We have added another new feature on the Red Biogen Route that may need a few tips to make it easier to conquer successfully. Actually, if the Red Route is not quite your thing yet, just keep on reading as a skinny is like any other bridge but just a bit more narrow and the same tricks apply:
- The basics 1: Riding skinnies may not seem that exciting due to the lack of the speed element and it may damage your bike/body/ego if you fail. So why skinnies? It is pretty challenging and great to successfully complete a section, but most of all, it teaches you to control your bike. The trick is that bike control at a low speed is much more challenging than at a higher speed without the stabilising centrifugal forces from your rotating wheels. At low speed you need to use your body to control the bike. Mastering this will make you a much better bike handler, also at speed.
- The Usual: Look where you want to go. Half the job of completing a skinny is to focus on where you need to go. Look to the side and you will not hold your line and fall off. This is actually why a lot of accidents happen on a straight road while everyone thinks; how is it possible to crash here?
- Position: Stand up in the attack position. This makes sure that your weight is on your pedals so your centre of gravity is low, which gives you more control. Added bonus: you are ready if you need to bail.
- Stay loose: Don’t freeze but relax and try to steer with your core. The best way to practice this is to ride without hands. Pick a piece of quiet, wide and smooth gravel road and try to ride without hands and control the bike (if you really cannot get it to work, check if your headset is not too tight).
- Another trick; To help you understand what is needed to balance the bike, is get off the bike, hold the saddle and walk/push your bike. You will see that the bike wants to fall into a corner. The longer you wait with a correction the more difficult it becomes to be straight again. These corrections are what you are doing with your core when riding without hands.
- In case of failure: Like riding in general, you will fall sooner or later. The good thing is that you are prepared because you are riding already in the attack position. If you feel it is going wrong the last thing you want to do is put a foot down. Don’t just ride on the skinny because of the lower speed your front wheel will drop first and you go head down first. Try to wheelie off and land on your rear wheel to absorb the impact.
Bonus tip: It is not as hard as you think. Just take the last section of gravel road towards the gumtrees. Both the left and right side of the road can be quite soft and everyone is riding the middle line for 150 meters without any issues. This section is 10 times longer and 3 times narrower than the skinny bridge. Just practice riding it slow and you will nail the skinny too.