How to dismount from a bicycle

Author: Matteo Ferguson

Released: May 3, 2010

At the forefront of clip bicycle pedal design (pedals that do not require toe clips), Look Cycle pedals are now popular with both enthusiasts and professionals [reference 1]. Like skis, Look pedals tie your feet to the footplate. More specifically, a special shoe equipped with a cleat locks into the pedal binding, securing the shoe (and foot) in place. The binding is adjustable for a custom fit.

Lock the bike into the stationary trainer and mount the bike. Place each foot on the appropriate Look pedal. If you don’t have an exercise bike trainer, take your bike for a short ride outdoors.

Ride your bike for more than a minute. Take note of how each pedal feels. If you feel movement between the cleat and the pedal, the binding of the pedal is too loose.

Unlock one leg at a time from the pedals and stop. Your feet should come out of each pedal with little effort. If you are trying to remove one of the feet from the pedal, the pedal binding is too tight. While a tight pedal lacing can be helpful for riding, being able to unlock your feet in time when you stop is critical to your safety.

Remove the bike and locate the bolt on the back of the pedal. There is an arrow on both sides of the bolt, one marked (+) and the other marked (-).

Use a 3mm Allen key, also known as an Allen key, and turn the screw in the correct direction. Turning the bolt towards the (+) sign will tighten the binding. Turning the screw towards the (-) mark will loosen it.

Even after you’ve adjusted the Look pedals, take the 3mm Allen key with you for your next ride. This will allow you to further adjust the pedals as needed.

By Sean Marshall
Post date

How to dismount from a bicycle

I recently wrote about inconsistent, misleading and problematic road signs. Too often cyclists are asked to get off and walk when the cycle path or general lane is closed due to construction work.

But these signs also exist where many paths and multi-purpose trails intersect. In suburban municipalities such as Brampton and Mississauga, multipurpose routes adjacent to main roads are preferred over road cycle paths (with or without protection). But they too are littered with signs telling cyclists to stop, get off their bikes and cross an intersection, as in the Mississauga example below.

How to dismount from a bicycle

The problem is that the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM), used by transportation planners and engineers to design a carriageway and install proper signage, has a blurry view of signage that requires cyclists to dismount onto reusable roads or trails:

“Sometimes cyclists have to get off the bike and walk when the terrain or cycling conditions are difficult and there is no alternative. However, one should not rely on the option of asking cyclists to dismount and walk, rather than adequately adapting cyclists through road design.

OTM Book 18 (disponibile qui in formato PDF) afferma che il segnale “scendi e cammina” dovrebbe “essere utilizzato solo in casi eccezionali, come quando un oggetto su un viale finisce e i ciclisti entrano nel marciapiede o nell’area pedonale”. This clearly means that these signs should not exist when a cycle path or multipurpose path crosses a driveway or intersection, but only when the path ends and becomes a sidewalk or walkway where cycling is prohibited. (Page 118, OTM Book 18, Edition 2013.)

How to dismount from a bicycleExcerpt from page 118, Book 18 of the Ontario Traffic Manual, December 2013 edition.

OTM also says that "… cyclists usually have a hard time explaining why" getting off and walking "restrictions apply and conclude that it was a wrong, illogical or arbitrary decision. So, if the design of the facilities causes the cyclists to make those that they consider unnecessary stops will increase the likelihood that they will ignore or ignore the traffic control ".

What the Ontario Traffic Manual specifies is how signage, road marking and design should be done to clearly mark crossing points, warn drivers to watch out for cyclists, and remind cyclists to give way to pedestrians. Figure 4,103 from OTM Book 18, shown below, illustrates how a mixed pedestrian and cycle path along the road, such as those in Brampton and Mississauga, should meet an intersection. While the signs warn motorists and cyclists to look at each other and let cyclists give way to pedestrians, there are no “cyclists out” signs in the diagram.

How to dismount from a bicycle
Illustration of how a multipurpose trail should connect to an intersection. Figure 4,103, from page 124, Book 18 of the Ontario Traffic Manual, December 2013 edition.

Multi-purpose routes are an effective way to ensure the safety of cycling infrastructure, especially in suburbs where traffic speeds are faster and policies may not facilitate the creation of cycle paths. Traffic engineers found that these ubiquitous ‘cyclists out’ signals weren’t effective and developed designs that are adapted to cyclists instead.

Now is the time for municipalities to figure this out.


When you get on the bike, first position yourself on the frame in front of the saddle. Hold the brake levers so the bike won’t roll. A stable bike allows you to position yourself in the climbing position.

Now, using either foot, gently turn the crank backwards until the pedal is at 2 o’clock position – forward and high. If the crank won’t turn easily, carefully adjust the gear levers until the chain runs straight. If your bike has a reverse brake, you can turn it backwards to set the pedal or raise the rear wheel to turn the pedals forward.

Once your foot is on the pedal in the 2 o’clock position, you’re ready to get moving. Release the brake levers and press the pedal. The first press of the pedal starts the bike and puts you in the saddle. When the opposite pedal is in the raised position, place your foot on it to perform a second pedal stroke.

When you slow down to a stop, shift to a low starting gear. On a derailleur-equipped bicycle, the gears shift only while you’re still turning the pedals, so planning ahead pays off.

When you’re coming to a stop, stand on one pedal, and slide forward off the saddle. Tilt the bike slightly to the side and place your free foot on the ground. When stopped, raise the other foot and its pedal into the 2 o’clock starting position, the same way as when you got onto the bicycle.

No matter what kind of pedals you use (see below),when you stop, you only keep one foot on the ground. The other foot waits on its pedal in the 2 o’clock position, ready for a quick start.

How to dismount from a bicycle


Automatic pedals or old fashioned buckles and straps are like “foot straps”. Although not necessary, they increase pedaling efficiency and safety. But learning how to use them takes practice. Make sure you master the slowdown before using them on the road.

There are several click-lock pedal systems. Many of them have release force regulations. Since most people release their toes naturally, it may be necessary to rotate the shoe cleats to keep shoes comfortable and avoid stress on the knees.


Don’t try to sit in the saddle with both feet on the ground before starting. If you can do this, your saddle is too low. Make sure your saddle height is adjusted correctly (a good bike shop can help you). A saddle that is too low (or too high) can injure your knees and make pedaling difficult.

Pushing the bike with your foot, such as on a scooter, or jumping on the bike sideways, like a horse, are not as stable and safe as the pedal pressing method described earlier in this chapter.

We will see the correct technique to get in and out quickly thanks to the intelligent use of rubber bands

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How to dismount from a bicycle

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Published: May 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Do you want to know how to assemble / disassemble with the shoes attached to my bike? Is it a matter of practice, practice, practice? Our expert Rob Banino explains everything …

It sure takes practice, but knowing what to practice will help you perfect a smooth transition between running and driving.

The first thing to do is tie your shoes to the pedals and tie two thin rubber bands through the loops on the heel. Spin the pedals until the driveside shoe is at 3 o’clock and the other is at 9 o’clock, then stretch the band on the driveside shoe around the front mech and the non-driveside shoe’s band around around the rear brake or quick-release.

Provided the bands are thin enough, they’ll snap as soon as you start pedalling. Now you can start running with your bike, which for most people feels more natural on the non-driveside, so let’s assume that’s what you’ll be doing.

Start slowly and hold the saddle with your right hand and ride the bike as you run. When it comes to getting on, grab the handlebars with both hands and then push your left foot away as you slide your right leg over the rear wheel and onto the saddle. You’re not really jumping onto your bike, it’s more like hurdling onto it; the only difference is that instead of being in front of you and stationary, this obstacle is beside you and moving.

The momentum from your right leg should carry you into place and, even though you’re not jumping, aim to ‘land’ so that your inner thigh is against the saddle. From there, she slides into position and begins pedaling. Once you’ve got some clear space, reach down to get one foot into its shoe and then the other – while keeping your eyes on the road, of course.

Now for the dismount: as you approach T2, get your feet out of the shoes when it’s safe to do so and slow down to a comfortable running speed. If you’re dismounting to the non-driveside, bring the driveside pedal up to 12 o’clock and shift your weight so you’re standing on the non-driveside pedal. When you’re within about 5m of the dismount line, swing your right leg around over the rear wheel, then you can bring it through between the bike and your left leg.

After your right foot has passed your left, step off the pedal to land on your right foot and immediately start running. You can slide your right leg to hit the ground in a running position, not with the right leg overlapping the left.

You should walk when you reach the tear-off line and when you are there, let go of the stick and keep running while holding the saddle. Remember: your shoes are no longer laced, so you may need to keep holding them to avoid puncturing your shins.

For more performance tips, go to our Training section