I think I learnt to manual yesterday. A manual is such a basic skill but turns out to be a pretty vital weapon in one’s riding repertoire.
On earlier jaunts, the approach to small to medium logs had me hauling on the anchors and carefully bumping over it. Trouble is, doing that kills all my speed -pure sacrilege! I’m discovering it is way more fun to stay smooth and thus faster, plus it’s a lot more effortless.
How I learnt to manual
I started first by rolling up to speed bumps on a quiet residential road and lofting my front wheel up onto it. Then I moved on to doing it off taller curbs.
On approach, I compressed my arms with my weight forward, then rocked back and un-weighted the front wheel, pulling on the bars, locking out my arms at the same time as rocking my hips backward and lifting my front wheel.
I found I was able to balance when my inner thighs were touching the widest part of the saddle.
I thought that a manual was just a wheelie, but it’s not. The difference is that you don’t pedal when you manual – the greater your speed, the longer you can manual. Currently I can just manual enough to get me over a small drop, log and ditch. It was scary to begin with and when I transferred my manual skills to the trail I did have to concentrate, but by the end of the ride it became something I didn’t think about so much.
Getting it right took a fair bit of patience, I saw some neighbours twitching their curtains as they saw a girl on a mountain riding up and down over a bump.
Who cares, this weekend I’m going for a five second record.