Bunny hopping is a huge skill to possess in any cycling sport. This is obvious when it comes to BMX, cyclocross and mountain bike racing. Road racing not so much, but it can save your @$$ when things go haywire. It is a learned skill involving a few important steps with a bit of body English mixed in. Not everyone will be able to perfect their technique to the point of being able to sky over the barriers. We can all learn to hop over roots, rocks, curbs and small barriers (Indian Lakes, Campton CX and Dan Ryan Woods) to save the tubulars and maintain momentum.
Take it in a few steps, and best to practice on a nice soft grass surface:
- Coil by crouching your legs and arms down a bit, like a cat.
- Unleash the coil so that your back goes back up and your arms and legs straighten out. Once your front wheel is at least as high as the object you’re going to clear, your arms should be almost completely extended (straight).
- Lift the front end of the bike just a little bit more by slightly coiling your arms again.
- Unload the weight on your back wheel by coiling your legs up toward your body slightly while pushing the front end of the bike by simultaneously straightening your arms.
This is a tough thing to describe and so here is a good video as well:
It’s more of a teeter-totter action, as if you have an invisible fulcrum beneath your bottom bracket. Be careful on the landing to not come down with too much weight on either wheel so that you don’t damage the rim or tire. It takes a bit of finesse which can only be gained through repetition.
Practice the two main steps one at a time. The coil and subsequent unleashing by popping your upper body up to get the front wheel up is one step. The second is un-weighting the back wheel. If you can do those two steps, and neither is very difficult, you have it in you to catch some air sans-lip. Work on each individually, over and over again.
Once each is comfortable put the two steps together. Jump a small stick at first and slowly move up as you become more proficient. The best set up we’ve come up with at TBC is a garden stick as you’d use to prop up wilted plants and two of the plastic course marking stakes that we use on our CCC courses. You can buy these at pretty much any hardware store. Position two marking stakes with the tabs on the side farthest from you. Place the garden stick on the tabs at the appropriate height. If you hit the stick it will harmlessly fall to the ground and you can keep upping the ante tab by tab. It’s a very safe set up that still adds some pressure to your situation.
Good luck, take it slowly and safely and have fun out there!
Director of Coaching