Learn how to track stand

14th December 2020

trackstand2

I’ve wanted to learn to track stand for a while - it can be a useful skill out on the trails (especially on tight uphill switchbacks) but, most importantly, it looks CoolAF!

I got into biking very late in life, so I never did that hanging out on bikes and learning tricks. In the past I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to learn to track stand - mainly asking better riders than me how to do them. They'd then do a lovely demo and I'd try the same and my front wheel would suddenly self-identify as a crazy windscreen wiper, thereby ending any further attempts to learn.

Being a geek I then turned to the internet for guidance. There are some YouTube videos but, frustratingly, most focus on how to do a track stand as opposed to how to learn to do a track stand. Somehow I fumbled through and now I can do them. So, I decided to put together this little blog-torial to share how I learnt. I’m under no illusions that I’m an expert but hopefully there’s some useful info here to help you learn.

Before you start, I’d recommend you check out two resources I found useful:

  1. Asa Sala’s article: www.primalwear.com/blogs/team-estrogen/how-to-track-stand
  2. Anna Glowinski’s video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VyDY-OPhIA

Anna’s key coaching points are:

  1. Learn up an up-slope (also I found grass to be much easier)
  2. Be out of the saddle
  3. Pedals level, with your favourite “chocolate” foot forward
  4. Turn the front wheel towards the chocolate foot
  5. Eyes looking 1-2 m ahead
  6. It's easier on flat pedals (I learnt clipped in as I didn't have flats and had some stressy "I can't clip out" moments. But, hey, if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!)
  7. Find somewhere private to practise!

I'd add thinking about engaging your core, trying to stay loose and staying off the brakes - if you're on an upslope then you shouldn't need your brakes. Instead, try and find the balance between applying forward pedal pressure on your chocolate foot and then feeling gravity pushing your foot back. It's a subtle rolling back and forth motion. 

How to learn

So, the first thing is to become comfortable at ratcheting (standing up and moving your pedals smoothly between 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock). This is easier on a slight upslope.

Once you can do this, then ratchet, standing up and riding in circles (both directions) and figures of 8. Have a fun play around doing this.

Then, progress to riding (still ratcheting) switchback up a slope in a continuous S pattern - like an uphill slalom. The aim here is to purposely come to a momentary pause (normally just as you are turning the corner and the front wheel is pointing up the hill) and then continue ratcheting and keep repeating (shown in the video below.) I found doing left-hand turns way easier (my chocolate foot is my left one) than right-hand turns. 

Key is to spend a lot of time riding across a slope and turning up the slope in your favourite turning direction while ratcheting and trying to pause. Gradually the momentary pauses became longer and longer and then, I was like, Yey, check me out! I could find the sweet spot almost instantly.

I hope that’s been useful and that you have fun playing on your bike. 

Author: Claire Hitchings

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