Cyclocross Basics: Dismounting and Remounting

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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Cyclocross Basics: Dismounting and Remounting

Whether it’s mud, barriers or a wipeout in the sand, there are plenty of times when you’ll need to dismount and remount your cyclocross bike. But doing it quickly, without losing momentum and simultaneously staying safe takes time and plenty of practice to master.

Use these tips to help you avoid common mistakes and perfect this crucial technique before your next cyclocross event.

THE DISMOUNT

On any cyclocross course there are sections requiring you to run with your bike. Instead of coming to a complete stop to unclip and get off your bike, the flying dismount is a unique cyclocross skill that helps you hit the ground running and maintain your speed.

When practicing this technique, start off at a slow speed (under 10mph) in a grassy area that’s safe. Once you get better at the technique, you can begin practicing at higher speeds. Here’s what you need to do to dismount:

  • With your hands on the brake hoods, unclip your dominant leg (the right leg for most people) and swing it around the backside of the saddle.
  • As you swing your leg, lean the bike away from you to balance your weight shifting to one side of the bike.
  • At the end of the leg swing, the right foot ends up directly behind your left foot.
  • With the bike leaning against your hip, move your right hand from the handlebar to the top tube of the bike.
  • Keeping the hand on the top tube helps you take the weight off of your left foot so you can unclip.
  • Move the right foot outside of your left foot as you twist to unclip. Hit the ground with your right foot first, then move into your stride by letting your left foot hit the ground.

THE REMOUNT

Depending on the obstacle, you may have to carry or run with your bike for some distance. Once you’re in the clear and you’ve determined it’s safe and faster to get back on the bike, a remount will be needed. But unlike other cycling disciplines, cyclocross uses a running remount to make getting back up to speed as quick and easy as possible.

Here’s how to complete the running remount:

  • With both hands on the brake hoods while you run next to your bike, remount your bike on the same side you dismounted from.
  • As you begin the remounting motion, step forward with the left foot and open your hips so that they are facing the bike.
  • With the left foot planted, push the bike until the saddle is next to your hips.
  • Jump so the right inner thigh reaches the saddle.
  • As your thigh gets to the saddle, continue to move up and over until your backside is on the saddle.
  • Look down briefly and get your right foot into the pedal first. Stomp down to keep the bike moving forward.
  • Once your right foot is in, clip in the left side and pedal to get your momentum going until you reach the next obstacle.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN REMOUNTING

Of the two techniques, most beginners struggle more with the remount. As you practice, be aware of these common mistakes and attempt to correct your technique as much as possible. This makes you more efficient at getting back on your bike, and the more speed you can maintain during the transition the easier it will be to start pedaling again.

  • Be decisive: One of the most common mistakes is not committing to the jump. Stutter stepping or even hopping several times before you attempt to jump over the saddle with the right leg often leads to another mistake and causes you to miss the remount. Instead, practice being decisive in a safe environment first. Start your remounts at a walking speed, and as you gain comfort, speed up the pace. Just remember, whatever pace you choose, be decisive when you plant your left foot and go for it on the first attempt.
  • Don’t remount too soon: Attempting to remount when you’re still in the mud or another surface that will be difficult to pedal in can cause you to take a spill. Knowing the best time to remount comes with experience, so watch other riders when trying to decide the right time to remount. If you see other cyclists getting back on the bike and struggling to pedal, continue to run until the terrain is more manageable. If everyone is remounting and riding away smoothly up ahead, then use that cue to attempt your remount.
  • Don’t over jump the saddle: When you jump for the saddle, it’s really just a hop. The right leg slides over the saddle, while the left foot doesn’t actually lift that high off the ground. Jump just enough to get the inside of your right thigh on the saddle and get your right leg over. If you overshoot it, the bike leans in the direction you’re jumping, making you more likely to lose your balance. Practice your jump at a slow speed to get a feel for how high you need to jump and speed up once you’re comfortable.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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