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  1. #1
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    Cowboy or step through?

    Which do you prefer? Or do you use both and decide depending on the situation?

    I went to my first clinic last night (after my first race two weeks ago) so I'm pretty new to it. The clinic was great, an instructor pulled aside the beginners and our small group spent like 40 minutes going over dismounts, remounts, barriers, shouldering etc all the technical aspects that you don't use in regular road riding. I got some great hints and tricks I wouldn't have learned on my own or by watching youtube videos.

    I guess the step through has fallen into disfavor among the elites, but our instructor, an experienced veteran, uses both, depending on the situation. The step through does seem like a smooth and elegant method to hurdle a barrier on flat ground went you want to approach and complete it at maximum speed and aren't too crowded. The way he did it there was very little change in his pace as he completed the maneuver. Anyways it was fun to practice it.

    He said he'll use the cowboy when dismounting at the base of a run-up or a stretch of boggy mud or sand when you have to shoulder the bike and run and often there's a bottleneck of other riders.

    Anyways I'm curious.

  2. #2
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    "Cowboy" is faster than step-through in all situations and that's why you shouldn't bother with step-through.
    Last edited by flargle; 11-21-13 at 12:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Mercrudgeon Bikedud's Avatar
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    I usually just cowboy. I don't think I'm graceful enough to bring my leg through consistently. Some folks do a modified where they step down with their right foot even with, or just slightly in front of their left foot. Not enough video of my dismounts and remounts for me to know for sure how goofy I may look.
    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Monkeyclaw's Avatar
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    Step through is great until the time you don't get your left foot unclipped. Then it's not so great.

  5. #5
    Senior Member justin1138's Avatar
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    With all that's going on in a CX race, having to decide which way to dismount seems like an added layer of unnecessary complexity. At least to my simple mind...

    I like to employ the "cowboy" in all matters of dismounting.

    I should also point out that I'm new to this and i dismount on the right, so I clearly shouldn't be taken seriously.
    where's my two dollars...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin1138 View Post
    i dismount on the right
    So does Kevin Pauwels so you are in good company.

  7. #7
    Mercrudgeon Bikedud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin1138 View Post
    i dismount on the right
    In spite of the use of the term "cowboy", it's a bike, not a horse. Get on and off in what ever way works for you.

    I have three goals when I race CX- 1) Don't crash- 2) Finish the race- 3) Finish in the top.......... heck, who am I kidding? - just don't be last.
    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
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  8. #8
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    ok that's 5 for cowboy, 0 for step-through.

    I can see it making sense to pick one method and stick with it. Cowboy does seem more foolproof. And at my level foolproof is good! Step-through did seem more graceful and I could see if done well, gives you a better running start. But hey graceful doesn't win races.

    I could work a lot more on getting faster, managing corners, etc and make bigger gains than spending a lot of time tweaking the dismount. But hey I may as well pick a method and work on it during my daily riding.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    step through requires a different frame. an Oma, not an Opa.

    I can mount my Brompton and Bike Friday with a step-through motion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    step through requires a different frame. an Oma, not an Opa.

    I can mount my Brompton and Bike Friday with a step-through motion.
    very funny, do you take those out on the 'cross course?

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sure, to the Beer Tent .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niloc View Post
    Step-through did seem more graceful and I could see if done well, gives you a better running start.
    But it doesn't. Your left foot is behind your right foot, so your second step is slower than if you just did a cowboy dismount.

  13. #13
    Senior Member User1's Avatar
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    Oh hell, I'll ask..........

    What da hell is "Cowboy"?

    Is a bunny hop = a cowboy?

    And yes I tried to find ANYTHING on youtube and couldn't find a thing.

  14. #14
    Mercrudgeon Bikedud's Avatar
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    The "basic" technique that is discussed is cowboy, and the "advanced" technique is the step through. Watch closely and you can see the difference.
    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
    Somerset Maugham

  15. #15
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    It's almost 2014 and people are STILL talking about the step-through?!?!?!?

    Off top of head, the three fastest guys through a set of barriers are Trebon, Tim Johnson, and Wellens. Do any of them use a step-through? No. Does Sven effing Nys use a step-through? No.

    Please, enough of this nonsense.

  16. #16
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)

  17. #17
    Senior Member justin1138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)
    this song has been in my head on repeat since yesterday...
    where's my two dollars...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. (Actually it's scandium, but that just doesn't flow.)
    Mine's lugged and double butted...

  19. #19
    Senior Member User1's Avatar
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    Oh OK, cowboy = shouldering?

    I couldn't help envisioning in thread above a cowboy carrying his horse over an obstacle!

  20. #20
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I realized recently that my self-taught through observation dismount was a step-through dismount. Due to several near-misses (and one direct hit) on the barriers, where I was lucky not to be injured, I examined what I was doing and did some actual research on technique. Turns out the pros aren't doing a step-through, precisely because of the problem I had: if your cleats don't release smoothly, you could be in for a world of hurt. So I switched mid-season to the much safer no-step-through dismount. Currently, yes, I am slower, but that's because I've had very little practice with the new technique. Even if I'm never as fast with without the step-through, I don't care - it's simply not safe. But I'm sure that I will end up faster, losing the step-through means you can hit the ground closer to the barriers. My problem is that I'm new to the technique and a little shy of excess speed at the barriers after a few scary experiences.

  21. #21
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by User1 View Post
    Oh OK, cowboy = shouldering?

    I couldn't help envisioning in thread above a cowboy carrying his horse over an obstacle!
    Only really hard core cowboys carry their horse when the horse isn't up to the terrain. But, no, "cowboy" just refers to unclipping your left foot without bring your right foot through between your left leg and the bike. Personally, I unclip the left foot as I'm dismounting, but I hear some people unclip their left foot before swinging their legs over.

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I hope I'm not the only one who's plowed into a barrier because he couldn't get his left foot out of the pedal in time. D'oh!
    Last edited by caloso; 11-22-13 at 03:43 PM. Reason: pedal, not barrier
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  23. #23
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    No sir you are not the only one.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  24. #24
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I hope I'm not the only one who's plowed into a barrier because he couldn't get his left foot out of the barrier in time. D'oh!
    I prefer to flop on the ground and roll into the barrier. Usually my foot comes dislodged around the time the bike slams into my hip, and then I can just get up and hop the barrier as originally planned. Smashing into the barrier gets you over quicker but sometimes you have to go back to retrieve your bike.

  25. #25
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    The only time I see people stepping through is at a clinic. I've tried it and don't like it so I cowboy all the time.

    As for the driveside dismount I think it is a great technique to learn, especially if you have short legs and a tall bike, at Marymoor on the velodrome banks and Monroe on the hill it was way easier for me to get on/off on the right.

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