Hello. Forty-year-old bike commuter here, never done any BMX but have recently begun taking my 6-year-old to the town's new skate/bike park. So I guess I'm the proverbial old dog trying to learn new tricks. I'm curious about a few things.
First, I've been doing okay for a beginner on the half-pipe, getting about halfway up the sides, but I notice that I'm much better going counter-clockwise that clockwise. I'm wondering if it's a common experience that one way is easier than the other, maybe related to the dominant side of your body (I'm left-handed), or is it just that I've practiced one way more than the other?
Secondly, some advice about stairs. This park has a set of about 6 stairs with a ramp on the other side, and they're fairly steep, so not good to start out on. Nevertheless, I tried going down them last week, and it was pretty bumpy, to say the least. I think I may have been going too fast. Being a commuter, usually with a bike computer, I have a pretty good sense of how fast I'm going, but I have no idea how fast is appropriate for going down steps. Someone gave me a copy of "Urban Biker's Tips and Tricks", which talks about technique for stairs, but they don't mention specific speeds. Should I be regulating my speed with the brakes on my way down? (I guess I probably should, as it's hard to see how I could go down a long set indefinitely without doing so.)
If it matters, the bike I'm taking to the park is a Trek 820 with smooth road tires (since I primarily use it for commuting).
get out of your chair and jump 180 degrees. That will be the way you carve a ramp primarily. On the other hand, just carve both ways and learn to do both ways. As far as riding down stairs, get your bum off the saddle and back over the back wheel and stay loose for shock absorbsion. As always, the faster the better.
Dont want to feel the bumps going down the stairs? Grind the rail or just huck the whole set.
And as for turning, One side is naturally easier to spin too, it just takes practice to teach your body to go the other way.