Commuting by an MTB, there is a trail at the local park, that is partially blocked by a tree. It has fallen over the trail, forming a triangle with the living trees on the sides. The highest point is maybe 10cm higher than my saddle height.

How can I ride under the tree (at speed), without dismounting?

My best try has been tilting the bike severely to the side, and crouching onto the outside pedal. Still, I hit my backpack and fell. Other attempts have been even more miserable. What is the correct technique?

  • 1
    By the way, that tree should be cut or moved away.
    – cherouvim
    Dec 20, 2013 at 10:25
  • 2
    When I biked trails a lot, after a storm I'd often carry a compact bow saw to cut through branches and small trees that blew down. Otherwise, dismount -- it's not worth getting hurt to save 30 seconds. Dec 20, 2013 at 12:12
  • 1
    @DanielRHicks, it's not about saving time. It is about having fun and trying new things in an area where there are no cars and no sharp rocks to get hurt on.
    – Vorac
    Dec 20, 2013 at 12:28
  • 1
    Then set up a limbo pole in some convenient (and reasonably safe) location and practice, moving the pole lower and lower. Dec 20, 2013 at 12:29
  • 2
    Funny idea. Build a little kicker before the tree and then scrub under it like: is.pinkbike.com/photo/2778/pbpic2778264.jpg
    – cherouvim
    Dec 20, 2013 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


10 cm from the saddle would be possible if you are talking about XC saddle height and the handlebars are lower than the seat.

One way is to do this:

enter image description here

Another way is to bend and go very deep:

  • knees bend pointing outside
  • hands totally straight to the bars so your body moves backwards
  • back totally straight
  • position your body so the saddle goes exactly between your head and your left or right bicep (whatever works best for you)
  • look ahead
  • I'll try those 2 :)
    – Vorac
    Dec 20, 2013 at 12:29
  • Actually the second one would fail, because of my backpack.
    – Vorac
    Dec 20, 2013 at 13:05
  • If you manage to go very deep (the seat gets right next to your ear) and keep your back totally straight, then you may make it.
    – cherouvim
    Dec 20, 2013 at 13:55
  • 1
    Great stuff. Now grab a saw and cut that tree. It shouldn't be there.
    – cherouvim
    Dec 21, 2013 at 20:55
  • 2
    @Vorac: Pics or it didn't happen :-)
    – Jan Fabry
    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:59

I totally agree with cherouvim's answer, but I want to add another couple possibilities:

  • Trials Style - If the base of the tree is near to the trail or any part of the tree is a little lower, you can try to treat it like a trials obstacle and get your front wheel up on it, then push off and raise the rear wheel up. This is pretty advanced, but it's an option.

  • Drift/Dab - While generally not recommended on most trails and dirt types, you could try turning the bike sideways (with the bike towards the tree), hanging your far foot out (away from the tree) and sliding under it. Once on the other side, turn back into the trail and keep pedaling. Again, not the easiest maneuver, but doable.

Other than that, I strongly recommend alerting whatever trail maintenance person/body is responsible to have the tree removed.


If you are sure that your backback caused the problem remove it. You can always try more you know. I do not think there is a better way to do such thing. Try lowering the saddle?

  • Well, I need the backpack. I was thinking more in the lines of tilting more, or putting a feet on the ground just for an instant, or grabbing the tree with hands, while passing under it. Just don't know in what order to try those. Or continue trying with my current technique.
    – Vorac
    Dec 20, 2013 at 10:20
  • you may fall if you tilt more Dec 20, 2013 at 10:56

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