Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bunny Hop

My previous post about my accidentally running over a snake brought many comments.

One short and to the point, was:

"Has anyone heard of a Bunny Hop?"

Of course, (Slaps self on forehead with palm of hand.)

Take off vertically, jump over, completely missing said snake; the obvious answer.

Obvious that is to anyone who grew up in the 1970s or later.

I started riding a bicycle over 60 years ago and outside of a circus no one ever became airborne or did any kind of trick on a bicycle. The extent of doing anything mildly cleaver was to occasionally ride “no hands.”

All that changed in the 1970s thanks to Evel Knievel doing dare devil jumps on his motorcycle, over school buses and such, and every male child in America immediately tried to emulate him on a bicycle.

It is a well known fact that a motorcycle, because of its power, weight, and speed, will on reaching the top of a sharp incline; continue in an upward direction, until speed drops and gravity takes over.

Even a car will do the same, as demonstrated in the Steve McQueen movie, Bullitt.

A bicycle however, unless traveling at a high rate of speed downhill, will normally not reach enough inertia to do this.

I give top marks for the ingenuity of children, who discovered that one could simulate a jump by physically jumping upwards with a sharp downward thrust of the legs.

Thanks to Newton’s Third Law of Motion; “For every action there is an equal and opposite action.” The downward thrust of the legs causes the bike (or indeed a skateboard.) to jump with the rider.

Forward to the 1980s and the introduction of the mountain bike. There was a generation of twenty-something’s who had grown up doing stunts on their BMX bikes. Some went riding on the trails, others went to the local park and practiced jumping up and down off picnic tables and such. The bunny hop was born.

The bicycle would never be the same again; no longer just a humble form of transport but something to perform all manner of tricks on.

Later the same would be born out of the Fixie craze; started out by emulating bike messengers who use a bike simply as the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Then developed into both a fashion statement and performing art form.

Anyway, back to the suggestion that I could have avoided running over the snake by executing a timely bunny hop. The reason this amused me was this.

I am at an age where I am fortunate enough to be still riding a bicycle.

Many of my generation are in retirement homes, hobbling around with the aid of a walker.

A little late to start devoting time to practicing bunny hops on the off chance I might encounter the occasional snake on my travels.

Picture this; old guy doing something over 20mph on bike.

Looks up and sees a snake in the road just a few feet away.

This same old guy is supposed to have the reflexes, as well as the strength and agility to execute a timely bunny hop over snake, and both bike rider and reptile then continue on their way.

I’m sorry; I just can’t see that happening.

Source: Dave Moulton's Blog

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