Think that wheelies are just for pros and young adventurous kids? Think again.

Sonya Looney, pro mountain biker, gives Women’s Adventure insight to doing wheelies at any age. Popping a wheelie can be scary and dangerous at any age or skill level, but follow these tips and you’re sure to pick up the technique!

First, find your balance. Start out practicing in soft grass, where the inevitable fall won’t get you down. Doing wheelies isn’t about lifting the bike with your arms; it’s about shifting your weight back and letting your legs torque on the pedals to lift the front end. Now that you’ve gotten up—if only for a second or two—you’re ready to work on technique. Pedal to get a little bit of speed and then coast, and continue pedaling once you get the front wheel off the ground. Next, bend your arms and get your chest low to the handlebars. Push off the bars while simultaneously shifting your weight back on the bike. To get the front wheel higher, lean back a little more. Finally, practice, practice, practice.

By now, you’re a seasoned pro. Just remember these few key don’ts: Don’t get frustrated, don’t transition to hard ground until your confident, don’t take your hand off the rear brake, and don’t go without a helmet and gloves. And, most importantly, don’t forget to not take yourself too seriously as you attempt to perfect this tricky move.

Do, however, have fun and enjoy your new skill.

Last modified: May 9, 2012

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