A very useful skill for both road and mountain bikers is the track stand. A track stand is when you balance the bicycle in place, keeping your feet on the pedals.

The name comes from track racing where coming to a dead stop on the track was sometimes part of race strategy. But in road and mountain biking, the track stand can be used for a variety of reasons on every single ride.

On a road bike, you can track stand at stop lights and stop signs. This allows you to get a better jump when starting out since you don’t have to worry about clipping into your pedals.

If you can’t do a track stand yet, it would be a bad idea to practice in traffic. But once you have it mastered, it’s actually safer to balance like that than put a foot down. If for some reason you have to move quickly (like a car coming up to rear end you,) you’re ready to react in a flash.

It’s similar to staying in first gear on a motorcycle when at a stop light, rather than being in neutral. It allows you to get moving out of harm’s way faster if/when the need arises.

The track stand could also come in handy in the race parking lot if you like to show off!

On a mountain bike, you can track stand before hitting an obstacle.

For example, if there is an upcoming technical section, you can pause briefly and analyze it, all without putting your foot down. This lets you get moving quickly when you’re ready, rather than screwing up your rhythm.

Maybe you’re racing and someone wrecks in front of you in a rock garden, and there is no room to pass. You can track stand until they move out of the way, then get going again. If you put your foot down and wait, that might mean you’re walking the entire rest of the rock garden.

Over the course of a long ride or race, this could save a lot of time and energy compared to always unclipping and clipping in. (That is, once you master the track stand and can perform one effortlessly.)

Convinced the track stand is a useful skill? Then continue reading for instructions how to do a track stand…

How to do a Track Stand

Start by rolling along at a slow speed, pedals level.

When you are ready, pull in the brakes to come to a stop.

Now you want to find a comfortable balance position. What I do is turn the front wheel about 30-45 degrees to the left and stand up on the pedals with my left foot forward. (You could also turn the wheel to the right and place your right foot forward, if you prefer. And I usually stand, but you could sit.)

Once you have found your preferred position, you will begin to rock back and forth ever so slightly. This is the key to being able to track stand for a long time.

To rock forward, just let off the brake a little bit. To rock back, just pull the bike back underneath you. Repeat this procedure.

Another thing you want to do is keep pressure on the pedals, specifically your front foot. You’ll be pressing on the pedal, but also holding the brake in, to keep you in place. These opposing forces are the key to sitting perfectly still during your track stand!

That’s really all there is to it. The concept of the track stand is fairly simple. However, it requires lots of practice before you can put it into action.

One thing I suggest, when you are starting out, is to practice on a slight uphill. The hill gives you some extra resistance to push against. You can use less pressure on the brake, since your bike won’t start rolling away up the hill.

On a mountain bike, the terrain is usually rough enough you can find something to push the front wheel against, whether it’s a short uphill rut or a rock.

On the road, push against either the crown of the road or a ridge beside a pot hole.

On a track bike, you can pedal forwards then backwards, so no need for brakes or a hill.

Lastly, watch out for toe overlap if turning the front wheel sharply.

Track Stand on Road Bike (Video)

Here is a video of retired pro cyclist Daniel Lloyd showing you how to do a track stand on a road bike:

He explains it very well.

Track Stand on Mountain Bike (Video)

Here is a video showing how to do a track stand on a mountain bike trail:

 

Have fun practicing your trackstands and using them in real life!

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