How to… get on to a bike
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