Progress, pose and the wrong way to get on a bicycle
16.02.08 by Buffalo Bill
Having spent a couple of evenings hanging out with fixie kids (yes, kids – I am old enough to be their dad), and having a very enjoyable time too, I have to draw my reader’s attention to something which has become a real and significant concern to me.
I refer, dear reader, to the current fashion for mounting of bicycles by swinging a leg over the handle-bars. I am not entirely sure from where this move has been copied, as I have only ever seen it practised by track sprinters, cyclo-tourists and tricycle riders. Track sprinters do it because their legs are so fat that they are unable to lift them to the required angle to enable a rear swing-over. Cyclo-tourists do it because they typically travel with capacious and bulky saddle-bags that obstruct the afore-mentioned manouevre. Tricyclists do it because, well, why do tricyclists do anything? Just to be bloody different and difficult, no matter what the cost to themselves or the public.
The oh-so-fashionable low front end of the modern fixie (can you reach the bottoms of the hooks of those shiny NJS bars? No? Then put your bloody stem up, fool!), facilitates but not validates the front mount.
But is it an efficient or necessary practice? Let’s think about it for a second: the purpose of a bicycle is to enable greatly improved motion, not for hanging on the wall and admiring. This motion should occur in a straight line, forward from the front wheel. So does it make sense to engage with the machine by moving backwards over the front wheel? Of course it does not. Unless you do everything backwards, in which case your problems can probably only be solved with professional assistance from qualified health-care practitioners.
The only sensible, rational mount is the rear swing-over. Correctly accomplished, it imparts forward motion to the bicycle, so that your machine is already rolling in the correct direction as you engage with it. If you happen to ride fixie (as I know some of my readers do), the forward motion will bring the pedals round to meet your feet, obviating the need to locate the pedals whilst stationary.
So strike a blow for reason, progress and efficiency. Say no to fashion, pose and regression. Mount your bike from the rear.