Tag Archives: Ride My Bicycle

See how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

How to adjust your front derailleur for perfect and silent shifting

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the late 1920’s, in France, there was a bike race under way and it wasn’t the Tour De France. Instead, this race was a technological race that brought the derailleur into the light. Before 1928, bicycles had a maximum of two speeds, and you needed to remove the rear wheel to change those gears. As there was need for quicker shifting, the bicycle derailleur was born. Initial derailleurs consisted of nothing more than paddles that were actuated by steel rods located between the rider’s legs. Needless to say, there was a lot of finesse that went into shifting those bikes. Then after the second world war parallelogram derailleurs, what we use today, were developed so riders could shift their gears with ease. Read on to see how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

Front Derailleur

Early “Rod Style” Benelux front derailleur – Yikes

Front Derailleur parts

Limit screws (A) – The front derailleur needs to work within the largest and smallest ring. Limit screws work to stop the front derailleur from shifting outside of its intended range. They are adjustable as to match different types of cranks.

Derailleur Cage – The cage is what holds the chain on gear and what presses on the chain to move it from one gear to the next. The outer portion of the cage (C) is what helps the chain move from larger gears to smaller ones. In contrast, the inner portion of the cage (B) forces the chain from smaller gears to larger ones.

front derailleur

Common parallelogram front derailleur found on Hybrid and Mountainbikes

Derailleur Fixing Bolt (D) – The bolt that holds the derailleur in place on the frame. By loosening this bolt, you can re-position the derailleur for angle and height.

Cable Pinch Bolt (E) – The Cable that controls shifting needs to be held firmly in place. The pinch bolt does that job.

front derailleur

Different Pinch bolt and fixing bolt position for MTB/Hybrid (above) and Road (below) derailleurs

Location, location, location

You guessed it, the most important part of adjusting the front derailleur is its location. If the derailleur is not positioned properly, you will never achieve proper, noise free, shifting in all gears. The reason location is so important is that the front derailleur cage is formed to position the chain in very specific locations.

First step in adjusting the front derailleurs location is to set its height. You need enough room to fit a Nickel between the teeth on the largest chainring and the bottom of the outer cage when they are lined up. Any more clearance than that and the derailleur tends to have issues pulling the chain down from larger gears.

front derailleur

you should be able to fit a Nickle between the derailleur cage and chainring

Once you have the height set, adjust the angle of the front derailleur so that the outer cage and chainrings are parallel. Any misalignment will result in poor shifting and excess noise.

front derailleur

Proper alignment on the left, and misalignment on the right

Lower Limit

Set the lower limit by adjusting the screw marked “L”. To do this, shift the rear derailleur all the way up into the largest cog. Next check to see if there is clearance between the chain and the front derailleurs inner cage with the chain on the smallest chainring. If the chain is running on the inner cage, thread the limit screw out until you have 2-3mm (that nickel distance again!) between the chain and inner cage. When the opposite is true and you have too much clearance between the inner cage and chain, thread the limit screw in until there is 2-3mm of clearance.

Cable tension

Your Front derailleur should be properly aligned and the lower limit should be set at this point. The next step is to attach the cable to the Pinch bolt. Attach that cable by first making sure your shifter is in its lowest gear, Then pull the cable tight, and finally tighten the pinch bolt onto your cable. Usually, you can shift smoothly up from the smallest ring into the next gear right away, but if there is hesitation going up add cable tension either through a barrel adjuster or by loosening the pinch bolt, pulling the cable tighter, and tightening the pinch bolt down again. If the chain wants to shift up from the small ring over the next ring, release some tension. You know you have it right when the chain can pass from one gear to another smoothly and confidently without any banging or skipping noises.

Upper Limit

Setting the upper limit is as easy as getting the chain onto the largest chainring and threading the limit screw to offer 2-3mm of clearance between the chain and the outer cage. While shifting, ensure the chain cannot be shifted over the large ring and off the crank.

Trouble shooting

This guide is great if all the parts are new, but won’t overcome many issues related to worn or dirty parts. The most common shifting issue with older gears is poor upshifting. Chainrings are built with ramps on the inner surface to easily guide the chain from smaller to larger rings. As chainrings wear, these ramps wear as well. If you are having serious issues going from smaller to larger gears, but the gears are silent and problem free otherwise, you may want to consider replacing the chain, chainrings, and gears in the rear.

front derailleur

These Praxis Works chain rings have some of the best shifting thanks to carefully placed ramps.

Another key wear item is the front derailleur itself. Derailleurs are designed to pivot off a parallelogram design that requires each pivot run smooth and precisely. As the Front Derailleur wears, these pivots can begin to bind, while they generate play, leading to poor shifting.

Finally, dirty or corroded cables are a key cause in poor shifting. Replace cables once a year and lube them intermittently to keep them running smooth and freely.

When is enough, enough

Working on your bike is fun, but can be frustrating if things aren’t going according to plan. When things get out of hand, don’t be afraid to start from scratch and go back to step one. Any missed initial steps will make further steps impossible to complete. Also, remember that if it gets too tough, your local bike shop is happy to walk you through the process. You will pay a fee, but the one on one instruction is well worth it.

 

Another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park.

Bike Pic Aug 22, another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park

Another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park. Check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be closed after another day of rain yesterday.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biker’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

The trails of Lebanon Hills offer some of the most enjoyable mountain biking in the Twin Cities Area.

Enjoy fun and nature on Lebanon Hills fantastic mountain bike trails

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The newly expanded trailhead of Lebanon Hills acts as a gateway to some of the most enjoyable trails in the Twin Cities Area. With nearly 12 miles of one way singletrack trails, Lebanon Hills has become one of the go-to trails in Minnesota. The trails feature riding for all skill levels combined with world-class facilities to enhance your riding experience. All the bike trails are built and maintained by the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC).

Where Lebanon Hills is

Another happy mountain biker riding through the forests of Lebanon Hills Park.

Another happy mountain biker riding through the forests of Lebanon Hills Park.

The Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike trails (Leb to the locals) are located in Eagan Minnesota off Johnny Cake Ridge Road. The newly expanded trailhead boasts ample parking, clean bathrooms, public grills and picnic areas as well as a skills course appropriate for all ability levels. Leb is a part of the larger Lebanon Hills Regional Park system that includes two swimming lakes, nearly a dozen hiking areas, three camping areas and close proximity to the Minnesota Zoo.

What to expect in Lebanon Hills

The first thing you will notice about riding in Leb is the amazing condition of the trails. Thank the Minnesota Off Road Cyclist organization (MORC) for the smooth berms, clear trails and exciting features. Ride into the first trail and enjoy the sweet smell of pine trees while you wind through a healthy forest. First, you are given the choice of staying on the beginner trails or hanging a hard right onto the intermediate loop. Staying on the beginner trails will lead you to five 8’ tall berms that are a total blast to ride. From those berms you can branch off into another intermediate loop or head into a skills section that including a berm, roller, and jump line.

Another fun run through an open meadow.

Another fun run through an open meadow in Lebanon.

If you choose that first right onto the intermediate loop, you are rewarded with twisty sections, a rock drop, and high speed downhill sections. That intermediate section brings you out to the far end of the park. Once out there, you can enter into the truly advance loops built on rock gardens, step climbs and steep descents. The trails on the far side of the park meet at one point, perfect for a quick break between loops.

Here on the advanced trail in Lebanon Hills you will find some obstacles to challenge you.

Here on the advanced trail in Lebanon Hills you will find some obstacles to challenge you.

 

Best part of the trails

Leb gives its riders amazing trails as well as awesome views. The best part of Leb is how well it integrates into nature. Even though the trails of Leb are well trafficked, Places like the “lake loop” give the impression of sanctuary for hundreds of riders a weekend. Because all the trails are directional, there is a great feeling of isolation even though other riders may be just a few hundred feet away. Overall, Lebanon hills is a great way to enjoy the beauties of nature in the Twin Cities area.

Here is a place for all ages to build on their skill levels.

Here in Lebanon Hills is a place for all ages to build on their skill levels.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Leb, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Tuesdays through the summer. The group meets in the parking lot at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. You will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Best seasons to ride

Those with fatty's are finding Lebanon Hills the perfect trail system year round.

Those with fatty’s are finding Lebanon Hills the perfect trail system year round.

If you love the trails at Leb during the summer, rejoice, they are open through the winter as well. Not only are the trails open when the snow falls, but well traveled. Because of that traffic, the trails stay clear and ride-able right up until the spring thaw. With that said, once the thaw begins, the trails are usually closed for about six weeks while things dry out. A quick check on MORC’s trail conditions website will let you know when the trails are open.

 

Tips and Tricks to Adjust Your Bike’s Rear Derailleur

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

It goes by many names, the rear derailleur. It is also known as the “s,” the “hangdown,” or the mech. Here in the U.S. we refer to it as the rear derailleur. The device that moves your bike’s chain from gear to gear letting you traverse hills with ease. Even though derailleurs are sturdy and relatively maintenance free, they do require attention occasionally. Look below for the step by step instructions on how to adjust your bike’s rear derailleur.

 Rear Derailleur Terminology

Twist shifter – A shifting device that rotates around the handlebar like the throttle of a motorcycle.

Trigger shifter – A Shifter that activates by pushing or pulling a set of paddles with your thumb and index finger.

STI shifters – Technical this stands for Shimano Total Integration and speaks directly about one brands type of road bike shifter, but it has become the generic term for any drop bar shifter/brake lever combo.

Thumb shifter – A shifter that can be mounted in many places like; the stem, bar end, brake lever, or top of the bar. These shifters are the most rudimentary type of shifter, and operate by simply actuating a lever with your thumb.

Derailleur parts

(A) Jockey Wheels- two small wheels on the derailleur on which the chain run. They are mounted onto the derailleur cage

Limit screws- The limit screws control the area of motion a derailleur has. On most derailleurs there are three limit screws: the upper limit, Lower limit, and B-limit. The upper limit screw sets the maximum distance the derailleur can shift in high gears. The lower limit screw sets the maximum distance the derailleur can shift in the lower gears. The B-limit screw sets the distance the upper jockey wheel sits from the cogs.

(B) Barrell adjuster – This is an adjustment device on the back of most derailleurs. It is the area where the derailleur cable enters the derailleur and can increase or decrease the cable tension by threading it in and out.

(C) Pinch bolt – The pinch bolt is where the derailleur cable gest secured.

(F) Derailleur hanger – The portion of the bike frame where the rear derailleur is mounted.

Rear Derailleur

Not defined above is the Upper Knuckle (E), and lower knuckle (D)

Is everything straight?

The cogs your rear derailleur shifts across can have as little as 2.14 millemeters of spacing between them. Considering the spacing is so narrow, look to see that everything is aligned properly before you start adjusting your rear derailleur in vain. Look first at the derailleur itself from behind. You should be able to see if the derailleur itself is aligned properly. A tell-tale sign of damage is when the two Jockey wheels don’t line up with the cogs or each other (see picture).

Next assure that the derailleur hanger is aligned properly. This is easily seen when the derailleur appears straight, but not in line with the cogs. Consequently, if either the derailleur or derailleur hanger are bent, it’s best to take it into your local shop for a remedy.

Step 2, A man has got to know his limitations

Before attempting to adjust the derailleur properly, set its usable range. First, loosen the pinch bolt and let the derailleur run on the smallest cog. Next, pedal forward while visually and audibly inspecting how the chain runs on the smallest cog. The chain should run smoothly without any clicking, or skipping noises. If it runs smoothly, don’t worry about the upper limit. when you do experience skipping or noise, look closely at how the chain runs on the cog (looking from behind is easiest). If the chain isn’t coming directly off the upper jockey wheel and going straight onto the small cog you need to adjust the upper limit. By threading the limit in or out you can adjust where the derailleur sits in relation to that smallest cog (note: the limit screws don’t need to get “tightened” down, they simply act as a stop for the derailleur).

Once the upper limit is set, pedal forward and push on the derailleur lower knuckle until it moves the chain into the largest cog. If the chain has issue getting into the largest cog, or jumps over that cog into the wheel spokes, you need to adjust the lower limit screw in a similar fashion to the upper limit screw.

Rear Derailleur Tension

With the limits set, you can now move on to tightening the cable and trying to shift. Make sure the shifter is in its lowest gear by shifting down while gently pulling on the shift cable. With the shifter in its lowest position, ensure all housing ends are settled into the frame properly then pull the cable taught through the derailleur.  With the cable taught, tighten the derailleur pinch bolt onto the cable. Trim any excess cable so that only about one inch of cable extends beyond the pinch bolt and crimp it off as not to fray.

While pedaling, shift one gear up. Ideally, the chain will easily move from the smallest cog up to the next cog. It should stay on the second cog and run quietly and smoothly. If it hesitates to get to the second cog, increase cable tension by rotating the barrel adjuster out. If you cannot increase tension enough with 3 or 4 turns of the barrel adjuster, thread it back in, loosen the cable pinch bolt, pull the cable taught, and tighten the pinch bolt again. Once you have the chain shifting up the cogs easily, check to see if it will smoothly move back down the cog stack by shifting from the largest cog down and inspecting. The only difference is in the adjustment. If the chain hesitates to move down the gears, turn the barrel adjuster in (relieving cable tension).

Rear Derailleur Trouble shooting

What happens if you can get the chain to move up the cogset well, but can’t get it to move back down the cogset easily. In some cases, the cable and housing can be corroded and causing drag. This drag won’t affect the shifting moving up the gear set, but it will stop the derailleur from returning. In tis case, you can clean and lube the cables and housing, or just replace the cable and housing all together.

Additionally, there may be a grinding/banging noise in only the largest cog. That noise is caused by the upper jockey wheel running on the largest cog. To remedy this, tighten the b-limit screw until the noise subsides.

Finally, a common problem is if you get skipping while pedaling up steep grades or under load. If your derailleur is adjusted properly, and you’re getting skipping, it may be related to a worn out drivetrain. As your chain ages, it stretches slightly. As the chain stretches, the front face of the gears will wear in unison with the chain stretching. Once the chain stretches beyond the point where it will mesh with the gears, you will experience skipping under load.

Working on your own bike is fun. Also, your appreciation for the technology and engineering that goes into what is considered a simple machine will grow with each turn of the wrench. Periodically, you will run into a problem you cannot solve. If that is the case, bring your bike to your local shop, talk honestly with the mechanic about what you tried and what you are trying to accomplish. As a result, you will find that most mechanics will be happy to teach you what you need to know.

 

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Riding Courtesy; Great Ways to Consider Others on Your Next Adventure

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Did you know that bicycle traffic laws are different in many states? While these laws guide how you should operate on your bicycle, they also regulate how drivers should treat you. Laws are designed to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Then there is offroad riding and most trail systems have guidelines that match up with the published list of rules from IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association). Beyond the laws and rules, we should also employ some common courtesy toward each other on both the road and trail.

Offroad Courtesy To Other Riders

Courtesy offroad is all about sharing the trail, leaving the environment as pure as possible, and not negatively impacting others experience. The simplest way to share the trail is to maintain control. Careening down a trail at Mach 5 with no ability to stop in time is a quick recipe for disaster. If you can’t control yourself, you are more prone to run into others or at the very least scare them. In order to maintain the environment, consider the trails off limits when wet. Trail systems that are wet are far more susceptible to damage from riders by leaving deep ruts in the dirt. In addition to leaving ruts, leaving any trash behind is unacceptable as well. Take care to pack any trash, like powerbar wrappers, inner tube boxes, or gel packs out with you. Finally, be concerned with others experience. There is nothing easier to reach that goal than to yield the trail when appropriate. If an overtaking rider wants to pass, slow down and make room for them to get by. When others are climbing up a steep grade, wait at the top of that trail for them to pass, before heading down.

Trail Courtesy To Other Riders

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

While riding on the bike paths, small amounts of courtesy can go a long way to keep you and those around you safe. To begin, always pull off the trail when stopping. Making yourself a big roadblock in the middle of the trail puts all those who must get around you at a risk. Don’t assume others know where you are going, hand signals help for those looking, but also feel free to tell people (especially people you are passing) what is going on. A simple “on your left” can make a pass far safer.

Road Courtesy To Other Riders

While stopping along a road pulling off to the shoulder is being courteous to motorists and the safest thing we can do.

Road riding courtesy is most needed when riding in a group and drafting. Safety in a group is about two things – Consistency and communication. For Consistency, be sure to ride a steady line, don’t swerve from side to side. Also, try to keep a consistent pace, If riders are drafting behind you, it can be difficult and tiring if you constantly speed up and slow down. For communication, be sure to signal If you are stopping, where debris in the road is, and what direction the group is turning.

Trail and Road Courtesy To Traffic

Courtesy to traffic is as easy as being predictable. Try to ride at the same distance from the curb as consistently as possible. Also use hand signals when turning, and be clear when stopping (by placing your open palm down at your side). Using a bell is also a great way to signal your approach to parked cars. Ultimately, you want drivers to know where you are and where you are going so they can make safe choices as well.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Riding courteously is just another way to keep you and those around you safe while riding. Once you begin to employ these tips, and make them second nature, you will find that your rides become less stressful. Eventually, I hope you help remind others what courteous bike riding can do for everyone.

Please pass this information on to friends and family – Thanks!

Cycling shoes can help you ride longer, faster and in greater comfort.

Cycling Shoes: What Are The Differences and How To Make Sure They Fit

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Cycling shoes can help you ride longer, faster and in greater comfort but only if you get ones that fit well. Read on to see what makes cycling shoes unique and how to find the right ones for you.

Benefits of Cycling Shoes, Clipless or Not

Cycling shoes have a very stiff sole to disperse pedaling pressures along the entire length of your foot. In contrast, normal sneakers have flexible soles that centralize most of your pedaling efforts onto the sesamoid bones, causing a lot of discomfort. Therefore, a cycling shoe is also a great option for riders who don’t plan to use a clipless pedal. Once you add the benefits of a clipless pedal, cycling shoes will make riding easier and more comfortable.

Types of Soles for Cycling Shoes

What makes a cycling shoe stiff is the materials used in the sole. The most common materials are nylon and carbon fiber. Nylon is a great choice for cycling shoes because it is strong, relatively light, very durable and highly resistant to cracking. Additionally, nylon is inexpensive, so it can be used to make low cost cycling shoes. The downside of nylon is in its stiffness over time. In my experience, Nylon will generate a flex point over time, making the shoes more flexible through the years. Carbon is very similar to Nylon in that it is strong, and light. Where carbon differs is that it is far stiffer than nylon, never generates flex, and is very expensive to produce. Carbon soles are only found on high cost shoes, but offer a much longer lifespan.

Types of Cycling Shoes

Cycling shoes can help you ride longer, faster and in greater comfort and there is a large selection to choose from.

Cycling shoes can help you ride longer, faster and in greater comfort and there is a large selection to choose from.

Cycling shoes can most easily be categorized into three categories – Road, Mountain, Recreation.

Road Cycling Shoes

Road shoes are easy to spot because the sole is almost entirely smooth with only a small bit of tread on the heel. They are the only shoes capable of accepting a large road cleat, and are typically highly ventilated.  Thanks to the lack of tread, it is easy to see what the sole material is.

Mountain Cycling Shoes

A Mountain shoe will look like a road shoe above the sole. Often time the closures, ventilation and appearance are the same as it’s road sibling. Where these shoes differ is the sole design. Mountain shoes have deep treads built into the sole to offer traction in loose and steep conditions. Because the sole is covered in rubber treads it is more difficult to conclude if it is made of carbon or nylon.

Recreation Cycling Shoes

Not everyone needs a road specific shoe or the aggressive treads that come with a mountain shoe. For that reason, most companies make a recreational cycling shoe. These shoes use a soft rubber for the tread that offers tons of grip when used on a flat pedal, they also use a nylon sole for stiffness and clipless compatibility. Mostly, these shoes look like a casual sneaker even though they hide cycling specific benefits inside. Some even use a hinged sole that can flex upward when you walk, but will not flex under pedaling forces.

Insoles in Cycling Shoes

Your foot is designed to work like a leaf spring when walking or running. Your arch collapses to absorb impact and rebounds to help you propel forward. Although, when cycling, having your arches collapse can cause alignment issues in your knees, ankles, and hips. To combat arch collapse, most cycling shoes use insoles designed to support your arch. If your shoes don’t offer insoles with enough support, there are plenty of options available for custom insoles.

Trying them on

Now that you understand what you’re looking at, let’s talk about how to try the shoes on. First thing to remember about cycling shoes is that they are nothing like sneakers. Cycling shoes are often sized in European sizing and while most brands offer a conversion chart, only use it as a starting point.

When you try a Cycling shoe on for the first time, it should fit tighter than a sneaker. You want a tight fit because your foot is attempting to pull out of the shoe during a pedal stroke. In contrast, while running your foot is being slammed into the shoe so sneakers need to be more roomy. Additionally, most cycling shoes are made of synthetic materials that stretch and conform to your foot over time. Therefore, a shoe will be far more snug when you try it on than a year later. If the shoe is snug all the way around, that is good fit even if you can feather your toe off the front of the shoe. If you feel any specific point of contact, that usually is an indicator that the shoe is the wrong fit.

Installing Cleats in Cycling Shoes

If you go to your local bike shop to get your shoes, they will typically install the cleat for you. If you are doing it on your own, try to position the cleat just behind the ball of your foot and straight on the shoe. I find it helpful to grease the threads of the cleat bolts before installation.

Hopefully, you feel comfortable going to try cycling shoes on after reading this. If you do have any more questions, either leave them in the comments, or visit your local bike shop.

Bunny Hop and Wheelie Hop: A How to, Step by Step Guide

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Not all trails are smooth and flat. Many time’s we encounter large rocks, roots, ledges, and logs. The bunny hop and wheelie hop are simple moves that you can learn to traverse these obstacles with speed. Below, we have spelled out a step by step process to learn to hop.

Bunny hop

The Bunny hop has been around forever. While there are a few ways to pull one off, the basic motion of the bunny hop is to lift the bike without pedaling. Specifically, a bunny hop motion is to lift the front wheel, lift your legs and weight, and roll your wrists (and by extension the bicycle) over an object. The bunny hop is great move to clear obstacles at speed and while heading downhill.

Wheelie hop

The wheelie hop is similar to the bunny hop, except, rather than using your body motion to lift the front wheel, you use the pedals. Once that front wheel is up, the wheelie hop uses all the same motions as the bunny hop. The wheelie hop a is great move to use on uphill obstacles and low speed situations.

Pull up

The first motion in the bunny hop is to lift the front wheel above the height of the obstacle. To start this, stand up on the pedals, bend your knees and elbows, and lower your center of gravity. Next, spring your arms and knees, propelling your weight up and slightly backward. As your weight is traveling up and back, your front wheel should begin lifting off the ground. The basic concept is to rotate your weight and use the point where your rear wheel touches the ground as a fulcrum.

bunny hop

Prepare to spring up by bending your knees, elbows, and lowering your weight

Pedal up

The pedal up is slightly different from the pull up, but, still ends up with your front wheel in the air. Start in a seated position with your arms locked. Make sure you are in a relatively easy gear and jab your pedal through the pedal stroke as you pull the bars into your body. In about one pedal stroke your front wheel should be off the ground. Your weight should be centered over the rear wheel, your arms should have a good bent to them, preparing to spring your weight up.

bunny hop

Wheelie hops start by pedaling the front wheel up.

 

Lift your feet and weight

Although the first part of the Bunny hop and Wheelie hop are different, the rest of the motions are the same. Once you have the front wheel in the air, begin lifting your own weight up and off the bike. To do this, focus your weight on the rear wheel and move your body up, unweighting the bike.

Spring your weight up.

Roll your wrists

Once, both your front wheel and your weight are moving up it’s time to get your rear wheel off the ground. This is done when you roll your wrists and bars forward while your momentum is moving upward. Basically, your weight is moving up with the front wheel leading the way. Rolling your wrists forward redirects that upward momentum forward, leveling out the bike, and clearing the object in your path

Roll your wrists forward, leveling out the bike.

Practice on a curb

A great place to practice these hops is on a curb. Approach the curb at a slow speed, pop the front wheel up and onto the curb, then complete the motion and try to get the rear wheel up without hitting the square edge of the curb. Begin with a very low curb then work your way up to something higher. Once you are comfortable with the motion, try moving faster.

On the trail

There is a new variable that gets introduced when you use your bunny hop on the trail. That variable is the landing. While practicing on pavement, you can be confident that your landing will be onto a flat surface. On the trail, landings can be rocky and rough, couple that with your weight moving around the bike and you can get bucked off the bike rather easily. Therefore, try to keep your weight back on the bike while landing on the trail to resists getting bucked.

Slab Jab

So, while a slab jab is not technically a bunny hop, it does use a similar movement. Basically, a slab jab involves getting your front wheel up onto a tall object (like a rock or log) then pivoting the rest of the bike up onto the object using your front wheel as the fulcrum. Just like a bunny hop or wheelie hop, get your front wheel into the air, but unlike a hop, plant that front wheel onto an object. Next, while lifting your weight and rolling your wrists aggressively jab the bars forward. If done right, the jab motion will force your front wheel over the object and lift your rear wheel up onto it. With the front wheel over the object and your rear wheel on it, let off the brakes and simply roll on.

Like learning to descend, ride rocks, or any other riding skills, the bunny hop is a skill you should slowly build. Start on small objects and work within your comfort zone, maintaining control all the time. After a few months of practice, you will find that you can bounce around the trail like a bunny.

Ice Cream Sunday Smiles, or in this case it looks like an ice cream face stuffing good time. So pump up the tires and plan your next bike adventure.

Bike Pick June 11, Looks Like An Ice Cream Sunday Face Stuffing Time

Ice Cream Sunday Smiles, or in this case it looks like an ice cream face stuffing good time. So pump up the tires and plan your #NextBikeAdventure with a stop at your favorite ice cream shop.

Only in Minnesota you can ride portions of the upper Mississippi River Trail (MRT), enjoy the paths and trails around the states 10,000 lakes or hit one of the many mountain bike trails here. View more in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for Viewing Another Ice Cream Sunday Smiles,Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Need to go get a helmet? All the reasons to buy nicer helmet with fit features and ventilation to keep you cool and comfortable.

Consider Buying a Nicer Helmet That Adds Comfort to Bicycle Safety

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

While talking with a neighbor over the weekend, he told me “I need to go get a helmet….to set a good example for my son.” Knowing my background in the cycling industry, he proceeded to ask a few questions about what he should get. In our conversation, I mentioned an earlier article “Riding safely with your kids” and reviewed all the reasons to buy a helmet and how to find the right one. Then I added some additional reasons why buying a more expensive helmet is a really good option.

A Nicer Helmet Adds Comfort to Safety

First, all bicycle helmets sold in the US need to pass CPSC tests. These tests are the baseline requirements for helmet safety in the US. So, if all helmets pass the same tests, why buy a nicer helmet? Well, there are more safety features that are available for helmets, like MIPS. This makes a helmet safer, but the way it makes MIPS safer is not yet specifically tested for. So the first reason to buy a better helmet is safety.

Ventilation and weight

Beyond Safety features, the most compelling reason to buy a nicer helmet is ventilation. Ventilation is the reason helmets become more expensive. As an example, the larger holes in the helmet required for better ventilation makes it more difficult for the helmet to pass safety testing. So, to pass testing more complex molds need to be used to make the helmet, more steps are required to make the helmet and more technology is added to make the helmet. All this added process, makes the helmet both better ventilated as well as more expensive. Also, more expensive helmets are much lighter than their basic counterparts. Overall, a lighter and more ventilated helmet will be more comfortable.

The helmet on the left has a very small amount of ventilation compared to the helmet on the right

A Nicer Helmet Offers More Comfort

Another great reason to buy a nicer helmet is comfort. Nicer helmets are made in many sizes that fit different sized riders more comfortably. Additionally, they use retention mechanisms that hold the sized helmet on your head properly, so the helmet is touching your head as little as possible.

Example

As an example, Lets look at Specialized’s line of helmets. Beginning with the Align ($40), you have a well ventilated one size fits all helmet. Moving on to the Echelon 2 ($70), that helmet has larger ventilation ports, as well as 4 sizes to fit riders better. Finally, we look at the Prevail ($200) which has the largest vents, lightest weight, as well as a Kevlar, internal, roll cage to hold the helmet together on impact. It has the most refined retention mechanism and comes in many sizes to fit riders comfortably.

From left to right: Specialized Align ($40), Echelon 2 ($70), Prevail ($200) and cutaway example of the Internal Kevlar Roll Cage

Testing Helmets

First thing to do is make sure the helmet you select from the many brands available Is comfortable and fits well before you purchase it. Once you find a few helmets that seem comfortable, take them for test rides on your bike (most shops will allow this if you leave an ID behind). Concentrate on what helmet is most comfortable and best ventilated. Then, buy what feels great!

Its ice cream smiles Sunday and this cyclist has stop at her favorite sweet shop for the flavor of the day.

Bike Pic May 4, Miles of Smile Sunday, Its Ice Cream Sunday

Its ice cream smiles Sunday! Today we found this cyclist making a stop at her favorite sweet shop for the flavor of the day. Please let us know of your latest ice cream biking experience by sharing a picture on #nextbikeadventure.

Also, view the new spring Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for Viewing Our Ice Cream Smiles Sunday Pic 

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!