Wheelies

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Redvee
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Joined: 8 Mar 2010, 8:58pm

Re: Wheelies

Postby Redvee » 17 Dec 2020, 1:17am

matt2matt2002 wrote::?
I dont want to do a back flip!


I managed that as a kid :oops: We'd ridden to Bath along the railway path in the early days approx 40 years ago, and riding through the shopping centre I thought I'd be clever and show off so pulled a wheelie on my Raleigh Chipper and got it perfect and pulled up on the bars as I pedalled and next thing I knew I was on my back with the bike falling to the side. I got no sympathy from my Dad whatsoever.

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Wheelies

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Dec 2020, 1:27am

Brucey wrote:Getting a straight lift is the first thing to learn and many people take it for granted. Once up, wheelie steering is a lot like unicycle steering; you shift your bodyweight upstairs and this twists the (rear) wheel slightly and in combination with your pedalling effort and forward motion this helps to maintain the side-to-side balance.


The fact that people take a 'straight lift' for granted is a good summation of why I'm posting this. If you look at the YouTube guides, they all skim over this, despite it being the most nuanced part of the whole manoeuvre. I've genuinely spent months riding back and forth trying to master it, and have only just discovered that there's a specific thing that you need to do in order to make it happen reliably, and I'm now pretty sure I could teach a novice how to do it within a day. I do a few other daft sports and in all of them I've found that a thoughtful teacher can save you months/years of frustration.

I take your point about uni-cycling. I did have a failed attempt on a mate's one when I was a student, but I can imagine that much of that physical skill would transfer to steering a wheelie. I'm slowly developing the ability to steer the bike with my butt, but I could have short-cut the whole process and saved months of frustration if I'd been able to reliably get the front wheel up straight - giving me a few seconds to experiment with using my hips/shoulders/head to steer. It's actually been surprisingly good exercise, but I'd still have taken the quicker option had it been available.

9494arnold
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

Re: Wheelies

Postby 9494arnold » 17 Dec 2020, 9:42am

Can I suggest that, if you have access to such a Beast, try it on a Bike you aren't too bothered about.
Very easy to bend cranks etc etc if it goes horribly wrong.
I'd start with just gently lifting the front wheel an inch or so just to get used to the sensation. Just lean back a bit and pull up gently.

I too tried very hard to Unicycle at the age of about 45 and failed miserably.
My son regularly rides Unicycles, he has a 6 foot Giraffe Unicycle an has just acquired a Unicycle with a 36" wheel.
But he is mad.

st599_uk
Posts: 379
Joined: 4 Nov 2018, 8:59pm

Re: Wheelies

Postby st599_uk » 17 Dec 2020, 10:16am



I wheelied a Brompton too far once, couldn't get the front wheel back down and ended up having to find a hedge to fall off in to.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Wheelies

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Dec 2020, 11:57am

st599_uk wrote:


That video is a good example of what I was talking about above:

DevonDamo wrote:The fact that people take a 'straight lift' for granted is a good summation of why I'm posting this. If you look at the YouTube guides, they all skim over this, despite it being the most nuanced part of the whole manoeuvre.


(If you watch from 1min 45 seconds, you'll see him devoting less than 5 seconds to this difficult and highly-nuanced bit of the movement.)

Stevek76
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Joined: 28 Jul 2015, 11:23am

Re: Wheelies

Postby Stevek76 » 17 Dec 2020, 12:50pm

A bug bear I have with most explainers on manuals/bunny hops is the idea that you shouldn't 'pull up with your arms/on your handlebars'. Obviously it is basic physics that a force has to be exerted on the handle bars as the front isn't coming up otherwise so this simply comes across as confusing.

What they usually mean by this is to pull with straight arms using them to transmit the bodyweight shift through, not to bend them and try and lift the front up with the biceps but it's a really clumsy way of saying it.

As far as videos go, ones where someone who can't do them is being taught or learning for themselves are considerably more useful I think.

mattheus
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Location: Western Europe

Re: Wheelies

Postby mattheus » 17 Dec 2020, 1:18pm

DevonDamo wrote: For example, one key learning point which has genuinely taken me months to work out is that you simply have to exert equal finger pressure on the forward-edge of your handlebars during and after the 'pop' in order to lift your front wheel up straight - none of the YouTube videos tell you that. If someone had been able to explain that to me, it would have saved me months of frustration(!) So the reason for bumping this ancient thread is to see whether there are any elderly-but-articulate wheelie-ninjas who'd be able to suggest short-cuts on my road to becoming a 13yr-old hooligan wheelie master.


Great post Damo! Nice to see someone that understands the nuances of training - it's not as simple as "Watch what i do and copy!" I might even have another go (on the CX bike) over christmas.

Having said all that, i don't understand this:
you simply have to exert equal finger pressure on the forward-edge of your handlebars during and after the 'pop' in order to lift your front wheel up straigh

... it's probably one of those things that is easier to demonstrate, or teach physically.

When teenage Matt rode BMXes, I wasn't great at wheelies, but I don't recall a straight lift being an issue. I don't think we did "manuals" - we pedalled out of the saddle, which I think has a different name. And did anyone else do "British" bunnyhops??

DevonDamo
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Re: Wheelies

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Dec 2020, 2:11pm

Stevek76 wrote:As far as videos go, ones where someone who can't do them is being taught or learning for themselves are considerably more useful I think.


You've nailed it. The instructional videos by experts are usually a total waste of time - in particular the hundreds of ones from young lads who have superhuman abilities at the wheelie, but are just incapable of explaining. It's generally the videos from struggling older weirdos like myself which have led to the Eureka moments.

mattheus wrote:Having said all that, i don't understand this:
you simply have to exert equal finger pressure on the forward-edge of your handlebars during and after the 'pop' in order to lift your front wheel up straigh

... it's probably one of those things that is easier to demonstrate, or teach physically.


Yep, I'm pondering whether to put a video on YouTube, once I've finally cracked it - that would hopefully get the point across more clearly, and might help out some other old gits like me who've been struggling. It may well be that the 'straight lift' isn't such a problem for everyone, but a quick look through the mountain bike forums suggests there are a lot of similarly-frustrated people out there. I'll try to explain what I mean a bit more clearly:

Once you've reached the stage where you can easily get your front wheel up to and beyond the balance point, and you're 100% confident that you'll always save yourself with your back brake when necessary, the next stage is balancing - both forward/backward and side-to-side. Forward/backward balancing is all about applying the right amount of pedal power and rear brake, as well as moving your head and upper body forward and back. Side-to-side balancing is something to do with shifting your butt around whilst your head stays in roughly the same position - but that's all I can say about it as I haven't cracked that yet.

The problem is: in order to develop the physical reactions you need to do these two balancing movements, you need time. And people like me find that more often than not, when we get our front wheel up, we're already off-balance sideways so you immediately turn sharply to one side and have to brake and drop your wheel. This doesn't give you any useful time to practice the brake feathering, butt-steering etc. Only once in a blue moon do you 'pop' and find you're balanced and the bike is going straight, and then you'll find you can wobble along for 2 or 3 seconds before you lose balance and have to drop the wheel. Those 3 seconds are precious, however, I guess I was getting a truly straight lift less than 1 out of 10 attempts. If you came up straight 100% of the time, you'd get vastly more balancing and brake-feathering practice. The fundamental problem is that your body is trying to twist during the 'pop' because one of your legs is forcing hard down on the pedal. I tried all sorts of ways to counter this, including:

- bending my arms equally and then slamming my elbows inwards simultaneously to ensure both arms straightened simultaneously during the 'pop.'
- 'punching' my palms down equally on the bars so that the suspension would bounce both arms back equally.
- trying to visualise both my shoulders pushing backwards equally,
- quickly following my left pedal stroke with a right pedal stroke to even up the twisting moment on my body
- and so on...

All of the above made improvements, but none achieved what I was after - i.e. a reliable straight 'pop.' However, I've now cracked it and it's very simple. I keep one finger on both brakes (you only need your rear brake, but I do this so that my left and right hands are in identical positions), slowly lean forward so my elbows are slightly bent (no rapid pushing down 'to compress the suspension' nonsense) and then, whilst pushing down with the pedal, I pull back on the bars, trying to pull exactly the same amount of force through the fingers of my left and right hands. So my fingers are pulling backwards throughout the pop, i.e. my palms aren't touching the bars at all - it's all on the inside of my fingers. It sounds daft, but just by focusing on applying an equal backward pulling pressure on the inside of your fingers, you can reliably get the bike up straight. That's a huge, and very recent, victory for me - but it's just the enabler for the next stage, i.e. learning how to steer a sodding bike with your backside...
Last edited by DevonDamo on 17 Dec 2020, 3:26pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mick F
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Re: Wheelies

Postby Mick F » 17 Dec 2020, 2:52pm

Remember my Raleigh Chopper?
:D
Chopper+Trailer.JPG


When I first rode the thing, the wheelies were easy and rather undesired!
Soon realised that I needed a front rack with weight to hold the damned thing down.

I modified the gearing for my JOGLE on it ........... double chainset and a double sprocket system ............. and the bottom gear was easy to do a wheelie even though there was weight in the front. It took some practice to stop it ........... and the weight in the trailer wasn't any help to stop wheelies at all, so don't think it was!

You need weight at the front ................. and technique.
Mick F. Cornwall

jb
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Location: Clitheroe

Re: Wheelies

Postby jb » 17 Dec 2020, 3:12pm

10 yrs eh, I wonder if Mat mastered it? :)
Cheers
J Bro

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Wheelies

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Dec 2020, 3:17pm

Mick F wrote:Remember my Raleigh Chopper?


That thing is inspired! When I was a kid, me and my mates did our paper rounds on 'racers' whilst the dodgy kids from the estate went round on knackered old choppers, grifters etc or old wrecks kitted out with cow-horn handlebars or upside-down drops. I ought to have hung around with them instead - I probably wouldn't be in the embarrassing position of learning to wheelie at my age.

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Mick F
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Re: Wheelies

Postby Mick F » 17 Dec 2020, 3:50pm

There is lots on here somewhere about it.
Some of it is on the Old Forum before this one.
Some of us go back two re-incarnations of this one.

The Chopper was given to me.
Long story, but the best idea is to read my blog.
They read back-to-front, so you need to start at the bottom.

http://jogleonachopper.blogspot.com

I wish I'd not sold it. :oops:
Mick F. Cornwall