How to track stand

Not only is the track stand a great party skill, it actually serves a purpose especially if you ride in a town or city - here are some tips to have you balancing with ease

Clock12:13, Wednesday 3rd January 2024

Track standing is the name given to balancing on your bike whilst stationary. It comes from the velodrome where riders would use a track stand to their advantage in races such as the match sprint, which often involves a game of chicken over who will launch their sprint first.

Although the track stand can look like a marvel of finely tuned balance, with a bit of know-how and some practice, it is an achievable skill for all riders.

Learning to track stand can be useful for urban riding to save you from needing to unclip and reclip into your pedals at junctions and traffic lights. Being able to confidently stay clipped in and balanced means that when you can carry on riding, you can immediately press on.

Depending on which country you are from, and more to the point, which side of the road you ride on, this will alter which side your track standing preference is. This is because the natural camber of the road surface is an integral part of learning the track stand. Whilst you are learning it is beneficial to practice on a slight incline to allow you to rock the bike backwards and forwards to help find the balance point.

Finding a slight gradient to practise on will help find the balance point

Find a road that works

Once you have mastered the track stand you will be able to do it anywhere. However, whilst you are learning, finding a good section of road will massively help your progress. A road with a slight gradient and a slight camber from the centre or the crown of the road down to the gutters at the sides is what you want to look for. Track standing is a lot easier to master with a slight gradient as it allows you to rock the bike backwards and forwards to find the balance point.

Flat pedals will give you the confidence to dab a foot down if you find yourself losing your balance

Swap out the clips for flats

This one is not compulsory, however, one of the biggest limiting factors for riders' learning is the fear of toppling over whilst clipped into your pedals. When learning to track stand, the key is to be relaxed and fit some flat pedals means that you can easily dab a foot if you lose your balance. Once you feel comfortable with the track stand you can then return to your clipless set-up.

Getting your body position dialled before coming to a stop will help you start track standing

Roll to a controlled stop

The first step in the track stand is controlling your stop with the track stand in mind. This means that your body position needs to allow maximum control over the bike. To do this you want to be out of the saddle with your pedals level in a gear that you would want to be in when it comes to pulling away from a standstill. As you get to a stop, stay relaxed and try and hold your balance.

Using a combination of your brakes and a shift in body weight will allow you to hover around the balance point

Finding the balance point

When you are at a stop you will need to quickly find the balance point on the bike. To do this you can use a combination of the gradient of the road, your body position and your brakes. Track standing is considerably easier if, when stationary, you turn your bars so that your wheel is pointing towards the centre of the road. It can be useful to rock forwards and backwards ever so slightly using the pressure on your pedals to drive you forwards and relaxing on the pedals to let the bike roll back underneath you.

Top Tip

You don't want to track stand with your brakes fully on. Instead, you want to use your brakes to control the position of the bike to stop it rolling too far forward or backward. For most of the track stand you should be covering the brakes rather than holding them on.

Looking forwards will help relax your position and allow you to move more on feel than looking at your wheel

Looking forwards

The track stand is all about balance and one of the best ways to immediately improve your balance on the bike is to lift your head up and look ahead. If you find yourself looking down at your front wheel it can be very difficult to find your balance as you do not have a fixed point of reference. By looking ahead you will find that your balance naturally improves, you are more relaxed and you can also see when you can proceed at a junction or traffic light.

Si has all the skills, showing off his no-handed track stand here

Mix up your track stands

Once you feel like you have mastered the track stand, it is time to get creative and step up the difficulty further. Try removing one hand from the bars or try track standing whilst seated. These will have you testing your balance further and keep your skills sharp.

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