Part 3: Skinnies
First off, what is a skinny?
A skinny is a thin or narrow feature (roughly 12" wide or narrower) you can ride your bike along that is often somewhat elevated off the ground and most often made of wood (either planks or logs).
The skinnies are probably the most underestimated and underutilized station at Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park. Most people look at the maze of logs, planks, teeter totters, and bridges and need help figuring out what to do or where to go.
Hint Hint: you choose your own adventure!
Benefits of riding and practicing skinnies:
Balance > Build natural balance and learn how to balance your bike at low speeds without relying on momentum to keep you upright.
Coordination > Improve your bike handling and control. Learn different wheel placement techniques and get a better understanding of how the front and rear wheels track differently. This is incredibly helpful in slow and technical sections of the trail.
Comfort > Get comfortable riding within confined sections of the trail (bridges or skinnies on the trail) and riding at varying heights. This can allow you to ride a wider variety of trails with confidence.
Our top tips to help you ride skinnies better:
Have an exit strategy > Skinnies are often not ridden successfully on the first handful of attempts, so have an exit strategy of how you'll either get off the skinny or dismount your bike when you start losing your balance and can't recover it.
Eyes on the prize > Look a couple of bike lengths ahead of you on the skinny or to the next curve/bend. You go where you look, so look where you want to go! Remember to keep moving your eyes forward.
Standing is better > Standing will help you move the bike underneath you and you will retain better balance than staying seated. If you need to pedal, get low and wide, hovering over your seat. If you can coast, use a nice and tall neutral position.
Ratcheting and braking > If you need to create momentum but not increase your speed, try ratcheting followed by braking. Ratcheting can also help with your balance.
Take your front wheel wide on corners > The tighter the corner or bend, the wider the front wheel needs to go to prevent the back wheel from riding off the skinny on the inside from trying to cut you off.
If skinnies are new for you and you're struggling to balance on your bike at slow speeds, we would love to work with you to ensure you understand and build the proper foundation this winter. Our Groundwork MTB Fundamentals Course runs three cohorts over the winter and is the perfect course. It will leave you feeling confident to hit the trails in the Spring.
If you're ready to challenge yourself with the next level and tackle more challenging skinnies, our Level Up Workshop Series also runs three cohorts over the winter and is the perfect course to take your bike handling skills and skinnies riding to the next level!