Starting and stopping a bicycle is an insignificantly easy task that all of us know. If you rode a bike, you already know how. But do you really know the most effective way to do so?
Wrong ways to start a bicycle
Side Mount Method aka Cowboy Mount
This method is done by standing on one side of the bicycle, putting that side of the foot on the pedal, pushing off the bicycle into motion with the other foot, and swinging your leg over when the bicycle gains momentum.
This method puts undue stress on one side of the bicycle as you swing over.
This method is done by putting one foot on the pedal while on the saddle, and pushing off against the ground with the other foot trying to get up to maneuvering speed.
This method is extremely slow to get the bike to speed, and you can’t do this uphill.
The proper way to start a bicycle
This video explains the proper method really well:
While stationary, lift one pedal up to about 45 degrees from horizontal, then step on the pedal hard to apply force for the bike to pick up speed and to lift yourself up to the saddle. This method allows you to get up to maneuvering speed fast without wobbling or damaging your bike. But, you will need several experiments to understand which gear works for you. Too low a gear can move the bike too fast before you could properly get on the saddle, and too high a gear can make the acceleration too slow to properly balance the bike.
The proper way to stop a bicycle
As shown in the video above, the proper way to stop a bicycle is put one foot down only when the bicycle has pretty much comes to a stop. Avoid putting your foot down to “assist” in the braking as your shoes will very soon wear out.
Also, putting your foot on the ground while the bike is still in motion would cause a weight transfer, making the bike “lighter” than it was, and causing you to come to an abrupt deceleration. The momentum might cause your body to shift forward and hurt yourself.
Habits can be hard to change, but with perseverance it is possible. Keep practicing and it will make you a safer and more effective rider.