marg26

Beginner Q: Control/Balance vs Dynamic?

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I've been wondering lately how much I should resist the easy escape route of pedalling away out of some attempt to do something when I feel it's starting to not go in the right direction?

When I first started I used the momentum of just riding along a lot more, but I've moved to attempting the same manoeuvres without the aid of momentum. For instance getting the front wheel up on ledge, pausing to find balance/stability, then pivoting on it to bring the rear wheel up, or doing the same to get up a small set of shallow steps (combined with lucky timing).

It can sometimes feel like I spend more time riding in circles back to the start point rather than committing to achieving the manoeuvre.

A related question, due to practising the above slower/balance/control skills more (as well as rear wheel hops) I'm getting commitment issues on the more dynamic moves, such as bunny hopping up concrete ledges I've done without too much difficulty within the last few months, or fear of harsh landings dropping off higher (for me) ledges. But being a bit of a late starter (40+) at this, my arms can suffer.

Suspect the answer is practice more, mix it up a bit, and warm up/down properly, etc, but thought I might as well post on the internet about it ;)

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Hi marg26

I would suggest a mix, the feeling of doing something properly is second to none so aim for perfect :-). But to get there one need to feel progress... Don't rush it just have fun with and you will improve. I personally have 3-4 moves i practice most(at any given ride) 1-2 i can do (8 out 10 times) one with a ratio of (4/10)  and one (1/20). That way if i don't do the hardest/most difficult that day i will still feel good as some of the other stuff felt good..

Hope that helps, one 40+ to another :-)

keep it up

 

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It seems like you've been able to find your weakness with riding, and addressing those weaknesses is the way to improve (Y)  Working on things you know you're better at will help too, but in terms of opening up more options for yourself in future, taking the time to do the things that feel hardest now is a good bet.  There are a few moves that I glossed over when I was learning and I can really see how they've impacted on what I can and can't ride now, and if I had the chance I'd have spent more time on them years ago rather than having to go back to basics now. 

If that weakness for you is working on doing things slower/more controlled, then that's what to focus on.  You can still do the other things too, but if you become aware of yourself avoiding the trickier stuff that's when you need to more consciously try and give it a go.

In terms of fear, I've found that that comes and goes.  Sometimes I'll be fine with flinging myself up/over/down stuff, but other times I'll feel a lot more timid.  You'll find some ways to push through it, but just be aware they won't always work (again, from personal experience...).  If you can do one thing on each ride that you're a bit scared of then that's a good way to build up more of an inoculation to it and also progress, but that doesn't need to be a firm goal for a ride.  Just see how you feel.

Just as a side note, I'm not sure which style of riding you're doing, but if you're doing any streetier stuff that involves balance moves like manuals, learning to do them slower is definitely the way to go.  When anyone learns manuals there's the temptation to use something to gauge the distance you're doing (e.g. trying to do a car parking space, then trying to do two, and on), but the joint temptation with that is to put a few extra cranks in to help get the speed up to cover that distance more easily.  Taking the time to learn them slow really helps get your balance skills better developed, and will help out in the long run.

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It can be a bit bewildering sometimes knowing where to start as there are so many moves and it seems not enough time & energy!

I started out (late last year) wanting to ride street trials, and didn't really find pure trials that interesting, but practising the basic skills has given me much more appreciation for pure trials and curious as to how I'd find a pure trials bike (not that I'm considering buying one anytime soon). Manuals are definitely one of those trickier moves that I put off focusing on. I keep telling myself it will come from all that practice of rear wheel hops, but still haven't dedicated any time to practising them. In my mind rear hops are more an essential skill, whereas manuals are a bit more flamboyant. 

Any way thanks Mark, definitely some things I can think about while out riding to help decide what to focus on.

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I came across a bunch of Japanese trials how-to videos on youtube, and one about the importance of relaxing interested me where they use a wall to assist with relaxing in a trackstand, something I felt I needed to do more (as I expend more energy in trackstands than I think I should). But of course I didn't remember the video correctly by the time I got out to ride (as what happens with every instructional video I watch). Rather than ride parallel to the wall and then turn toward it into a trackstand, I've been practising (2 lunch times in a row and this evening) riding straight up to a wall or kerb at 90°, front wheel straight, and heaping loads of pressure onto my leading foot to keep front wheel against the wall. There's been a few occasions where I've succeeded in maintaining balance for longer than a couple of seconds. Not sure now after rewatching the video if it's something I should be doing or not! Not sure if it's helping me with balance, though I may have noticed some improvement to my fakies. Also succeeded in increasing the weird looks and comments from passers by.

Edited by marg26

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