Pump-hopping up stairs

Many of you have seen the videos of Cody Kaiser and Alex Ryan hopping up the Belgian Steps at the Valmont Bike Park national cyclocross championships.

This technique is rad — and useful:

First the feats:

How they did it:

• Centered. Heavy feet, light hands. As always.

• Arms are making angles and maintaining balance, but they’re pretty relaxed.

• The real power comes from the hips and legs (supported by strong core).

• On the uphill side of each step is a tiny little backside. By pushing into these backsides, the riders generate propulsion and unweight over the stairs. That’s a win-win!

• BTW: Cyclocross bikes can be an extremely quick and responsive pump machines. It doesn’t take much backside to make them go.

On the trail:

Very few of us race CX at this level — and fewer of us can be this rad under pressure with maxed heart rates.

Try pumping up the rises on your next rolling descent and — with some pedaling — try to pump your way up technical climbs. In my experience coaching elite XC racers, my ability to pump uphill equalizes a 100-watt pedaling deficit.



Know more. Have more fun!

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6 replies
  1. Agleck7 says:

    Hey Lee – lots of discussion on our local forum about whether this technique was “bunny-hopping” or simply pumping and whether the rider was using his clips at all, ie whether the rider could do this on flats just as easily?

    Any thoughts?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    What a great question!

    – At the high end of kung fu, bunny hopping and pumping are the same movement. Since these guys are keeping their bikes level, I won’t say they’re bunny hopping; it’s more like they’re loading and unloading, which is generating pump. Sine waves of love, man.

    – It looks like these guys are using their clips (I would if I was clipped in!), but a kung fu master can do this with flats.


  3. Max says:

    This is just too awesome. Mind Blown.
    Do you have any footage you can post of utilizing this technique on a mtn bike up a technical climb, etc… I’m a visual learner. 🙂
    BTW Specy E29er ordered, Troy Lee paint job….hell yes. I got partially inspired when I watched Curtis Keene outright flat-lining my local trails on one, being chased by a helicopter filming him for redbull. It was a sight to behold.
    Love to hear any updates on your E29er “experience”.

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Max, no footage (yet). The whole video project is in the planning stage.

    Wow Curtis can ride eh? Ask me who his first coach was .. 🙂 I am so proud of him — Red Bull on his helmet and the chase ‘copter!

    Weather here has been limiting. I got another rock/gnar ride on my E29, and that bike is recalibrating my notions of what I can ride. It’s a bike of impunity!


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