Cyclists catch big air in Bunnyhop

‘That’s as high as it’s going to go,” said Jason Lucas, examining the event’s crossbar and standards, with a grin that…

‘That’s as high as it’s going to go,” said Jason Lucas, examining the event’s crossbar and standards, with a grin that projected both surprise and pride.

It was simply the most jaw-dropping spectacle at the first Whitehorse Bunnyhop Competition held at Second Heaven Skate Park in Riverdale Friday.

To cap the event Lucas, a BMX bike rider of seven years, cleared a crossbar set at the highest settings its five-foot standards had, while “airing out of the bowl.”

“It feels good that, out of the few riders we have so far, that I can jump the highest,” said Lucas, 20, who organized the event and won both categories. “But hopefully there’s other riders that can show me up and get higher because that would be crazy.”

“Anything over three feet is crazy,” added Lucas.

Granted, only two riders competed in the small event in front of a tiny group. Nonetheless, the two pushed the limit of what people on two wheels can do.

And at the very least, it was a chance to see a BMX rider take on a mountain biker in one of the most basic of manoeuvres.

“I’ve talked to a few BMXers up here and they said the BMX scene was bigger back a couple years ago,” said Lucas, commenting on why he organized the event.

“I’m really big on riding and having a fun experience, enjoying the outdoors and just biking around.

“So I decided to build this team and provide inspiration and a push for more riders to come out and have some fun and learn from each other.”

Moving up a couple inches at a time, the competition started on flat ground as Lucas took on his only competitor, Rory Magill, bunnyhopping between the standards over a thin crossbar that was knocked down when the jump was unsuccessful.

Bunnyhopping on a bicycle is a mixture of jumping and lifting. As riders jump, they pull the bike up so both the riders and the bicycles become airborne.

However, just as the first category was reaching its climax, Magill, as he attempted to match Lucas’ jump of 37 inches, landed with a foot off the pedal, scraping his shin against its sharp edge.

“It’s a pretty regular thing,” said Magill, 21, about his bloody leg. “You’ve got to push the limit or else you’re not going to do anything, really.

“I was doing alright. I’m kind of mad I didn’t beat 37 (inches),” said Magill, who has been bicycling for six years. “We were right at 36 yesterday too.”

The competition basically over, with the withdrawal of Magill, Lucas continued on with things as planned and began launching out of the bowl to see what height he could clear.

After just a few jumps he had maxed out the standards, having jumped to a height of five feet.

Although his two-wheeled acrobatics are prime material for a camera’s lens, Lucas sees himself comfortable both in front of and behind a camera.

“I’m trying to build up a BMX team of some of the best riders I can find, ride around and make some videos,” said Lucas. “I have a couple riders so far on the team and I’m concentrating on BMX right now but I also want to do skate videos and mountain-bike videos as well.

“Eventually I want to sell the DVDs to the public and also sell the clothing. Hopefully I’ll have some available at the end of August.”

As to whether a BMX bike is better for bunnyhopping than a mountain bike, the jury is still out.

“That’s all a matter of opinion really,” said Magill. “I’ve never really been into BMXing — I can do it, I don’t mind doing it — but I find I’m more comfortable on a bigger bike.

“I’m six-four, so …,” he added, with a laugh.