If you have been riding your BMX bike for a while and are comfortable with flatland tricks, you are probably ready to hit a small ramp or bowl and start learning airs. Getting air is the basic component to almost every BMX trick, and you will need to learn to manage ramps and your bike to get consistent and controllable airs. Learning to air in BMX is just like learning a trick in any other sport -- you will need to put in the time and work to learn the action if you want to succeed.
Find a small halfpipe at a local skate park or bike shop. Four or 5 feet is enough height to learn the basics of airs without worrying too much about falls.
Start in the base of the pipe and work up some speed. Dropping into the pipe is the best way to air, but you will need to learn that skill separately.
Roll toward one side of the halfpipe and head up the wall. Turn the bike around and roll back down to build speed as you go toward the other side. Each side of the pipe is known as a quarter, or quarter-pipe.
Push the bike away from you and into the curve of the ramp as you come down. This is called "pumping," and you will need to pump the ramp every time you come down to maintain your speed.
Approach the other side of the pipe with as much speed as you can muster. When you reach a point about halfway between the bottom curve and the coping -- the rail that protects the edge of the pipe -- thrust your body and bike forward to add lift to your air.
Turn your bike in the air and shift your balance forward so you come back into the pipe facing down, with both wheels even with the wall. This is a scary experience the first few times, but with practice you will get used to it.
Land on the ramp with both wheels at the same time, above the curve of the pipe. You can roll out of the pipe or back toward the other side for another air.
Tips & Warnings
- Always wear safety gear when skating ramps. You can take some pretty nasty falls while learning to air, and a helmet and pads can keep you out of the hospital and practicing in the skate park.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images