I was first in line at the traffic lights, listening to OJ Borg attempt Tour de France’s Hollywood Climb on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. The window’s down – it’s a beautiful summer’s day. Then a lean lady in Wokingham Cycling Club colours drifts in front of me and from the way she’s stood on her cleats I just know – she’s gonna track stand.
As you can see, track standing at lights is cool. Putting feet down is for losers – like me. I confess that I don’t know how to track stand, but that doesn’t stop me from telling you that you should do it. And this is why – place your bets for how many seconds you think he’ll remain upright.
Track standing is inherently cool. Falling sideways (and blaming your cleats in the comments) is not. My next confession is that I’ve managed to fall sideways wearing cleats and I wasn’t even trying to track stand. I just forgot to unclip. Happens to the best of us. Anyway, here’s why track standing was invented.
As explained in the video, the lead cyclist ideally wants the cyclist behind to get in front of him. The cyclist behind wants to stay there, but not so far away that the front cyclist has an advantage significant enough to deprive him of any slipstream advantage.
This game of cat and mouse often resulted in a track stand, until the rules were changed to prevent the audience falling asleep. But while the trick hails from the age of tweed-suited pipe-smoking moustachioed track cyclists, the skill has been embraced by other disciplines.
This video from the great GMBN channel beautifully explains how and why to track stand while off-road. They mention several good reasons to level up your skills –it removes the need to plant your feet, shuffle, and lets you stop mid-ride to assess your route.
I’ll add one further reason – it adds height to your stance, giving you an even better position to scan the terrain. Of course, if you can already do it, check out Fixie Girls no-hands track stand. Make that the next level…