The Start

17 Dec

A bicycle ride has many parts. So, lets address the beginning.

A ride may begin in many ways. Inspiration comes in many forms. Discussing routes with friends over beers the night before or a solitary cup of coffee in the morning can equally inspire the course of events that bring a good ride to reality. The process that follows and ultimately results in a ride is a special one in and of itself.

According to the conditions and the terrain a rider must properly chose his kit. Of course, for the majority of the rides a quick fill of a bottle and squeeze of the tires is enough to get us out the door and on the road. I would encourage a bit more attention to detail though. Look at the weather conditions for the day to decide what will be appropriate to wear, think about the roads you will be on and adjust air pressure accordingly, know the group you are riding with and be sure to bring enough food to last your ride. (or be aware of where you might stop for a gas station corn dog)and last but not least please be cognizant of your seatbag. It must be properly equipped to handle most ride situations. (more on that in a later post)

Once steed and kit are in order it is time to go. This is a issue that seems frivolous but trust me once you master it you will understand. proceeding in a forward direction from a stop on a bicycle is a relatively straightforward endeavor, but doing it with style and authority can really get your ride headed in the right direction.

The manner in which a cyclist mounts the machine can be done in several ways but not all are appropriate.

The newsboy: A rider starts on a single side of the Bike and clips in one foot on that side then gets momentum going by pushing off scooter style for a few hops before swinging the pushing foot over the saddle and clipping it in. This is called the newsboy because for many kids with paper routes it was impossible to get on the bike any other way because the bikes they were riding were too big. Are you a paperboy? is your bike extremely ill sized? Then don’t do this. It is awkward and in group situations can prove humiliating.

The waddle: Surely this is the most embarrassing way to get onto a bicycle. it somewhat resembles how I imagine a duck would start out. Normally the rider is a novice rider. They feel at home clipping in at he bottom of the pedal stroke and there fore can’t generate momentum to get going without pushing off a couple of times. During this pushing debacle there is a high possibility of being “tattooed” by the chainring.

The next two methods are considered appropriate for almost all situations. The racer racer is my favorite.

The cross mount: Should be reserved for cyclocross racing. Some triathletes also do a variation of this mount when leaving T1. The mount can be done at speed or from a stop. It requires a little more  bike skill and doesn’t look pretty until the rider has practiced it quite a few times. The rider in one motion throws his leg over the top of the seat while pusing off with the oposite leg with enough force to push rider and machine into motion until the drive leg can start the pedals forward. The best description I have found is actually just to see it in action. check out the video.

The racer racer: I call it that only because at races you always see the front row of guys using this method, and I like to poke fun at racers (yes myself included). This is actually the way I recommend for most people to get going. It is smart, efficient and stylish in an understated way.  The starting position is clipped in on the drive side with the pedal is at the apex of it’s stroke. By standing up on the pedal the rider’s weight moves the bike forward and brings the non drive side pedal up to the top of it’s stroke ready to clip in and begin it’s power stroke.

After mounting up your ride has now begun!

Thanks for reading.

Branton

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