This is the simplest and most basic way to explain how to wrap a Lyra hoop. All photos and video belong to the wonderful lady that wrote this. Check out her blog here: Madame Rex
How to Tape an Aerial Hoop. Probably the Only Guide You'll Need.
Yep, I said it, I meant it- I’ve retaped more lyras than you can shake a stupid stick at, and I’ve tried different methods, and only one makes me happy every time.
The Internet knows Nothing, Jon Snow.
A brief consult with Google reveals only one piece of advice repeated over and over, which is the old “Start at 5 and tape to 12 o’clock, then repeat” method. I loathe this method because it makes the tape back-curl in the ONE PLACE that you most frequently hold the damn thing, which is at 5 and 7 o'clock. So one of your hands always gets torn up, not to mention the backs of your knees. I've even read suggestions to tape the hoop from 3 and 9 o'clock, which is truly masochistic.
So why do people do this?
The benefit is meant to be that the bottom of the hoop, where the most action occurs, will have a double layer of tape so that if one layer gets worn away, there is another layer waiting.
“that way the tape will be smooth when your hands slide down and the bottom of the hoop will have 2 wraps where most wear occurs.”
This sentence has been copy/pasted between the dozen sites that suggest this same method. By the way one of them had an incorrect rigging example right above this soooo… I really hope ya’ll are educating yourselves via many channels, because there is so much bad advice on the internet.
Why this makes no sense:
Using this method, if a layer of tape wears away, you aren’t left with a lovely usable backup layer of tape. You are left with a gaping, glue-filled maw yawning in the surface of the tape, which as soon as you hang on it will commence taking a bite right out of your palm.
But Rachel, you might say, at least you won’t have to retape your hoop!
Again, let’s take a closer look.
If you’re using athletic tape and you wear it down enough to rip off the bottom, yes you will have to retape your hoop. Also, the rest of your hoop by that time will have absorbed months of your body oils, skin cells, chalk, and rosin and sweat, and is by now discolored in places and needs to be retaped anyway. So the choice is yours- athletic tape and a lively re-taping every several months (according to use), or cloth tape and live with the same old tape until it gets too shiny and dirty with the aforementioned buggery to give you grip anymore.
If the priority is really, truly to tape your hoop as rarely as possible, throw some money at the problem and buy cotton milled handlebar tape like Newbaums or Velox, which lasts much longer.
Either way, the back-curling of tape is evil and I hate it, so on to Life According to Rachel’s version of how to tape a lyra.
This is way simple, yo. That is why it’s so easy to mess it up.
Look at the lyra like a clock, tab at the top. If it’s tabless, you will need to mark this place so that you hang the lyra in the correct orientation.
Start taping at 6 o’clock, overlapping the tape by about a third of its width.
Tape up to 12 o’clock
Repeat on the other side.
That’s it. That’s all you need. You don’t need a double layer of tape, ever, in my estimation. If you are using athletic tape, after you’re done, cover the whole thing in a thick layer of chalk to absorb the extra glue. If you don’t do this, the lyra stays sticky for longer as your body oils, etc. fill in the gluey gaps.
4 Simple Steps to turn this:
World, meet Aurora. This is what she looks like nekkid.
All dressed up
What kind of tape should I use?
I’ve used many different brands of athletic tape with similar results. Mueller comes in lots of colors, and in a bind good old drugstore brand adhesive cotton tape works just fine, as long as you have access to chalk as it can be quite gooey. For nerds, the goo comes from the zinc oxide adhesive. I have not to my knowledge used a non-zinc oxide based athletic tape but would be interested in the results.
The cotton milled tape I mentioned above is sold in bicycle shops intended for handlebars, or purchased online. Velox and Newbaum’s are the two brands I’m aware of, but I’m sure there are more, and they come in over 30 colors. They are far more expensive but last much longer than athletic tape.
I’ve heard of people using hockey tape, gaffer’s tape, and painting their lyras after they tape them. My advice is to experiment with whatever materials strike your fancy and find the way that works for you.
How many rolls do I need?
Using athletic tape- you will probably need less than two rolls.
Using cotton milled tape- you will need 6-10 based on the size of your hoop. My 38” hoop took 8 rolls of Newbaum’s.
Do I need pre-wrap?
No. But if you want to use corking or pre-wrap to cushion the lyra, don’t let anyone shame you for it. Your practice, your lyra.
Do I need tape removing spray?
Nope. That’s just something else people are trying to sell you.
When retaping the lyra, do I need to clean off the old goo before putting on new tape?
Are you really, truly certain that I don’t need a double layer of tape??
Yes, I am really truly certain.
Any other advice?
Yes. Use a color you can live with, particularly if you are using cotton milled tape. For example I invested in several rolls of my favorite color, emerald green. Halfway done I looked at it and said out loud, "No. No, no, we cannot be having this. I am not a leprechaun." And had to start over. See?
This isn't doing anyone any good.
Want to see a visual aid?
Or perhaps if you're like me and find fast motion videos to be extremely satisfying to watch, I made a dumb little video right here. Enjoy and happy taping!