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Mountain Bike Skills
Get Over It: Clear Any Log
Nothing slows your roll like a fallen tree blocking the trail. Super-D national champion Adam Craig shows you how to easily ride over any log in your path.
ByBrian Fiske
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The Expert: According to 2011 Super D national champ Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team), there are two ways to get over logs greater than, say, a foot in diameter. One is to bunny hop them. (“Anything you can clear cleanly with your mad hopping skills, you should, without skipping a beat,” Craig says.) Eventually, however, you’re sure to find an obstacle that outsizes your jumping ability. That’s when you need to employ the tap-and-clean technique, which Craig says is “more intimate with the log than the distant, almost disrespectful bunny hop.” Here’s how to do it.

 

First, slow down. Speed is your friend when you’re hopping, but the tap technique is slower and more deliberate—and thus more reliable, Craig says. Approach the log or fallen tree at jogging speed, pedals level, slightly crouched, butt off the saddle, elbows bent and ready to rock—the next moves happen in one smooth motion.

 

Get forward and up. Your goal is to maintain your speed and skip your bike onto (and over) the obstacle. To do that, Craig says your first motion is to thrust the bike forward with your hands, feet and hips; lead with your hands and eyes, your feet and hips follow. Pull up on your handlebar when you reach the apex of this thrust, levering the front wheel onto the log with the help of your feet and hips.

 

Get over, part 1. Your front wheel should tap the log at about the eleven o'clock position. As it rebounds off the log and bounces up, unweight your feet and bike by rapidly uncoiling your legs, allowing your hips to move up and over the log. “That same rebound energy from your front wheel has now carried it over the log,” Craig explains, “which is where you've been looking this whole time anyway.” Right?

 

Get over, part 2. If you’ve timed this right, your rear wheel is now set up for a similar tap. (If not, there could be more of an impact that you might need to pedal through…but we’ll assume you timed it right.) “Since your hips are already over at this point, this tap is usually a formality,” Craig says. “Kind of like the European kiss greeting, sometimes I skip it entirely.” On taller logs, shift your weight back as you roll off the backside, which will prevent you from flipping over the bars.

 

Improvise. “This approach also works great over a series of logs,” Craig says. “The energy from landing the first continues you over the second, and so on.” He also notes that, if things are super slow and tight approaching the log, you can use a pedal kick to start the process instead of the forward-and-up thrust—you wheelie to the front tire tap and continue as planned. And now you’re ready to ride over whatever’s on the trail.



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