Paul Makepeace ;-)

How to do a no-handed trackstand

I learnt to do "stand stills" as we called them on BMX as a kid. The technique follows through onto a real bike pretty directly. It looks pretty good when it's smooth, and is genuinely useful if you're in cleats (toe-clips suck).

Standard trackstand

Learn trackstands uphill, ideally without a camber, with your front wheel at an angle, and your cranks level or in a position with leverage. One direction will probably feel more comfortable than the other. As you roll back a bit turn the bars in slightly. As you pedal forward, straighten. Takes a bit of practice but once you have it, it's just a case of refining it. This is quite a small movement; we're talking maybe an eighth of a crank movement max.

Doing this on the flat is harder as you don't have the backwards pull of a downhill. It's not so hard with riding fixed gear as you can pedal back and forth. But in the absence of this you can use the brakes and use frame flex to "bounce" off the brakes. In essence you pedal or roll forward a tiny bit, brake hard, and the frame and you will flex into the stop. As you're both about to rebound, release the brake, and pump out. Bingo, you're going backwards. Try it and see.

No handed

Next, be able to do a trackstand without using the brake pumping technique. Again, much easier with fixed. On uphill entirely do-able with a good subtle trackstand, you should be just rocking back and forth a little.

Once you have this you should be in a position to start moving your hands away from the bars, your last contact being gently correcting fingertips. Eventually you shouldn't need these as your skill moving the bike through your hips is perfected. Like one-handed wheelies (which I'll do a how-to on one-day), this actually gets easier when one hand is off the bike, now available for balance.

Once your second and final hand is off the bike, bingo, no-handed trackstand!

Flash Bastard bonus section

There's another way of keeping the bike "trackstood" and this not only looks a bit cool, it also works on flat ground, even downhill(!) The idea is to use one of your feet on the backside of the front wheel. Say you have the wheel turned into the left, you'd have your right foot on the wheel. You can control both the back/forth movement of the wheel as well as its left/right. With practice it's possible to do this and make it really look like you were born with this ability.

The funny thing is that this skill dates back to the early 80s BMX and is laughably lame by BMX standards. Yet in 21st century it impresses mountain bikers. But hey, that's mountain bikers for ya! :-)

Leave some comments here if you like.

I'm currently wheelchair-bound waiting for my heels to heal, but after September 2005 if you're interested ask me for some pics or video.