Mounting and riding off is a motor skill, just like staying upright and steering. This means that you have to practice this skill if you want to master it. There are different mounting techniques, each with their advantages and disadvantages. A mounting technique that has worked well in a person’s younger years may well become unsuitable when that person gets older. After all, with ageing, our body changes, and as a result, some entry techniques may no longer be suitable.
On this page, four mounting techniques are described. These techniques differ from each other in the time that one needs before on is on the saddle and riding. Once on the saddle, it is easy to make speed with an upper body that is in balance. If one is not sitting on the saddle, the balance is easily disturbed by weight displacements as a result of the turning of the pedals. Making speed without being on the saddle is therefore a lot more difficult.
The four mounting techniques differ from one another with respect to the starting position of the cyclist. In three of the four mounting techniques, in the starting position, the cyclist already has the bicycle between his legs, and in the fourth mounting technique he stands next to the bicycle. And in two of the four mounting techniques, in the starting position, the cyclist already is on the saddle, while the other two this is not the case. These are the four stepping techniques, arranged according to how easy it is to make speed:
- Bicycle between the legs, both feet on the ground and the buttocks on the saddle.
- Bicycle between the legs, one foot on the ground and the buttocks on the saddle.
- Bicycle between the legs, one foot on the ground and the buttocks off the saddle.
- Standing next to the bicycle, with one foot on a pedal.
We now describe these four techniques in more detail.
1. Bicycle between the legs, both feet on the ground and the buttocks on the saddle
This mounting technique is well explained in the beginning of the video below (up to the section on looking back). In this video, one does not talk about “mounting technique” but about “riding away”. For this technique (but not for the other three) there is hardly a difference between mounting and riding away.
The advantage of this mounting technique is its convenience: because the cyclist makes speed while on the saddle, it is easy to keep the balance. The disadvantage of this mounting technique is that the saddle has to be set quite low to get to the ground with both feet. This low position is not the most comfortable and efficient when cycling. It is not impossible to also use this stepping technique on a bicycle with a higher saddle, but then the cyclist has to use the tips of his feet to keep the bike in balance.
2. Bicycle between the legs, one foot on the ground and the buttocks on the saddle.
The difference with the first mounting technique is that, in the starting position, the cyclist keeps only one foot on the ground while sitting on the saddle. The bicycle is usually tilted in the direction of the foot that is on the ground. The other foot rests on a pedal that is in a high position (5 minutes before 12 o’clock). When riding off, the cyclist pushes on the pedal with one foot and uses the other foot to push himself off from the road surface. The advantage of this mounting technique compared to the first one is that it can also be used when the saddle is bit higher.
3. Bicycle between the legs, one foot on the ground and the buttocks off the saddle
The difference with the second mounting technique is that, in the starting position, the cyclist is not with his buttocks on the saddle, but keeps them in front of it. When riding off, the cyclist must briefly stand on the pedal on which his foot rests before he can sit on the saddle. The advantage of this mounting technique in comparison with the first two is that it is also suited for even higher saddles.
4. Standing next to the bicycle, with one foot on a pedal
This is the only mounting technique in which, in the starting position, one is standing next to the bicycle. To ride off, the cyclist pushes one pedal down, pushes himself off with his other leg, and then brings this leg to the other side of the bicycle. On a men’s bicycle, the leg is swung over the saddle, and on a ladies bicycle one can move the leg before the saddle. The advantage of this technique is its speed: from a stationary position next to the bicycle, in a single movement, the cyclist changes to a position on a moving bicycle. In the other three techniques, the cyclist must first take a starting position with his legs on either side of the bicycle. The disadvantage of this technique is the instability during the speed up: at the moment that the cyclist has very little speed, his center of gravity is next to the bicycle.