So you bought your BMX bike and safety gear, and now you’re ready to shred at the local skatepark. Once there, you roll up to the top of the half-pipe, start to pedal in, and then glance down the ramp. . . .
Wow, that’s pretty tall, isn’t it?
Though dropping in on halfpipes, ramps, hips, and quarterpipes can be intimidating, it’s easier-and safer-than you think. In just three easy steps, you’ll be bombing straight into the ramp, instead of chickening out on the side.
How to Drop into a Halfpipe or Ramp:
- First, survey the pipe or ramp for any obstructions. If there’s a chain link fence nearby you’re likely to hit if things go wrong, you’ll want to be ready to compensate. Also, check for other skaters and riders. Hitting another person at the park isn’t just unfriendly, it’s also dangerous! More than one shin has been broken by a BMX rider sideswiping a skater with their pegs. Take a good look around before starting to roll in.
- Next, roll along beside the pipe, making sure you’re completely parallel to the coping. One or two cranks should be more than enough speed to drop in. Once you’re comfortable, gently angle the bike toward the ramp. If you drop in at an angle, instead of going perpinduclarly into the drop, you’ll avoid hitting your crank assembly on the lip. Hitting the crank creates a jar that has sent more than one rider over the bars and headlong into the ramp they’d hope to roll peacefuly into. Remember to approach the lip of the ramp at an angle, preferrably rolling out of a parallel motion and up to the coping.
- Finally, gently lift the front tire of the bike and ease your weight forward into the ramp. You don’t have to worry too much about your center of gravity, as-unlike on a skateboard-the bike and physics will do most of the work for you. The front tire will touch just on the other side of the coping and start to roll in. As the bike picks up speed, the back should roll right over the coping and into the ramp. Once you’re fully in the pipe, feel free to correct for the angle you entered at, and straighten out the bike. After that, the work is done. You’ll pick up speed on the down transition, shoot up the other side, and then hang briefly in the air before gravity pulls you down and starts the process over again.
The first several times you drop in, you might not feel comfortable going fast down the ramp. Don’t worry about falling, as the bike will keep you up without much effort. Instead, try to focus on getting used to the speed and momentum, as being comfortable is key to doing well in BMX. After you’ve been riding a while you’ll start to get a feel for just how much speed you need to get up the transitions, or to do a trick at the lip. Practice makes perfect, so get out there and ride!
That’s all there is to dropping in! Though it sounds complicated, the motion will be smooth and fluid without too much work, and you’ll be looking like a pro at the park in no time.
Good luck, and happy riding!
Trimix, “Drop In.” BMX Zone