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mountain biking and biketrial skills ...vital in trials riding
Balance can be practiced everyday, with simple exercises like trying to stay on the bike stand-still at red traffic lights (that is if you're not colour blind like me), or by turning the bike around between a few marks on the ground. In bike trials competitions, every foot on the ground (dab) is a penalty, so you'd better learn how to keep yours on the bike. Bike categories include 20" wheel bikes (or mod) and 26" wheel bikes (stock bikes)

mountain biking skills
not really the best time to put a foot on the ground

And there are two main ruling organizations for trials riding, each one with its own set of rules: The UCI rules... and the BIU rules (bashguard and pedal support allowed). The more balance, the easier it is to ride along an edge in one straight line without wobbling the bars. When riding trials, its not necessary to shift gears, and you can set the gear ratio to a nearly 1:1 (from crank to cassette, in fact about 1.2 is good). Typically, the front ring has 22 or 20 teeth (granny ring in normal mountain bikes), and the rear sprocket 19 to 17 teeth (the 6th or 7th easiest speed on a 9 speeds cassette). Good brakes are a must, with large bumpy tires (2.25" or more on the rear) if you want to have a good grip on any surface. Some trials specific cranks have as little as 16 teeth on the chain ring.

Some cool ways to improve your balance.
slash The first thing you want to know is how to lift the front wheel for a wheeling or to start a few hops on the rear.
slash You 'll get on the front wheel by shifting your weight above the handlebars, for smooth repositionning of the rear wheel.
slash Make your first hops on the back wheel.
slash Then you can try a few hops on the front wheel too.
slash Use a combination of the front wheel and back wheel steps to turn the bike around and get ready for your next move.
slash Push the technique to turn 180° in one slick move.
slash You can hop sideways in small bounces, either to stay balanced, reposition the bike, or climb up some steps.
slash The wheeling is an absolute classic for kids. Learn them up a very smooth slope, by adjusting the pedal pressure.
slash Try out the wheel-swap, usually front-to-backwheel, and finish off your moves in style. Useful in some advanced techniques.

trials riding tutorials
balancing to the extreme to avoid a dab.

How to practice balance?
Ride very slowly upwards a very smooth slope, and go slower until the bike actually stops without the brakes. Then try to maintain the bike on the same spot by adjusting the pressure on the driving pedal (your preferred foot forward, right foot most of the time).

mountain biking skills
bouncing on the front wheel

If you are loosing balance, push on the pedal to carry on or twist the handle bars to get extra balance. The next step to understand balance better is to let the bike go backwards in the same slope, by decreasing the pressure in the pedals. This exercice is easier on a medium gear ratio. If you fall on the left, turn the bars on the left and shift your body on the right side of the bike (see the pic above). If you fall on the right side (below), turn the bars on the right and shift your body on the left side of the bike. If that's not enough, or if your body is already leaning too much on the right side, then extend your opposite leg on the outside to counter-balance.

trials riding tutorials

trials riding tutorials
A good exercise is to follow some lines
Kenny on a rail.

trials riding tutorials
Good brakes a must