Skills - Manual
From RPL3000 on the forum
A couple things that help before you even get on the bike
are; i) having a decently fat rear tyre (2.2) and ii) having a 'bmx' dirt jump
style frame (P1, steelhead.. you know more of a park, jib bike). Generally the
BB is a bit lower and you are in a better position for this than a frame w/ xc
I'll assume that you are riding platform pedals (not a requirement, but for learning you should be riding them) and that you can bunny hop up curbs also. Not the "2-wheeled" hop either. The way where you pick the front up first and launch the bike forward (watch bmx movies).
Two decent ways to practice are as follows:
Use a side walk and pick up the front wheel at a crack and have a determined goal (like hold for 2 cracks or something). You should practice picking the front up slow and smooth. Being smooth is the most important thing. Try not to pick up the front so hard that you need alot of rear brake to keep from looping out. Once you hit the magic G-spot (you'll know by the euphoric balance feeling) you'll need to hump the bike by moving your hips fore and aft to keep the spot. Try to keep the front low by outstrestching your arms and having your chest about over the nose of the saddle, but dont let that finger off the brake lever (its your only safety net). By keeping the front lower, I've found its a bit easier to control.
Another decent way to practice is to roll up to a curb and bunny hop up it like you usually would except pull the front up a bit early and preform the bunnyhop motion much slower than you usually would. So for example, instead of pulling up the front at the last moment, pull it up a foot before the curb and roll on the back tyre an extra foot before pushing the bars forward and picking up the back. make sense? slow down the bunny hop and roll on the back a bit further. Pretty soon you'll be pulling up 6ft before the curb, rolling and then hopping up it.
I've found that a slight downhill helps in maintaining speed. Faster is usually more stable (although I've done some higher speed ones , 40+, and you've really got to be on your game for that because things happen really quick with wind and road conditions). Heavier bikes, like DH rigs, and hard to get up into the 'sweet spot', are easier to keep in the sweet spot, but much much hard to correct once you get out of the zone. Light bikes require alot of humping. And ont final thing, I've never thought the rotation front wheel has ever helped, once you get good, grab a little front brake so you look super cool w/o the front wheel spinning.