There has been a post about this before and in it I mentioned that I would start working on riding up sidewalk curbs. (I was not the thread starter but a contributor along with John Foss and some others.)
Well, I have been working on riding up about a 7" sidewalk curb that is outside my house and I suceed about once every 10 tries. Usually what happens is that my wheel does not get enough traction and just spins in place. When I do go up it just happens so easily and smoothly that it is amazing! I am pretty sure that if I keep on workingon it that my sucess rate will improve to the point of 100%. However like most of us I would like the short cut. Now I am not asking without having done my homework. I have been working on this issue and I am saying that the problem is the wheel spinning out because of lack of traction. Anyone have any suggestions?
Are you trying to climb the curb head on? I used to practise by riding down the street, hopping on and off the curb repeatedly. By doing this you learn how to get the timing right to put the rolling hop in, so you don’t even touch the curb stone. Even just hopping enough to get your weight off the pedals will allow the wheel to roll over easily.
I’m rubbish at this, and I tend to just sidehop up them.
But the proper way to do it is to almost rolling hop but not quite. Basically you unweight the pedals enough so that you go up smoothly. It feels just like a rolling hop but the wheel doesn’t actually leave the ground, you just don’t have any weight on the pedals or seat at the point it hits the kerb.
I saw someone, maybe Leo White, do this on a massive step up, maybe a foot tall, so it just looked like he was rolling it, and it looks way cool when people do it on big stuff.
I’m glad to read this tread about rolling up curbs. I had learned to ride as a kid, then stopped until I was 49. It has bothered me since I started again that I remember rolling up curbs as a kid, and it was really easy. But now even though I have since learned to idle, hop and go backwards, I do not have the nerve to roll up a curb like I remember doing back then. The closest I come, is to ram the curb with speed to go up which isn’t the same.
One thing that stops me these days is that I worry about the pedals being in the correct position to roll up the curb. I worry that the pedals will be in the 12 and 6 positions, then I’ll just stop at the curb, and UPD. When I was a kid I don’t remember even thinking about pedal positions, just did it. I can remember thinking that it must look like a trick, but that it is really easy.
What I remember, is it being like what Joemarsall described. Thinking about it more, I think I may have recently used this technique in the woods to get over tree roots, but I’d like to work back up to those curbs.
Thanks for all the advice. I can hop up curbs easily but hopping uses up a lot of energy. I was practicing again yesterday night and am succeeding more often. It seems like the whole issue is to lean your hips back right before you hit the curb. When I do succeed it just feels so natural and easy. I am going to keep on practicing and will update the forum when I have this skill mastered.
Obviously I am making sure to hit the curv only when my right pedal is between 1 and 3 O’clock. The problem is that on most of the tries the tire just doesn’t catch and it spins.
If I see that my pedal position is not going to be good then I arc a little to one side to add the correct amount of distance before I hit the curb.
I am pretty sure that I just have to bring my hips further back so that I get my center of gravity right over the Wheel. I have allready increased my success rate and I am sure that it will continue to increase with practice. As soon as I get a 100% success rate I will start hitting the curb with my pedals in different positions. I know that curbs can be mastered and I will do it! Then I will try them backwards!
It’s the pedal position that usually gets me. Up to about a 4" curb I can usually count on momentum to help carry me through, even if I hit it with the pedals at 12 and 6. But a 6" curb will stop me dead in my tracks if the pedals aren’t right. If I’m in doubt or a situation where I’ll be totally embarrased, I pull up to the curb and side hop onto it. I still haven’t figured out how to gain any height on a rolling hop. Certainly not enough to clear a 6" curb anyway (you guys who can rolling hop onto a picnic table amaze me). Being able to ride up curbs seems like a good skill to develop. The natural progression of things from there is to be able to ride up stairs.
I have a probably 80% success rate with this, and I use the momentum method. I don’t go all that fast (ever–if you’ve ridden with me, you know the truth of that statement!), but put my hips back just before hitting the curb, and let the curb stop me. When the momentum tosses me forward, I just keep pedaling and pull up and forward with my hips (and with the hand on the seat handle) and the uni just follows me up and onto the sidewalk. I haven’t had grip issues, but all I ride are munis with pretty grippy knobs.
The times I don’t succeed are generally when I have my pedals too close to vertical, but I don’t really think about it too much. Sometimes I’m surprised by a UPD instead of success, so that keeps me on my toes!
Well I had great success yesterday! A friend that I am teaching to ride came over and I was showing him my newest challenge but it wasn’t really a challenge because I kept getting up every time and easily! I actually measured the curb and it is between 6 1/4" to 7" in different places. After riding up about 12 times with no UPDs and even with my bad foot leading I decided to break out the beer. Before I officially claim to having mastered a skill I always put it through the “Two Beer Test”. That is if I can do it after having two beers then I consider it mastered. Well I still had about a 70% success rate.
The technique is like this. I ride toward the curb at an angle of about 60 to 90degrees in order to time my pedal as close as posible to the 2 O’clock position. I hit the curb at a cruising speed. Not to fast and not to slow. My hips are back and my shoulders are forward. I curl the saddle handle tightly.
Hip/shoulder position are important and curling, or pulling up on the saddle cup is very important. I can also ride parallel to the curb at about two feet distance and then sharply pull towards it when my pedal position is correct.
I feel that the pedal position is not going to matter much after some more practice.
I now just ride up the curb almost effortlessly. This is such an energy saver compared to hopping up and is a great skill for urban riding. By the way I am not able to rolling hop up sidewalks because If the pedals are in the correct 3-9 O’clock position to far away I just don’t make it up. I am working on getting more distance and height so that I can Rolling Hop up any curb.
The width of the rim is very important because the wider the rim the more volume in the tire the more shock absorbing the tire tire becomes. So yes with a large marge I guess that you could easily roll up any curb.
I was quite surprised by how fast I mastered this skill. I have been working on and off on pedaling one footed for almost two months now and am just starting to get the hang of it. I also took me well over a month to learn how to ride backwards and to learn how to change directions from backwards to forwards. Curb climbing was not difficult to learn.