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Cyclocross remounts - a how to guide

Remounting a cyclocross bike, after an obstacle or hurdle and at speed is probably the one ‘cross specific skill that newcomers, and even more experienced riders and racers, struggle with the most.

Whilst it does take time and more than a little persistence to master, it can be learnt by anybody riding ‘cross and can help you gain time and save effort over the course of a race. Essentially the movement can be broken down into 3 easy steps:

Step 1 - the basic motion

Simply stand next to your bike holding the hoods (on the side you have been dismounting to) and begin to practice swinging your leg behind and over the saddle. Most people lead with their right leg, jumping on from the left of the bike, but do what feels natural to you. You are aiming to make contact with the saddle with the inside of the thigh on the leg that swings over, thus avoiding any more delicate areas you might want to keep contact free. At this point, it is helpful to ingrain one of the most important bits of a successful re-mount – getting your free, swinging foot onto the pedal as quickly as possible. Get used to the motion of swinging your leg over the saddle and onto the pedal, whilst stood on the ground. The motion is akin to that of a kickboxing move – open up the hips, twist sideways and swing the leg around the back of the bike and over the saddle. It takes a little flexibility in the hip, but that will develop over time too.

Step 2 - slowly getting up to speed

Walk alongside your bike, dismounted, and swing your leg over and onto the pedal and put the other foot onto the remaining pedal. Make a couple of pedal strokes, and smoothly dismount. Repeat at walking pace, no jumping on yet, just on and off at walking pace, speeding up slightly if you feel confident. You may well spend several sessions on this to get comfortable.

Step 3 - the leap of faith

At some point, to make a running re-mount, you are going to have to get airborne. But its not really ‘airborne’, more a little udge up and over onto the saddle. One of the most common mistakes we see is people taking a wild vertical jump, often inaccurately, and with reasonably uncomfortable consequences. It is this, or the fear of doing this, that stymies many people and prevents them from re-mounting quickly, safely and with minimum effort. Watch top riders do this, most of the motion is in the hips which open to allow the leg over and down onto the saddle but with very little extra height and therefore wasted time and energy. Another common mistake is to push the bike too far forward and away from you as you udge up, giving rise to a flattened superman remount.

It is therefore, all in the udge.

Here is Planet X team rider Dave Haygarth demonstrating perfect remount technique (albeit with one hand on the hoods, one on the tops…):

To master the technique, find a flat piece of grass or playing field and get out there regularly and practice. It takes time to build the muscle memory, flexibility and feel for the movement, but stick at it. And reap the rewards this cyclocross season.

25 September 2014