Desflurane's Romaniacs Blog

Chronicle of My Participation in the World's Toughest Enduro Rally – Again…

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I’ll take help wherever I can find it…

Posted by desflurane on April 25, 2012

I had a window of perhaps an hour available for riding yesterday. My son’s first T-ball game was at 5:00pm and there was no way I could miss it. So at about 4:00 I just broke out the bike and did some skills practice in the vacant lots adjacent to my house.

All went well. I have been working on riding the full-height wheelies, slow-riding, wheel stands, etc. It was all coming along nicely.

A kid of about 11 or 12 was riding by on his bicycle. He stopped and watched me ride for ten or fifteen minutes. I continued working on the wheelies, some wheelie-turns and finally some stoppies. The stoppies weren’t going quite as famously, I just wasn’t getting the back off the ground reliably.

As I was turning around at the end of the lot, I heard the kid yelling something to me. I couldn’t make it out, so I rode over to him and shut the motor down.

“For the stoppies,” he said confidently, “you need a little more speed, and really lean forward when you grab the brake.”

I was more or less in stunned silence for a second there! I have to say that I’m not really accustomed to receiving advice from twelve-year-olds.

Of course, he was exactly right, however.

I replied that yes, that was what I needed to do, that stoppies – like most tricks on a dirt bike – require confidence first and foremost. When you really give it a whole-hearted effort, it usually works out much better than the feeble attempts that feel much safer.

You have to give up on trying to do it half-way. On reflection, what I was really trying to do was to NOT perform a good stoppie. I was going too slowly, not leaning forward and loading the suspension, and lazily grabbing the front brake lever. The technique was working perfectly. It very reliably produced a little front wheel skid that didn’t get the rear wheel more than an inch or two off the ground!

After talking to the kid for a few more minutes, I went back to riding – having realized the error of my approach. Within seconds I had done some very respectable stoppies – even on the loose, gravelly dirt that I usually blame for my lack of stoppie success!

He did compliment me on my wheelies however…


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