Could someone give me some advice on manualling? I can't figure out how to do it? What some ways to practice that are less punishing than cruising down the street and fallin off the back of my bike? Thanks for any help.
Manualing comes relatively overnight if you learn to wheelie first. (Killer advice huh?) I set my rr brake lever tighter than usual for immediate, one-finger actuation when needed. The more you lean back off the bike, the bigger your "sweet-spot-of-balance is." The humping part is pretty important too.
keep your arms bent! most people keep their arms streight and complain about how long it took them to learn them. if you arent strong enough to keep em bent, then work out. to start, just do a half-bronco. you can feather you brakes to keep the front end down. and yeh, find a grass feild, i ate it hard when i was first learning em. the trick is to find the balance point over your rear wheel, not to keep the front wheel up, if you can find that balance point, you barely need to shift your body back and forth.
The faster you go the more stable your bike is. I wouldn't use your brakes unless you're going over backwards. It's all in the knees. Once you get up into a manualling position, bend your knees to shift your body slightly forward or backward. Once you get it down you'll barely be moving your body to keep the bike up and it becomes very graceful. And steer the bike with your knees by holding one out to steer that way. Fun times....
Here's a sampler...(with some other stuff) right click save as...
one advice on the bike humping, you need pressure on your pedals. The humping motion transfers to the bike, so find the spot where you can apply pressure to your pedals. You can actually hump the bike and get a crap result because you may be too high up. Other piece, start really low down with your ass almost on the back tire and move up. For me, my sweet spot on my mountain bike is right over the seat and not over the tire.
here is a great way to learn to keep balance,
ride at about walking speed then grap a handful of front brake, just enough to make your rear wheel get about 2 feet off the ground, then lean back while holding the rear brake until you are just on your rear wheel, now try to balance as long as you can. if you can hold this position for about 5 seconds, get going at about jogging speed and yank up and back on the handle bars, and move your weight so that it remains directly above the rear wheel, now you can keep your front wheel elevated in two ways, one you can drop your weight lower as you tug on the bars, two you can tug on the bars while pumping your knees. and youve got yourself a manual. another good tip is if you know how to wheelie then get a wheelie going and stop pedaling and see if you can keep the front wheel up.
Another tip that helps with manuals is the positioning of your feet. Pointing your toes slightly upward while digging in with the heels of your feet helps. When getting into position dig in with your heels while pulling back on your bars (think of the front coming up like the front of an airplane taking off, you want a smooth transition, not jerky movements). If the front wheel starts to drop, dig with your heels in. If you start to loop out, tap your brake and bend your knees slightly. Keep your head as and all parts above your waist as still as possible to maintain your balance. It's more in your legs than in your arms.
keep the knees bent. bow them out if you can. this will give you more room to adjust your position. like in any sport, it is tough to move your balance when your knees are locked.
try finding a good gear ratio that will allow you to give a small pedal kick to bring the front of the bike up. rear brake keeps the front down. small pedal kicks help get it back up. if your gear ratio is too low, you will extend your leg too much and lock it out (see my advice above). too high a ratio and you will have a hard time kicking the front up.
as for falling left and right. concentrate on your arms when you pull the front of the bike up. i find that i pull my bar to the right side. this turns the wheel and the balance. i keep trying to get that bad habit out of my system, but it keeps hanging around. also, speed is your friend. the physicis of a spinning wheel will keep the bike upright. the faster the spin, the more the this will show. keep in mind that if you have a spinning front wheel and you turn it, the physics will torque your bike sideways.