Carrying and shouldering your bike - Cyclo-cross

Carrying and shouldering your bike - Cyclo-cross

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If an obstacle or unrideable section of the course forces you to dismount, you will have to make a decision to carry or shoulder your bike.

Carrying the bike can be quicker and more efficient than shouldering the bike on obstacles such as a hurdle. In some situations, such as on a smooth but unrideable climb, pushing the bike might be a better option. Use your practice laps and watch more experienced riders to decide which technique is best.

Carrying the bike

  • Having dismounted, your right hand will be on the top-tube and your left hand on the hoods or tops of the bars.
  • You might need to slightly adjust the position of your left had to find the bike’s balance point, you want to aim to have your front wheel slightly higher than your rear.

  • Make sure you lift the bike high enough to clear the obstacle but not too high or you will waste energy.
  • Try to maintain a natural running stride.
  • Smoothly place the bike down, don’t drop it, and move your right hand to the bars ready to remount.

For a series of hurdles, a steep flight of steps or a climb, shouldering your bike can be the most effective technique. There are a number of different techniques for lifting, shouldering and un-shouldering your bike. Which you choose comes down to a number of factors including rider size, bio-mechanics and personal preference. Try this basic technique and, if it doesn’t feel right, adjust it to suit you.

Shouldering the bike

  • Having dismounted, change your right hand on the top-tube to an underhand grip. Keep your left hand on the bar-tops or hood.
  • In one smooth movement, lift the top tube onto your shoulder. Your right elbow will naturally go through the frame to the driveside of the bike.

  • Secure the bike on your shoulder by releasing your lifting hand and using it to grip the left hand drop of the handlebars. Your left arm is now free for running and to assist with balance.
  • Once you’ve cleared the obstacle, look ahead to where you intend to un-shoulder and remount your bike.
  • Move your left hand back onto the tops of the handlebars and allow the top tube to slide off your shoulder and down your arm. Control this movement and catch the top-tube with an underhand grip using your right hand just before it hits the ground.
  • Place the bike on the ground as smoothly as possible, avoid dropping it or letting it bounce as this will make remounting more difficult.
  • Move your right hand to the bars ready to remount.