By far and away the most important thing about cycling is the mount. This is a much-ignored aspect of being a #profamateur, to the detriment of everyone.
Essentially, there are three types of bicycle mounting, but only one of them is proper.
The bicycle-falling-off mount
Happens but not recommended. Results in not mounting at all. Self-explanatory. Bad.
The awkward mount
This is the most common type of mount, and it stems from the basic ungainliness of having to split your legs wide open, displaying all kinds of stuff to the public, and then trying to gracefully throw a disobedient leg over as you engage the next steps of mounting. These next steps, for most people, involve placing both feet on the ground, and then putting one foot on a pedal, and then pushing off with the other foot while trying to properly seat your butt on the saddle.
The whole process, no matter how many times you do it, typically looks like a mating dance between a passionate baboon and an oversized coathanger. Middle parts may or may not be racked against the top tube or the nose of the saddle, and clumsy mounting often results in excessive cleat clattering as you skitter along the sidewalk trying to get the whole contraption going, kind of like pushing a huge barge away from a dock with a rowboat.
Fumbling with the foot on the pedal ensues, resulting in wobbly starts. The truly awkward mount ends in a collision with a tree or parked car, as the cyclist, staring feverishly at the cleat, fails to look up in time to avoid fixed objects and death.
The smooth mount
Some riders try to smoothly mount by swinging a leg over the handlebars and front end of the bike, but this looks totally pretentious and non-#profamateur. Moreover, if you miss the handlebar swingover by a centimeter or two you will wind up at the ER explaining to the doctor why you need to have a shift lever extracted from your undercarriage.
By far the best way to mount smoothly is as follows:
- Place both hands on the hoods.
- With your left foot pointing in the same direction as the bike, and your legs as close to the frame as possible, raise your right leg over the saddle just high enough to clear the saddle, and let your leg drape casually over the other side of the bike as your foot comes into contact with the pedal.
- As you execute No. 2 above, be sure not to simply throw your leg over the top tube so that you are standing with both feet on the ground or with your butt over the top tube, because now you will have to fumble and clack to get the pedal engaged, and then you’ll have to hoist your butt up onto the saddle, possibly resulting in rackage and awkward insertion of the saddle horn. The goal is for the right leg to swing over, seat your ass on the seat, and engage the right pedal all in one smooth movement.
- Now you should have your hands on the hoods, your butt on the saddle, one foot on the right pedal, and your left toe on the ground. This should all have happened in one continuous motion. In order to get going, all you have to do now is push down on the right pedal, which engages the pedal with the cleat, and you’re off.
Next issue: The Dismount Ballet
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