Side hop starters
The side hop is a powerful mix of the back hop and pedal hop techniques. It combines the body language of both techniques with extra momentum sideways so
that you land on the obstacle next to you.
Start with both wheels on the ground
Nicolas Agyemang pulls his bike up to land on top.
There are plenty of variations and subtleties around the side hop, but learning the "plain vanilla" version with both wheels on the ground will help you understand all the basics.
What's more, starting with both wheels on the ground, you don't have to struggle on the rear wheel, it is somehow easier on muddy terrain, and you can take advantage of both wheels to push-up on the ground before take-off.
Start from a trackstand position with the obstacle on your lazy foot side. Both brakes locked, crouch back on the bike to compress both tyres while pre-loading your front pedal.
You should end up with your arms stretched, your bum over the rear wheel ready to transfer all the compression over the rear tyre.
At full compression, spring up into a full jump impulse and straighten both your arms and legs to concentrate the full impulse on the rear tyre.
Crouch to compress both tyres before you jump.
Carry on with a firm extension, keeping your arms straight to maintain pressure on the ground as you move up on your front pedal to give a firm pedal kick.
Pull on the handlebars to lift the front wheel up as you kick in your front pedal. Keep pushing on the ground during the full jump impulse but skew your impulse sideways by leaning your
shoulders slightly over the obstacle, away from your strong foot.
You are ready to take-off when your arms are fully stretched again after a full extension standing on the rear wheel.
Tuck your knees up to follow up on your vertical momentum, lifting the bike up with you.
Like in a bunny hop, you will end up fully tucked in mid-air. You can level up the bike by pushing the handlebars forward. This will help you to lift the rear wheel further as you maintain the
tucked position. Apply pedal back-force to re-adjust the bike beneath you and over the step you want to side hop.
Gravity takes over very quickly, land both wheels locked to secure a good grip on the obstacle, resist the temptation of putting your lazy foot down, keep your feet on the pedals and find your balance.
Click on any step below and use the scroll-wheel to move through the animation.
A simple side hop
1° Start from a trackstand position with the obstacle on your lazy foot side. Crouch back on the bike to compress both tyres, both brakes locked
2° At full compression, spring up into a full jump impulse and straighten both your arms and legs to concentrate the full impulse on the rear tyre.
3° Carry on with a firm extension, pull on the handlebars to lift the front wheel up as you kick in your front pedal.
4° Tuck your knees up to follow up on your vertical momentum and firm up your arms to lift the bike up with you.
5° You end up fully tucked in mid-air. You can level up the bike by pushing the handlebars forward. This will lift the rear wheel further up.
6° Gravity takes over very quickly, land both wheels locked to secure a good grip on the obstacle.
Watch all the slow-motion video clips for this move
Adjust the bike underneath you
Tucking flat out to level the bike up.
To hop sideways, lean your shoulders slightly over the obstacle during take-off to skew the whole impulse towards the step.
The bike follows naturally when you pull it up and you can easily re-adjust it with your shoulders so it lands parallel to your initial position on the ground.
Focus on your departure
At the beginning, it is quite common to fall back sideways, because your centre of gravity may be off-balance from the edge you are trying to reach.
From the beginning to the end, focus on the area where you want to land. Start on any street kerb and build up your skills from there.
Work out your jump impulses to be as explosive as possible, very much like for a squat jump. Plyometric workouts are one way to improve the speed and elasticity of your muscles,
improving on contraction explosiveness. Big bouncy tyres at low pressure do help to be smooth.