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California Skate BMX Tricks & Tips


California Skateboarders have some style!

We found this skate trick information very useful for the novice BMX bikers. For many of us who watch and love the sport but just don't ride, this if fun to read about, too!

Simply turn your bars to the left or the right. Turning your bars the full 90 degrees gets you extra style points, as does twisting your head & upper body either direction.

As soon as your back wheel leaves the jump, swing the rear of your bike around to the right or the left by using your hips and legs. Swing the rear of your bike way out, and then right back in. Don't stay sideways very long. You can get away with landing a little crooked, but too much of a sideways landing will cause you to crash. Gradually swing the rear of your bike out farther each time you jump. Try to eventually reach a "full swing" of about 80 degrees.

There really isn't any explaining to this one. You simply take your "preferred foot" off your pedal, kick it out to the side, and stick it back on before you land. Your cranks will rotate downward when your foot comes off, so be sure to get it back on in time to return your cranks to a level position. That's it... it's pretty much self-explanatory. As with most tricks, start out small and gradually go bigger each and every time. Practice makes perfect.

There isn't much explaining to this one either. Although not necessary, it may be easier to learn this trick by pulling up hard on your bars, getting your bike into a near-vertical position (with your bars in your lap), and then taking a hand off (just a little at first). Try to keep your bars straight the whole time. After you get them fully extended consistently, you can work on various variations, like a tire-grab or a seat-grab, which will help you out later on in trying different tricks. That's it.

Same as a one-footer except you take your leg across the top tube of your bike. Example: Take your left leg and stretch it way out over your top tube to the right of your bike. Then, of course, pull it back over before landing.

Cross-up (X-up)
First, before you jump, make sure you can spin your handlebars all the way around without the seat getting in the way. Lean back and spread your legs apart in the air (to give room for the handlebars to spin). Turn your bars a full 180 degrees (again - to the left or right, whichever you prefer), and then "whip" them back in the opposite direction (if you turn your bars to the left when you "cross up", then turn them back to the right before landing, and vice versa). Don't get discouraged if you can't get a full 180 rotation at first. You have to kind of "stretch" your shoulders and arms a bit to get it fully extended.

This is another trick you can do to the right or left. For this example, I'll use right. Push down on your handlebars to the right and turn them down to the left at the same time, while using your right leg and lower body to push the rear of your bike up and to the left into a horizontal position. Gradually level your bike out more and more each jump, until you achieve a perfectly flat position. Flat like a table - hence the name tabletop - SUPRISE!
Note: simply reverse right and left if you feel more comfortable trying this trick in the other direction.

Kind of the opposite of a can-can. Basically a one-footer, but you swing the rear of your bike to the right and take your right foot and swing it way back around your back wheel (to the left side of your bike). Again, reverse the directions if you feel more comfortable doing this trick the other way.

First of all, I strongly suggest wearing shin pads when attempting this trick. Also, you need a little air time to get this one extended good. It is also helpful to have your cranks tightened up, so they won't spin around when your feet come off. Start by taking your feet off just a few inches and then pulling them right back in, well before landing. Make sure you land with your pedals level. As you gradually spread your legs further apart each jump, you may notice the rear end of your bike drop down some. This is natural, but try to keep the bike fairly level; doing a no-footer with the bike in a vertical position is not a good thing. If you mess up, you can usually get away with landing one-footed, but higher speeds and bigger jumps will be less forgiving. In most cases, if it just doesn't feel right, and you don't think you are going to pull it off, you should just bail. Toss the bike and crash. It's better than slipping your pedals and having your legs scarred for life. There is an art to crashing - seriously. With practice, you can minimize injuries by knowing when and how to bail.


First of all, I'd suggest learning this trick on a tabletop or a small double. You don't really need much air to do a 360. Before you jump, it would be best to practice on flat ground. Simply try to do a bunnyhop 360. You probably won't come anywhere close to a 360 on flat ground, but try to at least do a 180. When you go to bunnyhop, start turning before your bike leaves the ground. Turn your head and handlebars hard to the left (or right, whichever you prefer) and turn with everything you've got. Remember - where your head leads, your body follows. This bunnyhopping is not necessary; it merely helps you some by practicing the rotation on flat ground first. When you go to jump, you need to start the rotation before the bike completely leaves the jump. Don't go too fast at first. Going slow, you can usually get away with an under-rotation (like a 270 or so), but at full speed, things are less forgiving. Once you can pull a clean 360 consistently, then you can begin the real fun; 360s at high speeds over big doubles. That's where the difficulty comes in; it takes some guts.


Pull your front end up hard as you leave the lip of the jump. Get your bike in a near-vertical position. Your bars should be in your lap before you take your hands off. This will keep you from losing control; your legs will actually be holding the bike up while your hands are off. Little by little, take your hands off more each jump. Start to level your bike out as you put your hands back on the bars. Make sure the bars are straight and your hands are securely back on the handlebars before landing.

"Straight out" No-hander
This no-hander method is very different from the regular (above) one. Instead of lifting your arms straight up with the bike in a vertical position, you take your arms straight out to the sides with the bike in a horizontal position. This method is a bit more difficult, because the bike tends to nose-dive when you take your arms off in this manner. So, when you take off, lean back and pinch the seat with your knees. Leaning back will shift your weight to the rear of the bike, balancing things out nicely. Pinching the seat with your knees keeps the bike straight and controllable. Next, take both arms off evenly, at the same time. Hopefully, that will keep your bars from rotating too much when you let go. Finally, after you get your arms stretched straight out, pull them in, grab & straighten the bars, let go of the seat, and prepare for landing.


No-footed Can-can
Same as a can-can except you take both legs over and across your top tube. There's not much explaining to this one; just takes practice to learn.


When you leave the jump, push down on your front end and hit the rear brakes (to bring the front end down). Turn the handlebars 90 degrees as you are pushing down the front end. Simultaneously, take your left hand off the bars and grab the seat. If you turned the bars to the left, then take off your right hand; conversely, if you turned the bars right, then take off your left hand. While you are doing all this, you also need to be leaning way back to the back of your bike. Your butt needs to be behind your seat and right there at your rear wheel. When fully extended, the bike will be in a near vertical position (in an endo - with the front wheel well below the rear), you will be at the very back of the bike with one hand grabbing the nose of the seat, the other hand will be on your bars - squeezing the rear brake lever in, and the bars will be turned 90 degrees in a "straight line" with the seat. Gosh, this one is hard to explain. When it's time to return to Earth, let go of the brakes, then the seat. Grab your bars, straighten them out and get your bike level for landing. For a challenge and for extra style points, throw in a no-footer during all of this.


Get the bike in a vertical position while turning to one side and doing a cross-up (X-up). You'll probably have to push the bike over a bit to keep the handlebars from getting in your way as you turn them for the x-up. Once vertical and 'crossed-up', push down and away on the bike and hold it as long as you can for style points. Before landing, just reverse the steps by undoing the x-up and leveling out the bike. Don't hold the turndown for too long or you'll be in a nasty position at landing time.


It's best to practice this trick on flat ground first. Pop your front end up, lean back slightly, spread your legs, and spin your bars around 180 degrees. Try to catch the bars before or right as your front wheel hits the ground. Next try a full barspin. You'll have to get your front end up a little higher and spin the bars a little faster for this one. Then, try this in a manual. Manual along (at slow - medium speeds) and then spin the bars hard. The front end of your bike will drop quickly; be prepared to grab the bars. Go for just a half barspin at first, then build up to a full. Apply this to jumping as well; a half barspin, then a full. I'd suggest learning this on a small jump, preferably a tabletop. You really don't need a whole lot of air time to pull off a barspin. Simply lean back (to balance out the bike), pinch the seat with your knees, and spin the bars. Now that sounds simple, but it's easier said than done. Just make sure that you are familiar with spinning the bars and catching them before jumping. Get it wired first. Note: If you don't have a gyro, make sure your brake cable is long enough and that your bars clear the seat.


Wheelie & manual
Pull up on the bars and pedal. Anyone can do it. I just want to clear up the pretty simple difference between a wheelie and a manual. In a wheelie, you pedal, in a manual you don't. To do a manual, you just pull back on the bars, lean back, and use your legs to keep you going. Lean way back - get your butt back by your wheel. Keep your arms relaxed and "kick" with your knees when you feel the front end dropping. By "flexing" your arms and knees in and out, you can keep the front end up for quite a while (assuming you are going at a decent speed). It's easy to do, but hard to explain.

A bunnyhop is simply coming off the ground without the help of any jump, ramp, drop-off, etc. Pick up the front end with your upper body, and then pick up the rear end with your lower body (mainly your legs). That's it - it just takes practice. This move is essential for street riding! Keep practicing until you can get at least 2 - 3 feet high for hard-core street riding. The bunnyhop is a simple, basic trick, but one of importance - learn it.

To do a nosepick, do a bunnyhop, hit your front brakes, then push the front end of the bike down into an endo (all this while still in the air). Aim for the edge of whatever you are trying to nose-pick (curb, wall, bench, whatever). Hang there on your front wheel for a second (with your front brakes still locked, of course) and then do a little front wheel hop just prior to jumping back off. This trick is not limited to a bunnyhop. For example, you can jump a hill or a ramp, nosepick a wall, and then jump back into the ramp, hill, or whatever. There are different ways you can "hop back in." You can nosepick something at an angle, turn a little bit on your front wheel, and hop back in front wheel first. This is ideal for hopping back into a jump; it's not recommended to hop back in front wheel first onto flat ground. You can also hop back in backwards and fakie out of the trick, which is somewhat more difficult.  There are also many variations of this trick (nose-pick to tailwhip, nosewheelie to nosepick, etc.).

An icepick is simply stalling on a surface with your rear peg. A small wall (2-3 ft.) would be a good place to learn this trick. Simply bunnyhop up on the wall and land on your rear peg. Stall there a second, and then hop back down. The front wheel should be in the air the whole time; your bike should be in more of a vertical position. Don't try to stall too long, as that will make it harder to hop back off the wall. You may find it hard to jump back off the wall at first. You have to bunnyhop from the rear peg; just lean and hop away from the wall with everything you've got. That'll do it.

A toothpick is the opposite of an icepick. Instead of stalling on the rear peg, you stall on the front peg. You can do this trick like you would a nosepick, only plant the front peg on some surface instead of the front wheel, and use of the front brakes is not necessary.

Feeble grind
A feeble grind is a grind where your rear peg grinds across a surface, and your front wheel rolls across it. This trick can be done on rails and other obstacles, but for learning purposes, I'd suggest trying it out on a small, downward sloping concrete wall. Waxing down the edge of the wall is recommended, as it will make things easier as well as make your grind faster and smoother. Regular candle wax should do just fine. Most people grind on the left side of their bike, but either side will work fine - do whichever feels more comfortable. As far as the pegs are concerned, I'd use a deep-well socket type of peg instead of the thread-on variety. I'd suggest that these pegs be smooth, chromed steel and 4 to 5 inches long. Ride up next to the wall at a medium speed and bunnyhop up onto the waxed section, with your rear peg grinding across the wall and your front wheel rolling across it. Before you come to a stop, bunnyhop up and away from the wall and ride off. That's pretty much it - it just takes some practice to hit the wall just right with your rear peg and front wheel. Again, this trick is not limited to a bunnyhop. It can be done across the coping of ramps or done by launching off a jump and feebleing across some surface.

Icepick grind
The procedure for this trick is the same as the icepick, only you need more speed and balance. Icepick grinds are usually pretty quick, because they are fairly hard to do over long distances. Just get up some speed and do an icepick (only stay up there a little longer), and that's an icepick grind.

Double peg grind
Same as a feeble grind, except both pegs (on the same side of your bike, of course) grind across a surface. This trick is done primarily on handrails and on ramps' coping. When you grind, you need to "lean into the wall" some in order to stay up there.

Smith grind
A smith grind is the opposite of a feeble grind. In this case, your rear wheel rolls across a surface (such as the top of a wall or the deck of a ramp) and your front peg grinds across that same surface. Do this trick like you would a feeble grind, only land your bike in an endo with the front peg and rear wheel resting on the surface you're grinding across. Landing and grinding in this awkward position is usually more difficult than other common grinds.

This is another trick that can be done several different ways. This version does not require front brakes. Take your right foot across the top tube, over to the left side of your bike. Stick your foot on the front tire, up against the fork. Swing the rear end of the bike around using your right foot and take your left foot off the pedal (simultaneously). Keep your left foot up high, aim it at the top tube, and use it to catch the rear end of the bike when it whips around. When the rear of the bike comes back around, firmly plant your left foot on the top tube. With your left foot still on the top tube, take your right foot off the tire and put it back on the right pedal. Balance yourself out and then put your left foot back on the left pedal and ride off.

This trick is the same as the tailwhip, except you place your right foot on your left pedal, and your left foot on your left-front peg. This trick is basically a rolling (no brakes) version of the tailwhip using your front pegs. Lunge forward to bring the rear wheel off the ground. Next, use your right foot to 'kick' the rear end of the bike around. Then, take your right foot and place it on the right-front peg and lift your left foot to a position where it can easily 'grab' the rear end of the bike when it whips around. When the rear end swings back around to you, place your left foot on the top tube. Once both wheels are on the ground and you are 'balanced out', put your feet back on the pedals and ride on.

Infinity rolls
Start with one foot on a back peg. (left foot on left peg or right on right) Push off backwards with the other foot and use that foot to scuff the tire backwards in circles. Continue in circles by having your bars turned at 45 degrees and a finger on the brake. Have your peg foot on the outside of the circle you make. You can start this with an endo.


After carving a small arc, lock your front brakes and lift the back of your bike up and around 180 degrees, like an endo, only with a turn. After the back wheel comes down, use your momentum to spin another 180 degrees on the back wheel. It is hard at first to keep the momentum up for the second rotation.

Backwards Steamroller
Start with the bars backward and position yourself at the front of the bike facing the seat. Have one hand holding the seat and one foot on a front peg. Push of backwards, stearing the bars to balance. Once you have this, lift the back wheel of the ground a few inches, and roll on just the front wheel using your free foot to balance. This is the first one wheel rolling trick you should be able to learn, as you don't need to scuff the tire or feather the brake.

Start rolling with your right foot on the left back peg and your left foot on the front left peg. With a dab on the front brake, turn the bars and swing your body around to the front. You are now facing the seat going backwards. With another dab on the front brake, use your momentum to lift the back wheel and swing the rest of the bike around. If you can decade, this is a common trick to link after a firehydrant.


Have your left foot on the back left peg, your right foot on the top tube. After a small endo, put your back brake on hard, rock back onto the back wheel, and bring the front wheel up high. Then, jump around the head tube clockwise landing with a foot on the top tube or pedal.


Start facing backward on your bike, holding the grips. With the back brake on hard, lift the front of the bike up. Put one foot on the back peg, and after pushing off, use the other foot to scuff the tire. At the same time, let go of the bars with one hand, using it to balance and the other to feather the back brake. After some practice the brake will not be needed much, as you can both push and brake the tire with your foot. This is the easiest and first real scuffing trick you should be able to get. After you have this good you can go into a locomotive which is the same, only with no hands and the bars turned at 90 degrees.


While rolling slowly, put your right foot over the bars and be ready to scuff the tire. With a dab of the front brake, do a small endo while shifting your weight forward and moving your left foot onto the front left peg. At the same time, start scuffing on the front tire while modulating the front brake to stay balanced on the front wheel. Some prefer to have the right hand off the bars, using it to keep balance. This is an easier scuffing trick; you can start it like the backyard. Once you can scuff in one of these positions, many other scuffing tricks will come a lot easier. A frontyard can also be done with both feet in front of the bars.


Funky Chicken
Scuffing in the same position as a front yard only with the rest of the bike in front of you and holding the seat with your right hand. With your right foot to the right side of the frame you will be going in circles.


Put your left foot on the front left peg and do a small endo with the brake. Then use your right foot to scuff/scratch? the front tire backward. You need your brakes for this; put them on and off as you scratch the tire. It is easier to let the seat rest under your butt.


Pinky Squeaks
This combines backwards squeakers and whiplashes. Start with your right foot on the left pedal and your left foot on the front left peg. After rolling slowly, do a small endo and kick the frame anti-clockwise with your right foot. Then use your right foot to work the front tire backwards in between jumping over the frame. To do more than two turns of the frame you will need to get your squeaking in a bit of a rhythm, like two scuffs in between hopping over the frame.


Hang Five
While rolling forward, put your left foot on the front left peg. Without using the brakes, thrust yourself forwards with your weight on the peg with the other free leg used for balance. Let the seat come up and rest under your butt with your arms out stait and your head up, looking forwards. It would be good to be able to do a steamroller or back peg wheelie before you try this.