How do you start/stop smoothly?

Thursday guy

Active Member
I haven't cycled in ages, and stopping and starting is the trickiest part for me. How do you start off, like which foot goes where and the pedal positions as well?
It'll come naturally to you the more you cycle. I like to push of with my drive foot (my right) 12-3 Oclock'ish.


Quite dreadful
lost somewhere
Most of my miles are in London so (being a slob) I stop next to the kerb and put my left foot down on top of it and stay on the saddle. My right one stays on the pedal at about two o'clock, ready to start again. Obviously, I don't actively seek to hug the kerb, but if it's there in a safe road position, why not use it?


Puzzle game procrastinator!
You will quickly get used to it using the tips above.

The one time I still struggle is when starting halfway up a very steep hill, say >= 15% gradient.

This kind of thing ...


In such a case it is very easy to grind to a halt and fall off. What I usually do is hang on to a wall, telegraph pole, gate, (whatever), clip my feet on the pedals and get the right pedal to about the 2 o/c position. I give myself a shove off with my left hand and push down at the same time with my right foot. That is usually enough to get me started.

On exceptionally steep climbs, say >= 20%, I either go back down to the bottom and start again (if it is not too far), or I try and find a side road or farm track to emerge from. That lets me get moving before turning up the hill. If no such side road or track is available and the road is wide enough, start across the road and then turn up it once moving.

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
left foot on the ground, right pedal at 2 o'clock ready to push off, hands on the brakes so the bike does not roll away from you.
Jump on the saddle, simultaneously push right pedal forward, let go of the brakes.
smoothly squeeze back and front brake - the back should be applied a couple of seconds earlier, then "glide" off the saddle, leaning your bike slightly to the left on stopping (optional)
It helps if you stop pedaling in view of stopping.
You could start with the left foot if you like this better.
Practice makes perfect!
Thursday guy

Thursday guy

Active Member
do you stay half seated when you start off? or do you stand directly over the frame bar?


It'll come naturally to you the more you cycle. I like to push of with my drive foot (my right) 12-3 Oclock'ish.

Yep I mount my bike with my right leg and I start going with my right foot as well, about same pedal position as you.

Ps I do not mount it in a smexy time sense nor do I shower with it :tongue:


A good rule of thumb is never to be sat in the saddle when the bicycle is not moving. If the saddle is correctly adjusted, it will be too high to allow being seated whilst stationary. A friend of mine sustained a couple of really nasty falls last year before she figured this out. Lowering the saddle is not a good solution, since it encourages the formation of bad habits and increases the effort necessary to turn the pedals.

There's a correct technique for starting and stopping which should be practised by the beginner. Experienced cyclists seldom think about it, but it can catch the inexperienced unawares. The problems my friend had taught me this. Good cycling technique doesn't come naturally to everyone.


Keith Oates

Penarth, Wales
I always stop with the left foot on the ground and the right foot at 2 o'clock but I'm always out of the saddle. Starting off I push down on the right foot then get onto the saddle when moving ahead.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


North Shields
If you're on the road and stopping anticipating a light change it might be an idea to change down a couple gears to make it easier setting off. Personally I roll slowly towards red lights rather than coming to a full stop but appreciate that's not possible everywhere.
Can I ask what you are doing with your head?

As you push off from a standing start the bike will be doing its minimum speed. If you are looking down to see what your feet and pedals are doing you will naturally start to wobble. Try looking to the furthest point of intended straight line travel, give yourself a good scoot with your standing foot and trust yourself that that foot WILL find the pedal.

Good luck.
Top Bottom