After a couple weeks being off the bike due to work schedules and illness, I was finally able to get back on my trials bike for a short session in the driveway. For the 3rd time since August, I was out of commission for a week due some sort of viral infection. While it was neither COVID nor the flu this time, it did pack a punch with some pretty brutal coughing – which I’m still not completely done with after a couple weeks.

Skinnies are great for practicing balance

Needless to say, lack of sufficient exercise over a period of months for a variety of reasons combined with having my lungs brutalized yet again means my strength and stamina are at an all-time low. While I could not wait to get back on the bike, I did have to take it really easy – both because I get winded quickly, but also because I didn’t want to crash and get hurt due to being worn out. Regardless, even if I’m only able to do basic stuff, it’s better to be on the bike than not.

I figured for this ride, I’d keep things low to the ground, focusing on balance… and technique to an extent. That mean things like skinnies and small gaps. Nothing Earth-shattering. But still fun, and still helping build and maintain my skills.

One thing I decided to practice this session was rear-wheel moves on an incline. This situation always challenges me for a variety of reasons, so it’s a worthwhile thing to practice. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple setup quickly sucked my energy, so I had to leave it for other things before getting too much practice in.

Practicing rear wheel moves on an inclined surface

After messing around with the incline, I did some small gaps up and down, with more struggle than I expected. My first attempt at the (small) drop gap was actually pretty humorous. While I completely cleaned it, everything about it was just odd, with a combination of goodness and badness. I started by having the rear wheel hang up slightly on the pallet, causing a rapid lurch to throw me off balance. After regaining control at the edge of the drop, I managed to steady myself briefly with no hopping. With no real commitment, I nonchalantly pedal-kicked into the gap, barely making it to the edge of the pallet I intended to land on. Again, I somehow managed to balance on the edge for a moment or two without hopping… and amazingly, without slipping off the edge of the pallet. Once I got myself steady, I finished the line off, though not exactly the way I’d hoped – which was to stay on the rear wheel across the landing pallet. What I really did like about this attempt is that I was able to balance myself a couple times without using correction hops. While I wasn’t setting any records for the amount of time avoiding hops, I was still happy with the result.

How long can you balance in this position without hopping?
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