‘Cross diary 5: get (up) on it

November 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Posted in cycling | Leave a comment
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Remounting. A word to chill the blood of the CX newbie. While dismounting is also scary (especially to those of us with no balance, coordination or bike-handling skills, who have been known to topple over while waiting at traffic lights), it is at least possible to break it down into steps: unclip right foot – stand on LH pedal – swing right leg over saddle – unclip left foot – jump off. Of course, this is just the beginning. My dismount at the moment is more of a semi-controlled tumble, gripping the bike to stay upright. Mostly I remember to unclip my left foot. It’s not exactly smooth.

But remounting… No matter how many YouTube videos you watch, there’s nothing to break down. One minute the gal or guy is running alongside her/ his bike, the next – hup – s/he is on the saddle and pedalling off. What happened there?

So here, for the benefit of other scaredy-cat noobs, is my collection of (mostly other people’s) wisdom on learning to remount. There are different options, depending on your general psychology and your bike handling skills:

Option 1: Softly softly catchee monkey.

I saw this demonstrated online and it looked like the answer.

  1. Walk alongside bike
  2. Sling leg over
  3. Little push with left toes
  4. Off you go.

Recommended for people who can control the bike at a slow speed. You guessed: not me then.

Option 2: Just do it.

  1. Push bike along and jog alongside it
  2. Leap onto saddle while going along.

Oh, hang on. How do I do that, again?

Option 3: Err… there is no option 3.

As I couldn’t do option (1), I had to work on improving my chances of option (2) happening. I was so worried about this that I put my bike on the turbo trainer and practised slinging my leg over the saddle, getting on with a little hop. It did help.

Then I went to the park. I put the RH pedal in a ready-to-pedal-off position, then walked alongside the bike and put my right leg over, connecting with the pedal immediately and pushing off as I was getting my bum onto the saddle. This helped me feel like I knew where the saddle was.

My first attempt to jump on ended up with me straddling the top tube. Too far forward, then. I walked along close to the bike, my arms at full stretch, bumping my hip against the saddle. Head up, shoulders down, try to relax, look forwards*. I ran with the bike (it is easier if you jog**) and thought about going forward and around the saddle, rather than up and over*. I counted one, two steps***, and jumped. It worked! Blimey! Partner happened to be looking at me rather than watching the boys circling the park at that point, and I heard him yell ‘WAHEEEY!’. Haha!

Then, of course, I immediately couldn’t do it again. I tried using positive psychology (stop trying to jump, and jump!).

I also used visualisation (that is, I visualised myself tweeting triumphantly about my success later on).

By the end, I probably got it right about three times out of every four. The other times I changed my mind at the last minute, or I didn’t get my leg up high enough, and tangled myself in the rear brakes. Once I ended up with my stomach on the saddle, Superman-style. But now I know I can do it, it’ll just be practice, won’t it? A lot of practice…

[Maybe the most important thing: it is REALLY tiring (both mentally and physically) practising this. So warm up, and maybe stretch, then get on with it. Don’t try it at the end of a long session of other stuff. Practise lots of times as soon as you have ‘got it’, to try and make it automatic. Stop once you are getting tired; I made a hash of it few times towards the end and started losing confidence. I did it one more time correctly, decided to quit while I was ahead, and went off to practise slaloming around goal posts instead.]

* all these are tips from this forum discussion.

** tip from a chap at training.

*** tip from @Psyclyst

Also see CJ Boom’s tips on remounting on her blog.

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