Hey guys, I have been looking on youtube for a good how to vid on riding skinnies. I havent really found one that gives the details like where to focus your eyes for instance. I would assume that having your eyes high looking ahead is the way to go but if you are on a really skinny line Im not sure that is going to work.
Yeah keeping your eyes up and ahead is a great way to start. I try to relax on the bike as if I was on a normal trail because if you tense up you’re more likely to make a quick move and send the bike over the side. Also when you’re first trying to nail them I’d go very slowly (as slow as you can while still remaining upright) as opposed to racing over them. This’ll help you get a more natural feel for riding over a structure as opposed to the ground. Going back and forth across the skinny repeatedly can only help too.
GMBN has a segment in this video where they talk about riding over narrow bridges, which is pretty much the same idea. The part you want to see is around the 5:10 mark. Good Luck!
In short, the best advice is to keep your eyes on the end of the skinny–which is where you want to go. Once you approach the end, then look at your landing spot on the ground, and so on.
I would disagree somewhat with the advice above about going as slow as possible. Don’t go charging in, but don’t go too slowly, either–if you have a bit more speed, the centrifugal (hope that’s the right word) force of the wheels help to keep the wheels upright, which in turn helps keep you upright. Especially if the skinny is a straight board, you can keep a bit of momentum up, which will help keep you tracking straight.
Story time: I used to have the hardest time riding down the roads with no hands on the handlebars. Eventually I realized that it was because I was always going too slowly when I tried this little trick, so now I go into it faster, and it’s much easier. This is counterintuitive because you feel like you’re going to crash bad, but the spinning wheels keep the bike upright and rolling straight.
Yes that is centrifugal force. I watched a video once where a physics professor used a bike wheel to demonstrate centrifugal force. He spun the wheel and then set one end of the axle on a hook hanging from the ceiling and let go of the other side and it stayed upright! It was really fascinating to see it on display like that.
Thanks for the input guys. I actually don’t have any real structures to ride ( that I have found anyways) near me. I just look for hidden features around town and in the local trails.
What you are talking about is Precession or gyroscopic effect. While centrifugal force is one of the forces that are involved in the physics of it, it is not the only one, and at rotating speeds the wheels are at when slow riding skinnys there is virtually no centrifugal force. It is the actual momentum of the entire vehicle that makes balance easier. Sort of like someone riding a unicycle and staying in one place, they rock back and forth to maintain balance.
Personally I am not very good a skinnys, but practicing track stands, and riding as slow as possible on flat ground will help you balance, which helps.
I agree with Greg, don’t ride too slow. Practice track stands, and riding curbs. Get a board, like 2×2, and ride it on your backyard. Once you clear it on the ground, lift it up 5-10 inches above the ground and keep practicing. It’s all about repetition
Thanks guys, I happen to have a few fine pieces of wood that should fit the bill to make my own “skinny training device”. Not a bad idea for this weekend since all of the local trails will be closed or not rideable (peanut butter mud after rain).
Thanks for the the physics correction as well. I never studied it, though maybe I should as I do find it fascinating.