Short of being able to cycle without wobbling, many of us are still intermediate in the pedaling department. Why is that so?
The shuffle start is probably what most of us use when pushing off on our bikes: putting one foot on a pedal and using the other to push off on the ground before taking off. This way, you’re using the ground as your taking off plane instead of the pedal itself – leading to an ineffective and slower start. This wrong technique happens when we learn to ride without “proper instruction”.
Take my case, for example. I learnt how to cycle by riding a tricycle in my childhood. Later on, I progressed to a bike with two cute baby wheels. After removing the 2 side wheels, man did I wobble! Numerous crashes and scrapped knees on, finally I learnt to keep a straight line at high speed, then slower, and slower…. now I can cycle without wobbling and drift lazily at low speeds. However, I used the shuffle start till a cyclist friend corrected me.
Is my story familiar to you? Most likely, a cyclist who self-taught himself cycling would not have grasped an important fundamental of the sport: how to stop and start a bike properly. Or how to mount and dismount.
Watch this video where the woman cyclist, Emily Weidman, does a wrong stopping technique and then shows a correct one.
In the wrong technique, she braked too abruptly and jerked herself off the saddle, planting both feet on the ground. This is quite dangerous if you ride in moderate to heavy traffic situations – you’ll not be able to saddle and push off on time. The time delay can be quite crucial to achieving the cruising speed (8-13kph) needed to maintain balance.
How to Stop Correctly
Usually, most beginning riders would wobble until they have hit a higher speed, around 8-13 kph. The correct starting technique would enable you to hit this crucial maneuvering speed sooner and maintain control of your bike. Ironically, the better you are at taking off, the more you can “cruise” on your bike at lesser speeds…
Ideally, it is best to use flat pedals when starting out. After you have grasped the rudiments, you can switch to toeclips and straps, or clipless pedals and cleated shoes.
- Apply the brakes gently to stop
- Lean forward off the saddle and put one support foot on the ground. Use your less skilled foot as support foot.
- Lean the bike in the direction of the support foot.
- Use your other, more experienced foot to pull your pedal backward 45 degrees above linear. This high pedal will aid you in pushing off.
- Once in this “stop” position”, you are ready to push off.
How to Start
- Release the brakes
- Push off on your raised pedal
- Ease into the ride and put your support foot back on the pedal when it’s in downward momentum.
Notice how Emily managed to overcome her abrupt, amateurish stops just by grasping the rudiments. Now she can get to Carnegie Hall….
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