Master a few essential cycling techniques for a safer (and more fun) bicycle commute.

Bunny Hop

Biking SkillsPurpose: This basic skill allows you to jump the bike over road debris, potholes and over curbs. Use it to avoid potential road hazards and to up your street cred.

Master it: You can bunny hop your bike by either lifting the front wheel followed by the rear or by jumping both wheels at the same time. Practice your first bunny hops on the grass or at least out of traffic. Clear your bike of any panniers and excess gear at first. Begin by setting a low object down and then roll toward it at a medium speed. As you approach the obstacle, keep you arms and legs loose and the bike light. Place your feet in the nine and three o’clock position.  Crouch down just above the saddle. Then, in one quick, fluid motion, explode your body weight upward, pulling the bike straight into the air. Visualize pouncing cats and trampolines to help you levitate.

Track Stand

Bicycle TricksPurpose: A track stand allows you to stop in traffic or at a red light without your feet ever touching the ground. Not only will this move gain you points from other urban cyclists, but it will also score you a quicker and more stable getaway should a car encroach on your space.

Master it: Practice on a slight incline with your bike heading uphill. Opt for flat pedals, as they will likely save you from potential humiliation and tipping over onto the pavement. Begin by pedaling up to the incline and slowly braking until you come to a standstill. Turn your front wheel slightly to one side and stand up, keeping your feet in the three and nine o’clock position. Feather the front brake as you roll back slightly and put enough pressure on the pedals to roll back uphill should you begin to lose your balance. The key is to rock ever so slightly back and forth as you keep the bike upright.

Look behind while riding in a straight line

Purpose: Whenever you suddenly turn your head to scope out a potential hazard or to see if the lane is clear, your bike veers in the same direction.  Straighten your line and prevent a collision.

Master it: Just before you swivel your head, check the lane in front of you for potential hazards. If you’re looking over your left shoulder, drop your right arm as your head turns. Keep a loose grip on the bar as your elbow bends. You can also move your right hand to the center of the bar. Practice this in both directions and eventually it will become second nature.

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