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Thread: Dismounting

  1. #1
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    Dismounting

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    I have plain pedals and wear ordinary athletic shoes when I ride.

    My seat is adjusted rather high (or so it seems to me) in order to have enough room for my long legs to almost fully extend when I'm pedaling. This makes starting and stopping awkward, and I guess I've been using cheats too much because the two times I've had to stop unexpectedly, I've fallen both times. Right now I have some very nasty bruises! So I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.....

    First of all -- the cheats -- ordinarily when I'm riding, if I need to stop I'll slow down close to a curb so I can put my right foot on the curb and then get off. OR I roll onto thick grass on a slight incline which makes it easier to stop. Enough of that nonsense -- I need to learn the right way.

    I assume that anybody who has their seat adjusted correctly is going to have the seat too high to be able to put their feet down on the ground while they're seated, right? So, how do you get on and off the seat?

    My thighs will appreciate the answer, I assure you! And my elbows, hands, etc.

    “Hey, clearly failure doesn’t deter me!”

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Boise, Idaho
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    Pooks, what's been working for me is to stand on the low pedal, take my foot off the high pedal, and sort of step down off the seat (b*tt comes forward of the seat) onto the ground with that "floating" foot. My bike tips slightly toward that foot that's hitting the ground when I land so the pedal isn't wacking me in the leg. Yes, I'm anticipating the stop enough ahead so that I'm going fairly slowly rather than using my foot as a brake! There are occasions when that foot is a bit of a brake too, though!

    While I'm stopped, I sort of rearrange my pedals so that I've got some pushing power when I start up again, or that's when it seems I'm in danger of falling! This way, I can be pushing on that pedal (not too close to the top of the circle, but some forward) and lifting my b*tt up onto the seat at the same time.

    Does any of this make sense? Who knows if it's "right" but so far it's been working for me!

    Scary to be thinking about doing this with those clipless pedals that one clips one's feet into, isn't it? I keep wondering how people manage to fall the other way from the foot that's heading for the ground. Some of the tales sound like they're already standing there, stopped and should oughta be comfortable when they tip over just for the seeming heck of it! Maybe I've got to experience it to understand it, so maybe I'd just as soon never understand?

    Karen in Boise

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Ventura County CA
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    Kano's got it-- push your bum off the seat and get that foot on the ground. But if it were me and I didn't have clipless pedals I would throw my leg back off behind the saddle like dismounting a horse and coast in on one foot... that's the kid in me.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2006
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    I do it all those ways. It just depends. I used to be able to tuck my leg over in FRONT of me, too, but I was very much younger then. My favorite way to stop is like the last post, coasting in one one foot, because it's a short little hill to my gate, and I have to hop off anyway.

    I definitely try to stay on the seat if I can, because then it's easier to keep going if I want/need to. If I have to get off the seat, that means I'm stopped for sure.

    But I'm pretty good at a track stand now, if the wind isn't blowing too hard.

    And it doesn't matter if you're clipped in or not--you can fall right over if you're not paying attention.

    Karen

  5. #5
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    So how do you stop suddenly?

    Both times I fell, it was because something unexpected happened. I was already going slow one time and the bike was wobbling (which I now understand was because I was going slow!), but realized I was about to hit the curb and couldn't react in time. The other time my husband stopped and I didn't -- I was going downhill and decided to make a U-turn and go back to him. I wasn't going fast, but I was going faster than I realized, couldn't turn tight enough, suddenly saw I wasn't going to miss the curb and -- again, my reactions were wrong, and not fast enough. I hit the curb and went off the bike.

    “Hey, clearly failure doesn’t deter me!”

  6. #6
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    Feb 2006
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    Aberystwyth, Wales
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    When I had that problem (for instance when borrowing the bike of my 6'4" "baby" brother), what I do is a sort of jump forward off the seat as I'm stopping. Basically, hit the breaks and stand up on the pedal that is at the bottom of the stroke lifting my butt of the seat and then just as the bike stops, put the free leg on the ground or jump off and put both feet on the ground. Just takes a little practice to get the timing right of jumping off just at the point when the bike has stopped, not two seconds before when the seat will hit you in the back. It is possible to get used to it, just takes a little practice.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Texas
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    What Kano said...except you don't actually have to stand on the lower pedal to unclip. Just unclip the foot from the top pedal then stand on the low pedal and step down with your free foot when you come to a stop. You can do this well ahead of your actual stopping point. I think the falling thing is just experience. Also, it helps to spray your pedals with WD40. Makes getting in an out a LOT easier. But it will attract dust so be sure to clean and relube often. After falling a time or two it really makes you pay attention more when slowing down and/or turning. I still unclip my top foot "just in case" when slowing down...that way I have a quick out.
    As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence." ~Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Boise, Idaho
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    Quote Originally Posted by pooks
    So how do you stop suddenly?

    Both times I fell, it was because something unexpected happened. I was already going slow one time and the bike was wobbling (which I now understand was because I was going slow!), but realized I was about to hit the curb and couldn't react in time. The other time my husband stopped and I didn't -- I was going downhill and decided to make a U-turn and go back to him. I wasn't going fast, but I was going faster than I realized, couldn't turn tight enough, suddenly saw I wasn't going to miss the curb and -- again, my reactions were wrong, and not fast enough. I hit the curb and went off the bike.

    Pooks, you gotta stay away from curbs! It sounds like they're out to get you!

    Now that turn around to get back to hubby -- I had a similar event one time: he decided to turn a corner, I was going at full tilt down that hill, didn't even bother to try! I pretty much said to myself, ain't no WAY that's going to happen at this speed! There was a church parking lot just a bit further, and I did my turn around in that. In this case, traffic and orange construction barrels made the decision to get off the main road easy! He was half a mile down the road before he noticed I hadn't made the turn behind him and came back to see what had happened to me. I'll probably never know what posessed him to turn down that one anyway -- our plan was the road just north of that church parking lot! (a couple of blocks farther on) Still -- by the time he found me, I was well on my way to catching up with him, and we discovered a whole new neighborhood of houses we didn't know was there!

    Anyhow... Here's my advice on turning around when you get separated from hubby: wait til you're sure you're safe doing it, cuz for some reason, they come looking for you when they figure out that you're not with 'em, OR they catch up with you if they decide they like your route better! Chances are yours is a bit like mine and he'd rather wait a bit than be looking at a bruised up wife! (you know how we worry about them? strangely, they worry about us too!)

    Karen in Boise

  9. #9
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    Apr 2006
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    I was going downhill and decided to make a U-turn and go back to him. I wasn't going fast, but I was going faster than I realized, couldn't turn tight enough, suddenly saw I wasn't going to miss the curb and -- again, my reactions were wrong, and not fast enough. I hit the curb and went off the bike.
    It's much better to ditch the bike than hit the curb. In that instance I probably would have slammed on the brakes at the same time I put my foot down on the uphill side, but while I was laying the bike down. If you do it in one motion, your foot lands far enough away from the bike that you're kind of stepping off it as it gets lower to the ground, you let go with your uphill hand, then your other leg follows in a step beyond the first. Another step and your uphill foot won't get caught under the bike while you let it drop to the ground with your other hand.

    It's more of a controlled fall than a dismount, but it's better than endoing. I do not like for my bike to hit the ground hard, so I can manage to stay upright doing this maneuver and still hold onto the upper end of the bar and gently lay the bike down before I have to let go. Momentum will usually require me to let go, but I have been able to stop with the bike still in the air.

    I don't know if it's really a technique, per se, but it is something that has happened to me more than a few times in my life. It's a great alternative to falling over, if circumstances are right. It doesn't look very graceful, but it saves the old kneecaps.

    You could practice it. Just practice laying the bike down and walking off of it to the side. You can put the other foot on a curb for balance, and just lean the other way. If you do it on grass, and do it to the left, you won't damage your deraileur. But it works in either direction.

    Karen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Md suburbs of Wash. DC
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    I was nervous about stopping when I got my new bike this year because the top tube is so much higher than on my old hybrid. I was sure that I was going to come to a quick stop, drop forward from the seat, and do some serious damage! Fairly quickly, though, I taught myself this trick: When I need to stop, whether it's a quick'n'dirty or a gradual slow down, I decide which foot I want to land on, then as I put on the brakes I lean the bike in that direction, bringing that side of the bike closer to the ground so I can reach more easily with my foot. It's not a big lean, just a few degrees, but it's enough to whip my foot out of my PowerGrip (or toe cage, or clipless pedal, or off of a regular pedal) and get it on the ground. Then I pull my butt forward off the seat, and my foot and the two wheels end up forming a tripod under me. Does that make sense?

    Now, if I were really cool, I'd learn how to do a cyclocross dismount (similar to what fatbottomedgurl and Tuckervill described). A good 'cross rider can swing one leg over behind the saddle, get both feet on the ground, then begin running while lifting the bike up onto one shoulder in order to jump over obstacles... And maybe, after I master that move, pigs will fly

  11. #11
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    Mar 2006
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    Okay the absolute coolest dismount is when you accidently endo and jump over the handlebars and hit the ground running. Now I personally will never ever do this but a guy friend of mine has, he even said once he stepped on his handlebars on the way over.

  12. #12
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    Okay the absolute coolest dismount is when you accidently endo and jump over the handlebars and hit the ground running. Now I personally will never ever do this but a guy friend of mine has, he even said once he stepped on his handlebars on the way over.
    Eek. When I was 9 I endoed over my Schwinn and broke my nose on the giant nut that held the handlebars on. I was unconcious for 45 minutes, and bled like a stuck pig.

    Just imagining going over the handlebars, even in such an incredible manner as your friend's, makes all my sphincters close up at once!

    :::shudder:::

    Karen

  13. #13
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    Wow, Karen. My sphincters are doing exactly what yours are. Ouch!

    Thanks for all the advice, all! I also found what amounts to "mounting and dismounting for dummies" on Sheldon Brown's site, and have been practicing!

    “Hey, clearly failure doesn’t deter me!”

  14. #14
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    Jun 2005
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    Practice is the key :-) (For those of us who don't land on our feet and *then* say "how did I do that?")

    I also practice 180's and "tight" (extremely wide definition) turns 'cause my anxiety threshold is incredibly earlier than the real turning radius of the bike.

    I was practicing in a parking lot (which had a fair number of cars in it, but either residential or office; no activity to speak of) when I was half an hour early for a club ride. I was trying to focus on balance and what was going on around me but just as I went to do my attempted 180, I looked up and hello! there was this truck coming slowly my way... I apologized, and he said, "It's okay, I was watching you." I couldn't tell if he thought I must be a little odd (riding around in circles in a parking lot) or extremely bored, or a fragile soul of some sort... but I figured the world needed more people treating each other as if we were fragile.

    I still hate 180's though - I'll put my feet down every time and scoot around, knowing I look utterly dweeby. Ah, well. Dweebdom is my destiny - but I'm a bikin' dweeb. (Still in sneakers, too.)

  15. #15
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    Live dweeb is better than dead sexy.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

 

 

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