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  1. #1
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    What is the proper way to get on and off of a bike?

    I was at the LBS looking for my first bike and tried one out just for sizing purposes. It was a Trek mountain bike with a 19 inch frame I believe. I am 6'1 with a 33 inch inseam and about 290 pounds. I could barely get my leg over the seat to get on. I mean barely and it was pretty shaky at that. While sitting on the bike I noticed my feet would just barely reach the ground with my tippy toes. I felt very unstable and shaky but I was just assuming it it because I am fat and out of shape and I haven't been on a bike in 33 years. (I am 53). The dealer had me stand over the frame and my goods were resting on it with some, but very little, room to spare. Then he had me get up on the seat, (very shaky again) while he was holding the handlebars and front wheel, and peddle the thing backwards looking at the placement of my legs etc. When we were finished and I got off of the bike I almost lost it but he gave me a helping hand to save me from a spill.

    Before I went in I had already decided I wanted a Trek 7.2 fx so it was just a matter of determining the size I needed. For me it would be either a 17.5 or a 20 inch frame. The dealer said he has never put a 6'1 man on a 17.5 inch bike before and it would be too small. But the 20 inch frame will be even bigger (taller?) then the one I almost fell off of.

    Do you guys think I will get used to getting on and off of the bike? Maybe as I get in better shape and can lift my legs higher? Hence my question, what is the proper way to get on and off of the bike? Should I lean it towards me as I try to mount it? Is the seat supposed to be that high? I know they can be raised, can they be lowered? I have no doubt I can ride the bike once I am mounted. But first I must get on the thing.

    All things I should have asked the dealer while I had his attention, I know.... I will call him tomorrow afternoon. Thing is we already ordered a 20 inch model on his advice. But I have been thinking about it all day today and wonder if I will be able to get on it.

    This is a small local dealer and he doesn't have fancy computers and fitting equipment or whatever the big shops have. The next dealer is two hours away and that is a little far to use for service and maintenance so I want to go with this local guy.

    Would love to hear your thoughts. Sorry so long. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    According to this chart I "should" be okay.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/faq/questio...questionid=63.

    So I wonder if it is just my lardness that is the problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Your LBS is correct. At 6'1", you should be on at least a 20" frame, if not a little larger. I am just under 5'9" and used to ride an 18.5" frame hybrid and frankly, as I progressed with cycling, I came to realize it was too small.

    Unless you ride an Electra Townie, you won't, or shouldn't try to stop and put your feet down while still in the saddle. To mount the bike, throw your leg over the bar and straddle the top bar. Lean the bike to one side, and place your foot on the pedal while keeping the other foot on the ground. Push off with your grounded foot. As you start to move, lift yourself up onto the saddle and start to pedal.

    When dismounting, as you slow to the point where you can't balance yourself on the bike, lift yourself off the saddle and slide forward slightly, then put one foot on the ground, leaving the other foot on the pedal. One trick I learned is to lean the bike in the direction of the foot you take off the pedal. So if you put your right foot down, lean the bike slightly to the right as you put your foot down.

  4. #4
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    As a husky fellow myself, I started biking about a year and a half ago at close to 450. I felt VERY shaky at first, and I am happy to say it goes away quickly. To get on my bike I have to tip it side ways a bit. Getting off I do the same thing but with my leg already extended out to "catch" the ground lol.
    www.BigBonedBiker.Wordpress.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Your LBS is correct. At 6'1", you should be on at least a 20" frame, if not a little larger. I am just under 5'9" and used to ride an 18.5" frame hybrid and frankly, as I progressed with cycling, I came to realize it was too small.

    Unless you ride an Electra Townie, you won't, or shouldn't try to stop and put your feet down while still in the saddle. To mount the bike, throw your leg over the bar and straddle the top bar. Lean the bike to one side, and place your foot on the pedal while keeping the other foot on the ground. Push off with your grounded foot. As you start to move, lift yourself up onto the saddle and start to pedal.

    When dismounting, as you slow to the point where you can't balance yourself on the bike, lift yourself off the saddle and slide forward slightly, then put one foot on the ground, leaving the other foot on the pedal. One trick I learned is to lean the bike in the direction of the foot you take off the pedal. So if you put your right foot down, lean the bike slightly to the right as you put your foot down.
    THIS is precisely what you need to know, and to do. I don't go two weeks on my job without showing this to some teen (or adult who's been off bikes for a generation).

  6. #6
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Your LBS is correct. At 6'1", you should be on at least a 20" frame, if not a little larger. I am just under 5'9" and used to ride an 18.5" frame hybrid and frankly, as I progressed with cycling, I came to realize it was too small.

    Unless you ride an Electra Townie, you won't, or shouldn't try to stop and put your feet down while still in the saddle. To mount the bike, throw your leg over the bar and straddle the top bar. Lean the bike to one side, and place your foot on the pedal while keeping the other foot on the ground. Push off with your grounded foot. As you start to move, lift yourself up onto the saddle and start to pedal.

    When dismounting, as you slow to the point where you can't balance yourself on the bike, lift yourself off the saddle and slide forward slightly, then put one foot on the ground, leaving the other foot on the pedal. One trick I learned is to lean the bike in the direction of the foot you take off the pedal. So if you put your right foot down, lean the bike slightly to the right as you put your foot down.
    Thank you for that detailed answer! I am able to envision what you are describing and as think back to my teenage years I can remember doing that on my old ten speed. Back then it just came naturally. These days, not so much I guess. Also thanks for confirming my LBS on the 20 inch frame.

  7. #7
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMAMRA View Post
    As a husky fellow myself, I started biking about a year and a half ago at close to 450. I felt VERY shaky at first, and I am happy to say it goes away quickly. To get on my bike I have to tip it side ways a bit. Getting off I do the same thing but with my leg already extended out to "catch" the ground lol.
    Okay so it is normal for the bike to be taller than your butt. Thus the leaning requirement.

  8. #8
    Ancient Clydesdale 2 wheeler's Avatar
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    To stabilize the bike when either mounting or dismounting, grab one or both brakes to keep the bike from rolling. The bike, itself, will provide a lot more stability for you if it's not rolling about while you're trying to use it to lean against.

    As others have said, a bike's seat is supposed to be higher than your butt when you're standing next to it. I tell people that you sit on a bike to get from point A to point B, not to use as furniture.

  9. #9
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip2 wheeler. I guess I am just used to riding motorcycles with a lot lower center of gravity and my feet on the ground. Much more stable.

    Dang, I have got to lose some more weight and hopefully riding will help a little. I have gone from 388 to 290 so far in about 2 years

    Thinking more about what you guys have said it seems you get UP on a bike, not just on it.

  10. #10
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Bikes are made to ride, not to sit on, so stationary, they're not too useful. If you put the seat way low on a bike, you can ride it, but it will kill your knees in short order, which is why it doesn't work like a motorcycle. If you want to look cool (cruiser/lowrider) or want to be jumping a bike (bmx, mountain biking, trials riding) you want the seat low, and you may wind up off the seat a lot. Otherwise, you need the seat high with the effects mentioned.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  11. #11
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    While everyone will claim that you need to be able to do the slide forward/back mount and dismount, there are lots of us that get along (with a proper saddle height) with only doing a throw-the-leg over mount/dismount and leaning the bike with a toe down at stops. I can do the slide-forward dismount, but I've never gotten the hang of getting back up into the saddle, no matter my weight. A proper saddle height on a non-crank-forward (i.e. most) bike means you can't directly put a toe down, but you stop, and let the bike lean over until your toe hits, then you spring your foot to fling the bike back to vertical as you start again.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Fangowolf's Avatar
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    Keep the brakes applied till your feet are on the ground. The first time your shorts hook on the saddle you will be glad the brakes are applied, unless you are looking for a laugh and the bike hop/slant will get you plenty of those.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    My road bike seat is 3'7" above the ground...

    1. stand with the bike in front of you
    2. lean the bike down to 45* (or lower)
    3. lift one leg
    4. step over while the bike is near the ground
    5. lift the bike "up" as if you are pulling on a pair of pants.


    No hopping around, or swinging a leg up to your shoulders to clear the seat post.

  14. #14
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    You got great advice on how to do it ^. You mentioned being "shaky". I know what you mean, when I started riding I realized I had lost/forgotten some of my skills of youth.

    As far as getting used to riding, you'll find it gets much better/easier. I started heavier than you when you factor in height. I was 252 and just 5'7" tall. Everything felt "shaky". 3 years and 60 lbs later or lighter, I can now do a "high ho silver" dismount: At a Triathlon, while approaching transition line reach down and un fasten shoe leaving shoe clipped in, put bare foot (i don't wear socks during a Triathlon) on top of left shoe, approaching the transition line swing right leg over seat and coast to line standing on left pedal, at line stop and run to bike rack. This is all done to save time getting off the bike, funny I do this when you consider how slow I am at running But it's fun and that's what the cool kids do.

    My point is I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how fast your skills of youth return. Oh, I'm 56 y/o.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bbeck's Avatar
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    I think once you get the bike you will find it easy to mount and dismount. It sounds as if you were on a trainer mounting and dismounting.
    That changes everything because the bike is held straight up. When you are mounting outside you will lean the bike a bit and have no issues.
    Sliding off the front at stops and lifting up to go is what caused me to buy my first pair of bibs. My shorts hung on the saddle and my moon was in full view .
    Brandon Gallatin, Tn.
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/bwbeck

  16. #16
    Senior Member rawly old's Avatar
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    In my experience, the best way to get on a bike is not to fall over
    in as much as it is embarrassing and often painful. I know this cuz
    I hooked my shorts on the seat oncest an' crashed directly to the
    concrete breaking a rib, cracking a vertibra, and herniating a kidney.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    When I was 4 years old I used a cinder block and the side of the house to get up on my bike and push off...

    I'm 60 at 235# with bad back and knee and osteo...

    Just put a cinder block in the drive way...

  18. #18
    Member m1aman's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the great tips guys! It's been helpful.

  19. #19
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    Old steel makes me squeal!

  20. #20
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need to get good at track stand OP!

    It was just as MRT2 mentioned that I realized my frame is a bit too small for me. I am 6' even but my legs are a bit on the long side (I guess) and when I get to lights and such and have to stop, I will sometimes wack my knee when starting. I should probably be on a 60cm, and at that size I know that if I am sitting in the seat my tippy toes would barely touch the ground, which I would be OK with if it means I am more comfy on the bike.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

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