it make sense to have one element like that bridge in which the risk of injury is suddenly very much higher? Probably that's a good question for a different thread.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
48,238 Posts
Hard to put into the right words what inspired my post. Here it is though: Would I be a better or safer mountain-biker if I practiced how to fail? Is it really the best approach to tackle a trail feature having utterly no clue or skills to fall back on should one mess up? Given the bridge scenario, how could I safely practice a failure scenario? What can I do short of actually crashing and eating s--t to prepare myself for the inevitable moment when I will screw up when it really counts?

Broader question: Should the sport be doing more to help beginners learn skills and techniques for failing gracefully?
There is no safe or graceful way to fall 8 feet onto big jagged rocks.
 

·
see me rollin, they hatin
Joined
·
4,618 Posts
my bf did this. it wasnt necessarily 8 feet, but it was far enough to draw blood. He landed shin first. try not to do that.
 

·
How much further ???
Joined
·
2,371 Posts
Thanks everyone. The idea of setting up some boards in the backyard is a good one that I"ve had for some time now. (I lack a good yard for it though). Frankly, I don't want to ever manual off an eight foot drop onto jagged rocks. But there are plenty of lesser woodways that I ride that might be more fun if I increase my comfort level with dropping off them. Not that I'm unable to ride them or terrified to ride them, but I feel I can be a better rider if I work on my ability to fail with grace (or at least with minimal pain).

Here's a question that just now occurred: Given that the entire rest of that trail has minimal penalty for failure, does it make sense to have one element like that bridge in which the risk of injury is suddenly very much higher? Probably that's a good question for a different thread.
I think you are over thinking it. Neither the trail builders nor the mountain biking community has any responsibility to provide a safe and consistant riding experience for you. If you dont feel comfortable riding a section of trail, dont ride it. Find something smaller with less penalty of failure and practice. To me thats the best part of mountain biking.

Several years ago I moved to Arizona from Chicago and it took my quite awhile to adjust to the trails out here. The most technically challenging trail I had riden in the midwest was at a beginner to lower intermediate level here in AZ. I wish I had a dollar for every time I said "I will never be able to ride that" and "how they hell does anyone ride this sh!t?"
I simply started small and worked my way up. Now I ride stuff like this (which isnt overly difficult) I just never thought I would ride stuff like this .... ever.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,883 Posts
Here's a question that just now occurred: Given that the entire rest of that trail has minimal penalty for failure, does it make sense to have one element like that bridge in which the risk of injury is suddenly very much higher? Probably that's a good question for a different thread.
If you can't ride it, walk it. If you can't walk it, turn around and go back the other way. You don't have to ride anything you aren't comfortable with.

It is "nature" -- if there is a stream bed or creek in the way, that is what the trail has to deal with, and so that is what you, the rider, has to deal with. Just part of the fun of riding out in the woods! I'd prefer they leave those things in a trail rather than remove them to make it completely "safe," personally.
 
1 - 20 of 113 Posts
Top