How to… get on to a bike

Cycling Weekly - - Last Laugh -

Other than ac­tual speed, how a cy­clist mounts their bike is one of the truest signs of a qual­ity rider. There are more ways to mount a bike than you think. All have hid­den dan­gers.

First, there is the tra­di­tional: grasp the bars, swing your leg over the sad­dle, strad­dle the bike. Very straight­for­ward till the day when you catch the sad­dle with your leg and fall over. This will never, ever hap­pen with­out wit­nesses, who will be un­will­ing to ac­cept that you were on a slope, that you slipped, or that a very warm day meant your seat­post had ex­panded. The other down­side is that it is how an ama­teur gets on a bike.

For the mid­dle-aged rider whose flex­i­bil­ity is not all it might be, you can swing your leg over the bars in­stead. This looks weird. And it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore you kick your Garmin into a storm drain.

You can hold the bike on its back wheel, bars at chest height, then swing the sad­dle back­wards through your knees and drop the bike into place be­tween your legs. Done with a bit of verve, this can look quite stylish. On the other hand, done with a bit of verve and a bike with too high a top tube, it can also re­duce you to a crotch­grasp­ing howl of agony. So check in slow mo­tion first.

The most stylish is the com­bined leg-swing over sad­dle with si­mul­ta­ne­ous push-off, so you land on the sad­dle of a mov­ing bike, find the ped­als, and ride off. Done right, it’s cool and lan­guid. Done wrong, you run out of mo­men­tum be­fore you find the ped­als and fall over.

The push-off and swing re­quires a level of fi­nesse to avoid fall­ing off

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