|Bicycling Street Smarts|
OFF TO A GOOD START
Let's look first at how you get onto your bicycle. If you climb onto it
the right way, you get quicker, safer starts and a more efficient riding position. We'll
also take a look at how to get off smoothly so you're positioned to start again quickly.
When you get onto your bicycle, first stand over the frame in front of the saddle. Hold the brake levers so the bike wont roll. A steady bike lets you get into position to mount.
Now, using either foot, gently turn the crank backwards until the pedal is at 2 oclock position forward and high. If the crank wont turn easily, carefully adjust the gear levers until the chain runs straight.
Once your foot is on the pedal in the 2 oclock position, youre ready to get moving. Let go of the brakes and push down on the pedal. The first pedal stroke starts the bicycle moving and lifts you up to the saddle. When the opposite pedal comes up to top position, put your foot on it for the second pedal stroke.
When youre coming to a stop, stand on one pedal, and slide forward off the saddle. Lean the bicycle a little to the side and place your free foot on the ground. When stopped, raise one foot and its pedal into the 2 oclock starting position.
No matter what type of pedals you use (see below), put only one foot on the ground when you stop. The other foot waits on its pedal in the 2 oclock position, ready for a quick start.
Do not try to sit down on the saddle with both feet on the ground before you start. If you can do this, your saddle is too low. Make sure your saddle height is adjusted properly (a good bike shop can help you). A saddle that's too low (or too high) can cause knee injuries and makes it harder to pedal.
Pushing the bike along with a foot, like a scooter, or leaping onto a bike from the side, like a horse, are not as steady or safe as the pedal-step method described earlier in this chapter.
Practice the pedal-step method until youre comfortable with it. Raise the saddle if it is too low. Also, practice shifting your gears as you stop, so youll have good acceleration when you start again. Youll be rewarded with smoother, safer and quicker starts.