Learning to fly


It lies in wait, hidden in the undergrowth and waits to catch you unawares. Daunting, dangerous, defeatable. Many of the obstacles on a mountain bike trail are challenging; narrow gaps, steep drops or a log structure that makes you girdle your loins and race to certain doom on the hidden side but the most fearsome for some is the natural jump.

Some people never jump but everyone can learn to jump, at least a little. Everyone who has tried has learned to jump within the hour irrespective of talent or bike. To become expert requires re-birth as a child, a skatepark nearby and long summer days filled with grazed knees. For the rest of us a basic proficiency allows us to ride most trails and occasionally experience the thrill of hanging effortless in the air.

The first jump is smaller than your shoe and requires the skill. Ten to twenty attempts and usually the skill is fixed in place.

The second jump requires no more skill but a little courage to learn the confidence trick. Ten of these and hope is building.

The third jump only needs dismissal of the little knot in your stomach. It allows you to fly if you just pedal.

Any bike, any rider, just an hour.


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