How to track stand on a bike
This entry was posted on March 27, 2015.
You’ve probably had this experience: you are driving along in the middle of the city, and you come to a stoplight. Suddenly, you notice a bicyclist waiting for the light to turn, but instead of standing over the bike normally, he or she is poised -- balanced on the pedals -- with the bike completely stopped. When you first see it, it seems impossible. But this move, called the “track stand,” is far from impossible. You can learn it yourself! Here’s how.
Track stands are named after the sport of track racing, where track stands were sometimes used as part of strategy during races. In everyday riding, track stands can be useful for brief stops at stop signs and lights, as they give you a bit of a head start when it’s time to ride again. And, let’s be honest, they just look cool, too.
A track stand is maintained because of counter pressure between the pedals, which are pushing the bike forward, and the brakes, which are holding it in place. It is this dynamic tension that allows perfect balance, and while it requires a good deal of practice, having the correct technique will help.
Step 1: Start in a controlled location, like a tennis court or empty parking lot. Bike slowly, then coast with your pedals level. Come to a complete stop with both hands firmly on the brakes.
Step 2: Now that you are stopped, work to find a comfortable balance position. For most people, this means standing (although sitting works, too) over the pedals with their dominant foot forward. You will also need to point the front wheel to the same side as your dominant foot, angled somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees.
Step 3: To maintain balance, rock the bike back and forth a bit, turn the handlebars slightly back and forth, and move your body slightly. This is the tricky part that will require a bit of practice!
It may help to practice on a slight uphill, with the front wheel of the bike wedged gently against a curb or other obstacle. Let yourself roll backward an inch at a time, then move slightly forward again to contact the obstacle. Repeat this until you can balance without the front wheel against the obstacle, and you are almost there.
Step 4: Make sure to maintain pressure on the front pedal throughout this whole process; the opposing forces between your pedal and your brakes are the key to your balance.
Don’t use clipless pedals while you are learning the track stand! It could lead to a nasty fall. While you are learning, be prepared to put your foot down in a hurry to avert a fall.
Also, it should go without saying, but wear a bike helmet while you ride, especially if you are practicing a new trick like the track stand. Better safe than sorry.