Glossary Of Terms
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used as verb, when a rider resists compressive forces generated by the trail using their legs. We often refer to this as firming up your quads or resisting the bike moving up into us
|verb, the method of generating speed through undulating terrain by “pressing” down the backside of terrain with the arms and then the legs. We often see this technique used on pump tracks to generate speed but it can also be used on the trail to generate speed on all kinds of undulating terrain. Riders can pump the back of rocks, roots, as well as rises and depressions in the ground.|
|Also known as a banked turn, a bermed turn offers support for the riders tires to press against. This can be natural and man made. We often think about lean angle relative to a berm based on how fast you are going. At slower speeds we may only lean to the angle of the berm. At faster speeds we’ll start to lean past the angle of the berm which causes us to create bike-body separation. We use footwork once we lean the bike past perpendicular in relation to the berm.|
|verb, as it relates to footwork this is when a rider uses the area between 9 and 3 to generate ground force without ever going to 12 or 6. We often think about “dipping” our outside foot at the apex of turn that doesn’t require us to use all of our footwork. Basically the ability to dip is the ability to move from having our feet level to having one foot lower than the other. This is typically helpful for cornering, and is one of the elements that is unique to a bike. The rotational portion of the drivetrain make dipping possible. Dipping allow the rider to create optimized position when cornering. The ability to do this on the bike is one if the things which makes the mountain bike the fastest vehicle in the world down a trail.|
we use this term to describe a point where we have reached the limit of our arm extension and we feel the sensation of being pulled forward. This can happen on jumps and especially on steep terrain. While we generally regard this as a place we don't want to end up, there are exceptions. Off drops we purposely end up the end of our rope which allows the bike to be pulled back under us.
erb, the act of using the bike’s rebound forces to generate the same outcome as hitting a jump, but with objects on trail which don't resemble jumps. We often use this technique to clear obstacles down trail by taking air off terrain preceding the items we want to clear. We also call this 'running into stuff' because solid front and rear wheel contact is what will send the bike into a proper flight arc. Rocks and roots are the most commonly used terrain for launching down trail. Learning to feature can make riding safer and create more options for interpreting terrain.
any time the ground is perpendicular to the bike tires contact patch. Often the most difficult corner to perfect, making flatland turns really well will improve your riding. Also known as a turn on flat ground.
verb, with the Fluidride Method this is the action of matching the dipping of the outside foot during a corner, to match the shape and duration of the turn. Perfecting footwork leads to lateral acceleration. Footwork also refers to the process of creating foot-height-offset which is what enables us to open our hips in the direction we want to go. Basically this term is a reference to the way in which the body is able to actively engage with and benefit from the rotating portions of the drivetrain. Footwork is most commonly associated with our practice of cornering.
we us this to describe how we use our skeletal/muscle movement as a form of suspension in both our lower and upper body. We use this term most frequently to describe the legs ability to move up and down under us to help better deal with processing terrain. If you stand at full height and measure your height, then go into a deep squat and measure your height, the difference is the amount of leg travel you have in your human suspension. We also have suspension in our arms. The amount of travel we have can be measured by going into a high push up or plank pose, then going all the way down to a low push up. The difference is the amount of your arm travel. We use this end (upper body) of our human suspension when we move into steep descents properly. Both ends of our human suspension, can be soft and supple or firm, depending on the muscular input we create or negate. The nearly instantaneous ability to change the rate of our body's suspension from soft to firm and from firm to soft allows us to change outcomes with terrain in the moment.
any time the ground is offset to the bike tire’s contact patch. We have offcamber corners and offcamber sections when we traverse. At SNAP we think about off-camber sections on a trail as either being a front foot section or a back foot section. If I’m a left foot forward rider and traversing a trail with the hill on my left, this is a back foot section for me as a rider because I need to point my hips slightly uphill and to this I need to create foot-height offset where my outside foot (my right foot/back foot) is slightly lower than my left foot/front foot. An off camber turn is essentially a turn which is less favorably tilted than a flat land turn. Basically it's the opposite of a bermed or supported turn.
verb, when rider accepts compressive forces generated by the trail. We think about being passive when we talk about hitting jumps as a Racer and we’re trying to stay low or when we want to absorb bumps on the trail thereby allowing us to keep the wheels on the ground. A passive state is the polar opposite of an active state. If I hit a jump with very passive legs, I'll stay on the ground or get a little air. The same jump could be hit with active legs and create a very different outcome at the same speed. This is our adjustment mechanism for getting air, or staying low.
riding through undulating terrain without pressing down the back slope of that terrain to generate additional speed. We will generally use this technique when we are going quickly or on a downhill where trying to generate speed isn't necessary and where we might be going too quickly to visually identify terrain. Characterized by a smooth level head path and both wheels tracking the terrain without leaving the ground. This is the opposite of active pumping, but with the same position. In this instance, my legs are relaxed, or passive.
the act of creating a turn prior to entering another turn. This has a few main uses. The first use is to make a section easier to navigate by taking a wider line into a turn using a pre turn. This can buy us more space in the actual turn we are taking, and can also serve to change our line, which can be helpful for negotiating terrain, or for setting up a pass on a rider in front of us. We can also use pre-turns to change the dynamics of a turn where we have a decreasing radius turn. While making pre-turns is often optional, they become necessary in switchback turns where we need to get our wheels on two separate paths. In this instance, we make the pre-turn very close the turn in order to create an offset wheel path.
verb, much like being “active” the concept of pumping terrain to generate forward movement is best seen on a pump track but can also be applied on the trail anytime we want to maintain or increase speed. Pumping is essentially the act of creating forward acceleration without pedaling by pressing down the back slopes of terrain with the arms, followed by the legs.
verb, when a rider is a passive mode with the legs. This might follow being active off the face of a jump, with becoming passive as the rear wheel leaves the jump lip in order to collect the bike under you. Basically receiving the bike is the act of letting it move closer to the body.
adjective, describes a subconscious or learned predisposition to a side of the body. We typically address this as it pertains to cornering and jumping. Many riders have 'footedness as well as handedness' meaning they are stronger or more coordinated on one side than the other. Understanding a bias allows us to coach riders into movement which serves them better. All riders - and all humans - have biases.
when a rider links their hands and feet applying the same forces to front and back of the back at the same time. Riders should 'ride off 2s, leading with the hands and following with the feet. Hands and feet should move independently for best riding results. Riders who ride 'off fours' typically come from a background of riding/learning on clipless pedals but not always. The Fluidride Method reinforces taking off with our wheels at the same place and land at same place, not at the same time when jumping. We also want to lead with our hands and follow with our feet when active or passive pumping. Riding off fours can take away the fluid ability of the bike to move through terrain progressively with the rear wheel encountering terrain separately from the front.
when a rider treats their hands and feet as two separate operators, with the hand and arms working as the front wheel engages terrain and the legs and feet working as the back wheel engages the same terrain.
verb, the act of perfectly matching our footwork with the shape and duration of a turn. We often hear when this happens and we have a nice audible that sounds like velcro being ripped part. This is the sound of tires simultaneously sliding and accelerating. Snapping a turn creates actual acceleration without the need to pedal. This is only done while coasting where we have access to footwork.
a turn tight enough where it requires the front wheel to take a different wheel path than the rear wheel. The front wheel will take an outside path while the rear wheel takes its own path on the inside of the turn. This outcome is created by a pre-turn.
A decreasing radius turn is a turn which gets sharper as it goes, with the sharpest part or 'final apex' near the end of the turn. These are often challenging turns for riders. Having great control of our footwork allows us to deal with these turns effectively by leaving some foot height offset for the end of the turn which will allow us to finish a turn with strong form even if the end is the sharpest part. Decreasing Radius Turns can sometimes be made into Increasing Radius Turns with the addition of a pre-turn.
Increasing radius turns are turns which end with a less aggressive angle than they start with. These turns are often easier and more forgiving than Decreasing Radius Turns. The sharpest point of an Increasing Radius Turn happens at the beginning of the turn.
A turn with a symmetrical radius.
Multi Apex Turns have more than one turn within them. We might have two or three turns within a given turn. Examples of these turns are shown on this site.
A Pump Track is a specially made track typically built on flat ground. While it looks in many ways like a bmx track, there typically no set beginning or end. The goal when riding a pump track is to use Active Pumping and effective cornering techniques to generate speed without the need to pedal the bike. Pump tracks typically consist of Speed Rollers and well built bermed turns with steep banks. Banking on pump tracks is often so steep that no footwork is required, enabling riders to press with both legs in the turns.
Speed Rollers are man made bumps built into jump lines and pump tracks. Many riders mistake these for jumps when in fact they are on the trail to help riders generate speed by using Active Pumping. These are often found leading up to jumps on man made jump lines. You can typically differentiate between Speed Rollers and jumps in that the roller will often stand alone, with no proper transition following it. We are meant to keep the wheels on the ground over Speed Rollers and use them to help generate forward motion without the need to pedal.
Foot Height Offset (FHO) refers to being on a bike and having my feet anywhere other than level when coasting. On a bike, we have the unique ability to rotate the front side body while cornering with the use of Foot Height Offset. We can use Foot Height Offset to deliberately enhance our riding. Alternately, riders often struggle with equanimity between their feet - so sometimes we are helping to coach riders to not get unwanted foot height offset. Basically the ability get FHO allows us to put our body in various positions on the bike.
The Macro View of Footwork has to do with the fact that hills - and mountains - are round. This means that if I'm descending and have the mountain in my left, that I'm essentially making a long left turn, which will be best done by favoring the right foot slightly. If the mountain is on my right, then I'm making a long right turn in which case I should slightly favor my left leg. We most often think of traversing when we talk about the Macro View of Footwork.
A front foot turn denotes a turn which should be accessed with the front foot (leg). For left foot forward rider, a right hand turn is always a front foot turn and for right foot forward riders a left hand turn is always a front foot turn, since we should pressure the foot which is on the opposite side of the direction we want to turn. Our right foot should always turn us left and our left foot should always turn us right. This is how we turn when we walk or run - we are best served to follow these basic bipedal principles when riding.
A Back Foot Turn is a turn which should be accessed by the back foot (leg). For left foot forward riders a left hand turn is always a back foot turn and for right foot forward riders a right hand turn is always a back foot turn. This is the case because as a general rule we use out right foot to turn us left, and our left foot to turn us right, just as we do when walking.
Also known as a gap jump, a double is a jump with no dirt in between the takeoff and landing. These jumps are meant to be cleared and not rolled. Typically these jumps are considered advanced and will mostly be found on Black and Double Black Diamond runs in the US.
A Tabletop Jump is a jump which can be safely rolled because there is no gap in between the take off and landing like with a double. Tabletops take their name from the fact that the top of the jump is flat like a table. Typically these jumps have a transitional hill for takeoff (ramp or loading zone) and for landing (transition). These are nearly always the best kinds of jumps for beginning jumpers as the allow riders to progress on a given jump until they are able to land consistently on the transition of the jump.
Typically a Transition is a downhill pitch at the end of a jump where the riders is best suited to land. Landing on a downhill slope is almost always preferable to landing on flat ground or into an uphill. Transitions on Tabletop Jumps happen after the tabletop portion of the jump. On doubles, the transition refers the back slope of the second hill or landing. In South America, the transition is often called the Reception.
We differentiate between a tabletop jump and doing a Tabletop off a jump. A Tabletop off a jump is a trick where the rider gets the bike flat or parallel to the ground while in the air. Rider often refer to this casually as a Flatty. This can be done for fun and style, but has a functional root which comes from Counter Directional Steering In The Air.
A Step Up is simply a jump with a landing which is higher than it's take off. When jumping a Step Up well, we only make the first half of our rainbow shaped arc in the air and 'meet' the landing at the crest of that arc. While Step Up Jumps can be intimidating since the landing is above the takeoff, they are typically forgiving in that we are essentially weightless near the landing point since we are cresting the arc of the jump flight at the landing point. This means is we 'come up short' that the impact is generally less than on a step down, or a double.
A Step Down refers to a jump where the landing is lower than the take off. On Step Downs riders are essentially making the last half of the rainbow shaped arc in the air since they are starting from the high point at takeoff.
A Road Gap or Trail Gap signifies a jump with a road, trail or flat zone below it which the rider needs to clear for a safe downhill landing on the far side of the road or trail where a downhill slope exists.
Casing can refer the sidewall material on the tire, but more commonly for this site is used to describe the undesirable outcome of landing too soon with the front, rear, or both tires over a gap jump or to describe landing short on a table top. Casing is interchangeably used with 'coming up short' on a jump. Riders are often able to ride away from a 'rear wheel case' where the front wheel safely clears the jump, but the back does not. 'Nose Casing' refers to landing with the front wheel into the back of a landing. Coming up short to the degree that we 'Nose Case' often ends up in a crash.
Counter Steering is the use of turning the opposite way we are going in order to keep from understeering when the front wheel starts to wash out. Washing Out with the front wheel happens when the front wheel starts moving more slowly than the ground beneath it which can create a situation where the front wheel tucks and we slide out. This can be avoided with slight Counter Steering, which will get the front wheel back up to ground speed and allow us to go on our way without washing out. This is a very subtle move on the bicycle since it's a relatively light vehicle.
Counter Directional Steering in the Air (CDS) allows the rider to turn the bike in the air. This is done by turning the handlebars in the opposite direction of the upcoming turn during our upward flight, then gently steering the bike into the direction we want to go as we are on our downward arc. This technique is outlined in detail on this site.
A Scrub is the use of turning up a jump face in order to blow energy off to the side of the jump, allowing the rider to stay low and hit jumps at high speeds without over jumping. A scrub is also the root of a stylish trick called the Whip.
To 'Whip' a bike is to get it sideways in the air, and then bring it back straight for landing. This originally came to be when a motocross racer named Bubba Stewart started scrubbing jumps while racing (originally called a Bubba Scrub) to stay low. After some experimentation, Bubba Stewart used an accentuated version of the scrub to throw the bike sideways. This move was called a Scrub Whip. Since then, riders have simply called this move a Whip. A Whip has no real value on the trail, but is a fun and stylish move advanced jumpers enjoy.
A front wheel washout is when the front wheel slides out due to understeer. This is typically caused by too much hand steer (steering too directly from the bars) which is in turn typically caused by riders being too far back on the bike which makes it impossible for the body to help turn the bike. Washouts can also be caused by the failure to countersteer after the bike starts to drift. The failure to counter steer, means that the front wheel slows down to the point where it loses traction and the rider loses control.
This is typically meant as the loading of the suspension, or when pressure is put down through the legs into the bike. This can be caused by terrain as well as the actions of our body. When riding into a really big jump face, if we firm our legs up, both our legs - and our suspension will be 'loaded' or in a state of held compression.
Pre-Loading means to load the bikes suspension before upcoming terrain has a chance to do so. This is done by firming up the legs and pushing down through the bottom bracket. This is typically done in situations where the terrain is about to load the bike and body, but where helping with the process first makes for a better outcome - as it does with short faced jumps.
To squash something on a bike, means to move into a passive state with the legs and to move rapidly through our leg travel without creating compression. Squashing is done to allow a rider to ride terrain at speed without being pushed around by the terrain. Examples of things which can be squashed are jumps, drops, and short steep descents.
One Footed Turns are used by Fluidride Instructors to help riders find the middle of their bikes during cornering drills. By taking the inside foot off the bike and standing with all their weight on the outside foot, the rider is able to discover the 'sweet spot' for cornering a bike, which is right over the bottom bracket. One Footed Turns also allow the rider to experience having the outside foot fully weighted. Additionally, it allows the rider to practice rotating on the joint where the hip meets the femur - it's this move which allows healthy rotation of the front side body when cornering a bike.
A situation where the front wheel turns too much toward the inside of the turn which typically creates a situation where we get front wheel washout - this results in the bike not turning even though the handlebars are turned.
While uncommon on a bike, oversteer is when we turn too much for a given turn. We sometimes see this when rider learn proper footwork and turn too much in a particular turn due to the effectiveness of their new found skills. Oversteer is created by turning too much but not getting a front wheel washout from the action.
Hip jumps are jumps which require us to jump and turn to one side or the other of the trail. We can 'hip left' or 'hip right' on a jump line. Typically a hip jump involves a jump with a normal takeoff which has a landing down trail off to one side of the trail.