I’m taking the 30-day wheelie challenge

What could possibly go wrong?

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I’ve been practicing wheelies on and off for years but have never mastered the skill. Hopefully by practicing daily and following Ryan Leech’s advice, I’ll soon be popping effortless wheelies.

I’ve been practicing wheelies on and off for years but have never mastered the skill. Hopefully by practicing daily and following Ryan Leech’s advice, I’ll soon be popping effortless wheelies.

Before I hang up my wheels for good, there’s a number of tricks I’d like to master. That list includes wheelies, manuals, fakies, and the half cab. My reach goal is spinning flat 180s. If that all sounds like made up shit, that’s ok. Like myself, you probably didn’t have a childhood. Essentially these tricks are the basic building blocks of every BMX video segment you’ve ever seen.

I’ve been casually practicing these tricks on and off for years but have never reached the effortless proficiency of a life long BMXer. I’d like to lay the blame on a childhood spent playing ball sports and reading science fiction, but the truth is I never put in the time.

Now here’s where bad ideas and a fifth of whiskey converge. You see, if over the course of a decade I’ve never found the time to practice these tricks consistently, why would that ever change? It might IF I found a startlingly dumb way to force and embarrass myself to practice consistently… which leads us to the crux of this post (and why drinking with coworkers is a bad idea).

I’m going to take Ryan Leech’s 30 Day Wheelie Challenge. Ryan is a world class trials rider and skills coach who has created an online course that helps breaks down the various skills required to wheelie. It starts with the basics such as equipment and quickly progresses to cover front wheel lifts and braking techniques.

Over the course of the next month, I’ll be posting weekly updates on my progress – including some poorly shot GoPro footage.

Currently, the average length of time I can wheelie is 10 seconds or between 10 and 13 pedal strokes. To pull off a wheelie that long, however, I need perfection conditions. Think perfectly flat pavement, no adoring crowds, and a pace somewhere around a fast limp. My main problem is that I haven’t figured out how to sit in a wheelie without pedaling, so once I start gaining speed I have to shift or brake, which brings me crashing back down to reality.

So here goes nothing. Wish me luck!


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  • tb says:

    You have a very good start. I had about the same starting point when I started trying to master the wheelie. I could get the occasional 50 footer under the right conditions, but that was about it.

    I’m happy to say that with a ton of practice I can now wheelie for a really long time. I did not use the 30 day challenge course (it wasn’t around yet). I found that getting my hips into it, and really stretching my arms out help a ton. Oh, and if you’re on flat pedals, try riding with your foot toward the outside of the pedal. It just gives you more control over leaning. Think wider stance if it were a ball sport. Good luck!

  • Elvis says:

    it is way easier with a fat bike and very low tire pressure, as that will slow down
    things quite a bit.
    Get a bike with 4.8 surly tires and short chain stays, like the Salsa blackborow.
    You’ll need a wider seat not to hurt your genitals, a 5″ rise and wide bmx handlebar
    does help a ton as well.
    Get you focus far ahead, not on the street in front of you.
    Always think about getting forward, not upward.
    If the wheel comes down, shift into a higher gear, that will make
    the wheel rise again.
    I mastered the wheelie at age 47, do it all the time now,
    the local kids call me “dr.wheelie”, I am beyond lucky.
    cheers.

  • solitone says:

    So, any update? Still practicing? I started just 10 days ago, and now I’ll be taking Ryan’s wheelie challange too. Good luck!

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