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How to mount a bike and ride

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How to mount a bike and ride

Old 09-29-08, 07:57 AM
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How to mount a bike and ride

This is my first post. I have been lurking here for awhile and am very impressed with this forum.
My question regards to proper technique for mounting a bike when you (I am) a Clydesdale.

I have seen the video on Sheldon Browns website. It shows a young thin lady getting on the bike by straddling the top tube and then putting her foot on a pedal and pushing down - she gets going very easily.

But when I try this my size makes me very cramped on the bike and my belly hits the handle bars.
Now I straddle the bike - get partially on the saddle with a foot on the ground - then push off.

This works but if I get a bike that has the seat higher such as a road bike I will not be able to keep a foot on the ground and straddle the seat.

How do you guys mount and start your ride? Also how do you get off the bike?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:00 AM
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Well, as the belly shrinks (and it will), it will get easier. Been there and done that. For now, use what works and you'll develop your technique as you go.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jgjulio
This is my first post. I have been lurking here for awhile and am very impressed with this forum.
My question regards to proper technique for mounting a bike when you (I am) a Clydesdale.

I have seen the video on Sheldon Browns website. It shows a young thin lady getting on the bike by straddling the top tube and then putting her foot on a pedal and pushing down - she gets going very easily.

But when I try this my size makes me very cramped on the bike and my belly hits the handle bars.
Now I straddle the bike - get partially on the saddle with a foot on the ground - then push off.

This works but if I get a bike that has the seat higher such as a road bike I will not be able to keep a foot on the ground and straddle the seat.

How do you guys mount and start your ride? Also how do you get off the bike?

Thanks in advance.
No easy solution. I've been struggling with this since I first threw a leg over the saddle 22 months ago.
 
Old 09-29-08, 09:44 AM
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I hope this isn't too simplistic. Its the same approach I use to teach people how to turn kayak back upright after flipping over upside down. The key to learning complex stuff seems to be to break it down its individual pieces as you know. I think have each step broken out individually. So let me know if I'm missing a step. The time between steps is often less than a second. That said each step can be a stopping point in the learning process. For example you can do through step 7 over and over until your completely comfortable moving to step 8.

The key to getting up on the saddle is where you start.

1) standing over the bike, put your weight on the leg that will not be used to step up.
2) lean your bike toward that side slightly - just shy of 1 O'clock

3) Rotate the left pedal to a position between 9-11 PM

4) put foot on the pedal

5) Apply pressure to your handlebars with more weight on your right hand but enough pressure on your left hand to prevent the wheel from turning left when you start

6) Lean forward over your handle bars so that you hip is over the left pedal and your shoulders are over the handlebars. Given your back this may be only slightly forward of vertical

7) Keeping your hips over the crank, step down on your pedal letting the bike go forward and straighten up to 11 O'clock using mostly your right hand to push up your upper body. You should still be leaning forward over the handlebars slightly (10 or 11 O'clock bent from the hip). Given your back this may be vertical for you.

8)shift your backside over your saddle and sitdown.

9) Keep pedaling
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Old 09-29-08, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by natbla
I hope this isn't too simplistic. Its the same approach I use to teach people how to turn kayak back upright after flipping over upside down. The key to learning complex stuff seems to be to break it down its individual pieces as you know. I think have each step broken out individually. So let me know if I'm missing a step. The time between steps is often less than a second. That said each step can be a stopping point in the learning process. For example you can do through step 7 over and over until your completely comfortable moving to step 8.

The key to getting up on the saddle is where you start.

1) standing over the bike, put your weight on the leg that will not be used to step up.
2) lean your bike toward that side slightly - just shy of 1 O'clock

3) Rotate the left pedal to a position between 9-11 PM

4) put foot on the pedal

5) Apply pressure to your handlebars with more weight on your right hand but enough pressure on your left hand to prevent the wheel from turning left when you start

6) Lean forward over your handle bars so that you hip is over the left pedal and your shoulders are over the handlebars. Given your back this may be only slightly forward of vertical

7) Keeping your hips over the crank, step down on your pedal letting the bike go forward and straighten up to 11 O'clock using mostly your right hand to push up your upper body. You should still be leaning forward over the handlebars slightly (10 or 11 O'clock bent from the hip). Given your back this may be vertical for you.

8)shift your backside over your saddle and sitdown.

9) Keep pedaling
"Given your back...." Now who could this have been written for?
 
Old 09-29-08, 10:49 AM
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I guess I'd be like the skinny lady!

Wow, if you can straddle the saddle with a foot on the ground, you seat is way too low!
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Old 09-29-08, 10:53 AM
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You've got to get that seat higher or your knees will soon force you to stop riding altogether, regardless of mt bike, road bike or whatever.
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Old 09-29-08, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
I guess I'd be like the skinny lady!

Wow, if you can straddle the saddle with a foot on the ground, you seat is way too low!
Yeah, I know. That's why the OP and I want to learn to mount properly.
 
Old 09-29-08, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by IceNine
You've got to get that seat higher or your knees will soon force you to stop riding altogether, regardless of mt bike, road bike or whatever.
How soon is that? I've ridden 4800 miles with my saddle too low. I don't have knee problems I didn't already have.
 
Old 09-29-08, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by natbla
The key to getting up on the saddle is where you start.

1) standing over the bike, put your weight on the leg that will not be used to step up.
2) lean your bike toward that side slightly - just shy of 1 O'clock

3) Rotate the left pedal to a position between 9-11 PM

4) put foot on the pedal

5) Apply pressure to your handlebars with more weight on your right hand but enough pressure on your left hand to prevent the wheel from turning left when you start

6) Lean forward over your handle bars so that you hip is over the left pedal and your shoulders are over the handlebars. Given your back this may be only slightly forward of vertical

7) Keeping your hips over the crank, step down on your pedal letting the bike go forward and straighten up to 11 O'clock using mostly your right hand to push up your upper body. You should still be leaning forward over the handlebars slightly (10 or 11 O'clock bent from the hip). Given your back this may be vertical for you.

8)shift your backside over your saddle and sitdown.

9) Keep pedaling
Emphasis mine. 2) is incorrect unless "the leg that will not be used to step up" in 1) is the right leg. Ditto for the rest of the lefts and rights.

As simple as you've tried to make it, there's a lot of "left this" and "right that" and "do this with this body part while this other body part is doing that". I would suggest an even simpler approach, which is to practice on a very slight downhill. Point the bike downhill and stand over the top tube (to OP: as others have noted, you should not be able to sit on the seat and place both feet on the ground, but you should be able to stand over the top tube). Place one foot on the pedal, pedal anywhere from 9-11 o'clock as you say, but probably a bit closer to 11 (to OP: this is so that when you start, you'll have something to push down on that will get you going, but not so much that you can't get off the ground). Place your hands on the handlebars and push off the ground with your other foot like you were walking forward up a flight of steps. Don't worry at first about getting in the saddle or even getting your push-off foot on the pedal -- just glide forward, getting a feel for the balance of the bike. Use the brakes to slow down, and when you're at a near stop, just put your push-off foot down.

Keep practicing that until you feel comfortable gliding in balance. Then progress to placing your push-off foot on the pedal and gliding, then slowing and stepping off with one foot. Once that feels comfortable, try pedaling a bit. Once you feel confident that you can keep going forward until you want to stop, then try sitting down. But it always goes in that order, and in reverse when you stop: stand on two feet, one foot on pedal, other foot pushes off, other foot to pedal, start pedaling, sit down...stand up, foot off pedal, foot to ground.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian
How soon is that? I've ridden 4800 miles with my saddle too low. I don't have knee problems I didn't already have.

Hmm, not sure why it would lead to knee problems. I would think more 'quad' problems!...You'd be forced to use your quads more than you would with a proper seat height. Not enough extension to maximize power and effciency.

Like lifting weights. The weak point is in close quarters. Tougher benching 300lbs as it sits near your chest than it is to support it with the arms extended. Same with cycling, your strongest point is at the end of the extension. Pretty mcu teh reason most good mtn climbers ride with the saddle at a high position.

Plus the leg movement and extension helps circulate the lactic acid. That's why when your legs burn from mashing, it's good idea to place it in an easier gear, then spin to circulate the blood.

But in some cases, maybe medical/physical conditions, your results may vary!
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Old 09-29-08, 11:18 AM
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An easy way to mount is reverse the dismount:

Push off on one foot. Place second foot on second pedal. When both feet are on the pedals, swing the crankarms to the 9 o'clock and the 3 o'clock positions. Both feet level, lift your tush onto the saddle. EZ!

Dismount?
9 and 3 o'clock postions with the pedals. Lift tush off the saddle. Remove one foot from the pedal,place on ground to catch yourself while slow rolling to a stop.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:21 AM
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BTW, most efficient position of the saddle height is the height right before you hips begin to rock while pedaling. Allows for a near full extension and power. If it's too high, the hips will rock which means you are extending too much. This will cause pain in the hamstrings. If it's too low, pain in the quads!
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Old 09-29-08, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jgjulio
This is my first post. I have been lurking here for awhile and am very impressed with this forum.
My question regards to proper technique for mounting a bike when you (I am) a Clydesdale.

I have seen the video on Sheldon Browns website. It shows a young thin lady getting on the bike by straddling the top tube and then putting her foot on a pedal and pushing down - she gets going very easily.

But when I try this my size makes me very cramped on the bike and my belly hits the handle bars.
Now I straddle the bike - get partially on the saddle with a foot on the ground - then push off.

This works but if I get a bike that has the seat higher such as a road bike I will not be able to keep a foot on the ground and straddle the seat.

How do you guys mount and start your ride? Also how do you get off the bike?

Thanks in advance.
Really, Sheldon's method is the way to go.
You may find that you need to use a higher gear for mounting, then quickly shift down to get underway. If the gear is too low, the pedal goes down quickly and you have a hard time rising up fast enough to get the seat under your tuchus.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:26 AM
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I'll have to double check when i get home, but i had to really think about this because mounting the bike takes no thought at all, it just happens for me. However I read your description and the one thing I def note is that it seems like your trying to get into the saddle too quickly.

I tend to clip in with my right foot (clipless pedals) with the right pedal at 6:00. I then pull the pedal up to about 11:00 and push down. this gives enough oomph to get the bike in forward motion. As the right pedal starts to come back around i just hop into the saddle and i'm off.

I feel like it would feel awkward to be in the saddle, before i started to pedal.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
BTW, most efficient position of the saddle height is the height right before you hips begin to rock while pedaling. Allows for a near full extension and power. If it's too high, the hips will rock which means you are extending too much. This will cause pain in the hamstrings. If it's too low, pain in the quads!
One caveat to this. Your foot should be in a fairly neutral position, not pointing your toes down a lot. You can chew up your ankles in a hurry if you're pointing your toes so that you hips don't rock in a too-high saddle.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:51 AM
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I know it the "wrong" way of mounting, but I do the "cowboy" mount Mr Brown talked about in his article. I have to have my bikes too big for me due to my longer torso. So its no stradling the top bar for me.

I feel good with my seat adjustment that allows me to be in the saddle with my tippy toes balancing me. This is the perfect height for my pedal stroke with 175 crank arms.

Jerry
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Old 09-29-08, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat
Emphasis mine. 2) is incorrect unless "the leg that will not be used to step up" in 1) is the right leg. Ditto for the rest of the lefts and rights.

As simple as you've tried to make it, there's a lot of "left this" and "right that" and "do this with this body part while this other body part is doing that". I would suggest an even simpler approach, which is to practice on a very slight downhill. Point the bike downhill and stand over the top tube (to OP: as others have noted, you should not be able to sit on the seat and place both feet on the ground, but you should be able to stand over the top tube). Place one foot on the pedal, pedal anywhere from 9-11 o'clock as you say, but probably a bit closer to 11 (to OP: this is so that when you start, you'll have something to push down on that will get you going, but not so much that you can't get off the ground). Place your hands on the handlebars and push off the ground with your other foot like you were walking forward up a flight of steps. Don't worry at first about getting in the saddle or even getting your push-off foot on the pedal -- just glide forward, getting a feel for the balance of the bike. Use the brakes to slow down, and when you're at a near stop, just put your push-off foot down.

Keep practicing that until you feel comfortable gliding in balance. Then progress to placing your push-off foot on the pedal and gliding, then slowing and stepping off with one foot. Once that feels comfortable, try pedaling a bit. Once you feel confident that you can keep going forward until you want to stop, then try sitting down. But it always goes in that order, and in reverse when you stop: stand on two feet, one foot on pedal, other foot pushes off, other foot to pedal, start pedaling, sit down...stand up, foot off pedal, foot to ground.
This was written with a specific individual in mind. #1 is while standing still with the intent to use the left leg to start pedaling/step up.

I agree this seems overly complicated. It is however a full list of all the pieces. I agree with your method for most people. I find there is something for looking at all the details before trying to help someone else. Things that are easy without thought are often much harder to explain to a person who isn't at ease with a given activity or act.
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Old 09-29-08, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry in So IL
I know it the "wrong" way of mounting, but I do the "cowboy" mount Mr Brown talked about in his article. I have to have my bikes too big for me due to my longer torso. So its no stradling the top bar for me.

I feel good with my seat adjustment that allows me to be in the saddle with my tippy toes balancing me. This is the perfect height for my pedal stroke with 175 crank arms.

Jerry
I use the "cowboy" method most times myself.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for all the replys.
I know that my seat is too far down. So far I have not had knee pain. Riding 5-6 days a week - have about 500+ miles on the bike so far.
I am riding a Trek 7200.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:24 PM
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I first straddle the top tube. Then, while standing on the right foot with the bike slightly tilted to the right to keep the chain and its grease away from the right leg, I position the left pedal at 9 to 11 o'clock.
But this is where I found makes the real difference.
Instead of pushing down on the pedal.
STAND UP on the left pedal.
This then gets you up and over the saddle in one easy motion. And generates a powerful forward motion that helps you get up to speed and stable with less effort.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:30 PM
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I never really think about it, since I've been riding for decades. I don't have a single specific way that I get on my bike.

Sometimes I stand on the left side, clip in my left foot and do the cowboy swing-over with my right leg... hoping I don't clip my shin on my the end of my rack or kick low-flying birds.

Usually I just figure out how to swing one leg over the bike/rack/pannier setup so I'm standing straddle over the top tube, I plant my butt on the seat and push myself off with my left foot (which brings me up from my left-ward tilt) and then start pedalling.

I've also done the CX running start and hop onto the bike, the "I'm not really riding my bike" mount (stand on one pedal and push/scoot with one foot) where there are signs that say "NO BICYCLE RIDING", and the infamous 'nad-check (slip while clipping in; bounce on top tube.)
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Old 09-29-08, 02:36 PM
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Remembering I'm in the UK so directions will be reversed.

Left crank between 9 and 11 (looking at it) in a moderate gear. Stand on pedal and bike starts moving forward, swing leg over back of bike and onto saddle, right foot onto right pedal and start cycling away.

OR

Left crank at 6, left foot on crank, push with right foot once or twice and swing leg over.

OR

Bike next to kerb, left foot on kerb, sitting on saddle, start pedalling with right foot.

OR

Proper CX mount. Push bike along with both feet on floor running, jump up with right leg swinging over and have the inside of your thigh land on the saddle, budge over to the right and start pedalling.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:39 PM
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Having sold bike bikes for 12 years here's my 2 cents...

Assuming you have no difficultues straddling the top bar...

1. Place one pedal at 12 and the other at 6.
2. With one foot on the 6 o'clock pedal use the other foot to 'skip' forward and get yourself rolling.
3. Once you get rolling 'hop' yourself onto the seat and beging pedaling.

The benifit of this technique is that if you have trouble you simply 'dismount' with one foot on the 6 o'clock pedal and the other free to touch the ground.
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Old 09-30-08, 09:08 AM
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Thanks again guys. Lots of great ideas. I am going to practice and see what works.
I want to be able to set my seat at a proper height.
It seems that most bikes have the seat higher than the handlebars. My hybrid does not (Trek 7200). These other bikes (road, MTB, etc.) seem to require a relatively high seat - correct?
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