Mountain bike jumping, the art of flying while riding
Dirt jumping a mountain bike is a blast, and we love to send it. Some of us get bigger air than others. We all love that swift rush. Ambassador Grand Godfrey, who is a 9th-grade science teacher that has some pretty sweet riding skills. We were able to catch up with him to get a few essential tips for dirt jumping a mountain bike.
1. When you're coming into a dirt jump, what are some quick body checks before you hit it?
The first and biggest thing I do is make sure I am relaxed and not tense. The biggest mistake I see people make is to come in rigid and to pull up hard with their arms and legs. You also want to gauge your speed, either by watching others or following someone who knows how fast to hit the jump. It’s better to go too fast than too slow most of the time! I see far more people crash undershooting jumps rather than overshooting them. The next thing I’m looking for is when to preload, essentially I’m compressing my suspension to gain a pop off the lip.
2. Mountain bike jumping is an art, how do you keep from doing a nose dive and going over the handlebars?
This goes back to those pre-jump checks that I mentioned earlier, being relaxed and not pulling is very important to avoid that “dead sailor” where you feel the bike rotating uncontrollably under you. A great tip I heard a few years ago was don’t try to jump until your rear wheel has left the take-off. Something that sounds counterintuitive but actually helps, even those who are just starting to jump, is to try to throw in a little style, like a table. This forces you to focus on what your body is doing in the air so you are more cognizant of what the bike is doing and this can help give you more control. Lastly, you need to realize that on most jumps your front wheel will hit the ground first, this is normal and you need to be prepared for it!
3. What is your most important tip to mountain bike cornering?
There are a few things you can do to corner better on a bike, the first one that shocks some people that have been riding for a long time is that you want to corner with your feet level, almost always. The old school way was to ride with your outside foot down, but this will try to push your bike vertical which we don’t want in a corner, you are trying to use that lean to turn, so keep those feet level. The second big tip I have is to point your hips where you want to go. This is true for flat corners and berms, that gets your body pointed in the right direction for the exit of the corner and takes you all the way around and keeps you from flying off the edge of the corner!
4. What are your top 3 mountain bike skills you encourage riders to work on?
2. Second is cornering. We talked about that just a moment ago
3. Third is technical climbing. This third one may come as a surprise since I am an enduro racer, but if you can learn how to climb technical features then you can stay on the bike more and do more riding than walking! Everyone knows that riding is more fun than walking!