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HOW TO BUNNY HOP

It’s not just for tricks and looking cool, a bunny hop will help you clear logs and trail obstacles, and it can save your bacon when you’re out on the road. Think about it—curbs, potholes, railroad tracks—the bunny hop is a veritable parachute out of danger. And did we mention it looks cool? It’s time to channel your inner Thumper and up your hop game.

HOW TO BUNNY HOP

It’s not just for tricks and looking cool, a bunny hop will help you clear logs and trail obstacles, and it can save your bacon when you’re out on the road. Think about it—curbs, potholes, railroad tracks—the bunny hop is a veritable parachute out of danger. And did we mention it looks cool? It’s time to channel your inner Thumper and up your hop game.

NEW KID KNOW HOW

HOPPING MAD FOR BUNNY HOPS

There are two types of bunny hops in the world today—the English and the American. The English version is pretty straightforward, with both wheels lifted off the ground at the same time. Straight up, straight down. The American bunny hop (also called the J-Hop) involves the front wheel launching first with the rear wheel following, up and over an obstacle. What follows is a breakdown of how to do an American Bunny hop, which should get you hopping, regardless of if you’re learning on a mountain bike or a road bike.
Ready? Let’s get hopping.

Pre-Hop Checklist

1. Pick Your Rabbit'in Patch
Find somewhere safe to practice hopping over something. Mountain bikers might choose a section of flat grass, or a wide and clear section of trail, and lay a thin stick down. Road riders can also start on grass for a soft landing, or find a parking lot and practice hopping the painted lines, or something else, like a glove.

2. Start with Flat Pedals
Learning to bunny hop when you’re clipped in isn't just intimidating when you’re learning, it won’t teach you the foundation and technique of the bunny hop. When you’re clipped in, there’s a tendency to rely on your attachment to pull the rear of the bike up. So, get some flat pedals and some grippy shoes and let’s get cracking!

3. Don’t Give Up
Practice makes perfect, and this skill is a great one to have, regardless of the kind of bike you ride.

Pre-Hop Checklist

1. Pick Your Rabbit'in Patch
Find somewhere safe to practice hopping over something. Mountain bikers might choose a section of flat grass, or a wide and clear section of trail, and lay a thin stick down. Road riders can also start on grass for a soft landing, or find a parking lot and practice hopping the painted lines, or something else, like a glove.

2. Start with Flat Pedals
Learning to bunny hop when you’re clipped in isn't just intimidating when you’re learning, it won’t teach you the foundation and technique of the bunny hop. When you’re clipped in, there’s a tendency to rely on your attachment to pull the rear of the bike up. So, get some flat pedals and some grippy shoes and let’s get cracking!

3. Don’t Give Up
Practice makes perfect, and this skill is a great one to have, regardless of the kind of bike you ride.

STEP ONE

 

PRACTICE THE FRONT WHEEL "POP"

1. Get your Speed Right

You’ll want to roll into it at about a walking pace—you don’t have to go crazy fast—and be out of the saddle with your pedals level. When your front wheel is about a meter away from your object…

2. Compress

Bend your elbows—if on a mountain bike, think of it as loading the spring—compress your arms down, then immediately come up and back while simultaneously easing your weight backward to lift the front wheel. Not too far!

3. Rinse, Repeat

Get comfortable doing that, until your wheel is coming up easily. Once you’ve nailed that move, let’s move on to the next one.

PRO TIP: IF YOU’RE LEARNING ON AN MTB, LOWER YOUR SEAT WHEN YOU’RE STARTING OUT AND TRY NOT TO “JERK” THE FRONT WHEEL UP.

STEP TWO

PRACTICE THE REAR WHEEL “SCOOP”

1. Roll Into It

As you’re rolling towards your object—same speed as before—let your front wheel roll over it.

2. Scoop It Up

Shift your body weight towards the front of the bike while simultaneously “scooping” your rear wheel up and off the ground. Another way of thinking about it: Point your toes down as you sweep your feet backwards and suck up the bike beneath you. You’re going to have to practice this until it clicks—the scooping motion takes a bit to master.

PRO TIP: IF YOU’RE HAVING SOME ISSUES GETTING THE BACK WHEEL OFF THE GROUND, MAKE SURE YOUR SHOES HAVE A GOOD GRIP AND THAT THE PEDALS ARE GRIPPY.

1. Pop and Scoop

Roll towards your object and pop your front wheel. As the front wheel lands and rolls, scoop the rear wheel up and over as you push the bars forward with your hands

2. Rinse Repeat

Practice this two-step move until you’re doing it smoothly and your brain “gets it.” Pop and scoop, pop and scoop. Do it over parking lot lines or something soft first, and once you’re feeling adventurous, graduate to a curb or small branch.

3. Now SHOVE

Step it up a notch and turn the whole thing into one motion, with both wheels off the ground at the same time. Get your speed right coming into it, and with your front wheel airborne, spring and scoop up with your legs as you quickly shove the bar away (forward). It should feel like a fluid, almost snake-like motion of your body as you pop, scoop, and shove.

PRO TIP: PUSHING THE BARS AS YOU LIFT OFF, IN A SORT OF "ARCING" MOTION, WILL HELP GET THAT TRICKY REAR WHEEL OFF THE GROUND. PUSH WITH YOUR ARMS, ROLL YOUR WRISTS, AND PULL WITH YOUR LEGS. EASY.

Now that you’ve learned the American Bunny hop, take your new skill to the trails or streets (or maybe even a cyclocross race where you can jump a barrier). Both bunny hops—the English and American—have their uses, so practice both and nothing will ever stand in your way.
Happy hopping.

WORTH IT WILL DO

ARE YOU HOPPING MAD?

Once you’ve learned a bunny hop and it all just clicks, you’ll find yourself hopping everything. It’s the kind of skill that you can’t help but show off—that’s why we made it one of the Worth It Will Do skills for 2018. If you’ve mastered the art of hopping over stuff, you’ve earned the Hopping Mad for Bunny Hops badge. We’d love to see your hop—film it, add it to your Instagram story with the bunny hop Instagram sticker (search Worth It under GIFs in Instagram Stories and it should pop up) and tag @iamspecialized_wmn and #whatsworthit to show us your mad hops!

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