Unlike mountain bike racing, the core of dirt jumping is the tricks. The jumps, the loops, the twirls in the air. When done properly, the sport looks almost like a dance; strong, artistic, and beautiful to watch. It takes years to reach a level where serious competition is possible and even then, without the right tricks, there is still the risk of losing.
Bike jumps, while not strictly considered part of the tricks the sport is famous for, are still considered the backbone of the sport. Since a lot of these tricks are performed midair, knowing how and when to jump is crucial for them to succeed. The amount of different jumps is astounding, and the most common of them is known as the double. It consists of two parts, the take-off and the landing, and is also known as the gap jump. Another jump that is important is the tabletop, and this is the jump those who vaguely know the sport recognize. It is three parts: take-off, table, and landing. The roller jump is based of this one.
The part dirt jumpers enjoy most though is the tricks, and they are also the most fun to watch. As long as you have a good grasp on how to do the jumps, these tricks will almost seem easy to you. The first trick is known as the tabletop but is different than the jump by the same name. It is performed by turning the side of the bike at a 90 degrees angle, either to the side or further up depending on your routine. The second is called the whip and, as its name suggests, depends on flipping the back of the bike to the side. There are many others, such as no hander where the jumper rides with both hands loose in the air, or suicide which is similar to the no hander but requires both hands to be stretched back as far as possible.
With the proper equipment these tricks, no matter how dangerous they may sound, may not result in serious injuries. Equipment in this case is not only the bike but protective gear as well. Shorts and a tight-fitted shirt to allow free movement, in addition to wrist supports and protective elbow and knee pads go a long way towards keeping the rider safe. A helmet is always a must, and goggles are recommended to keep the sand and sun out of your eyes.
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