I had been practicing wheelie drops (also known as "slow drops to flat") this summer so that I could have decent chance of managing a fall off a high skinny without getting hurt.
As I mentioned last week, I want to attempt The Browner, the difficult high stockade skinny at Hillside Park in Elk River.
Why a wheelie drop? I read this this advice from someone named “guest_s” who posted to the MORC forum discussion back in 2010:
If a skinny is any higher than 1 foot or so off the ground, don’t try it if you can’t bunny hop or wheelie drop. Learn those two things first so when you do feel you will slip or fall off the side, just bunny hop or wheelie drop and ride away. If you can’t do this, you will endo (go over the bars) if your front wheel comes off…..and endo’ing is about the most unsafe thing to do.
I can do wheelie drops now but not within the split second or so of losing my balance on a skinny. Maybe someday. But in the meantime, I discovered by accident that I could jump off my bike’s pedals as I lost my balance and land on my feet. So I’ve recently been practicing this dismounting.
I started with planned dismounts while riding on top of block wall of various heights. The wall was wide so that I didn’t have to worry about keeping my balance. I wanted to get the basic dismount motion down till I was confident I could jump off either side of the bike.
I then practiced dismounts while riding a narrow curb. The idea was to only jump when I actually lost my balance because the reaction time would have to be quicker.
Lastly, I practiced on a wet log that was 18 inches or so off the ground. I wanted to see if I could still jump off if my front wheel slipped off first. The verdict? The jury is still out. A front wheel can slip off so quickly that you’re plunging downwards before you’re able to jump, or so it seems. I guess I won’t really know till I’m high up and it happens. <GULP>
Here’s a 90-second video of me practicing the dismounts as described above: