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I am mostly concerned about track-stand here, because it requires much balance, so the question on "which foot to put forward" seems important enough.

This tutorial says "stand up with your strong foot on the forward pedal" (at time 0:46).

This tutorial says "the lead foot, which is the foot you're most comfortable putting in front..."

This strikes me very odd, because my right foot is stronger, but i feel much more comfortable with the left foot in front. When i am standing on my pedals, i mostly stand with my center of gravity behind the point where the cranks are attached. So it makes sense that my weight is mostly on the back foot, and it should be the stronger foot. However, other stuff i found in the Internet (example) invariably recommends putting your "strong", "good" or "dominant" foot in front.

What am i missing here?

Did i get used to a wrong technique, and should break my bad habits now?

Or is it not important enough, and i worry too much?

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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Just trackstanding on a flat road, mountain bike or other regular situation, just use the foot you feel most comfortable with in the forward position. The real key to performing a good, solid trackstand is to find a balance of forward pressure with your front pedal and resistance with either your brakes or your rear pedal (if you're riding fixed gear).

Another key to help out that I've found particularly useful is to try to keep the balance of the bike so that you can turn your handlebars in the same direction as your lead foot. This helps equalize the forward/backward pressures. Additionally, it helps prevent a tumble due to toe overlap, which isn't as big a deal on mountain bikes as it is on track bikes and road bikes because the front wheel is further out in front of the bike.

If you're trackstanding on an actual track in track racing - like a match sprint race - you'll want to have your right foot forward and turn your bars to the right. This allows you to use the banking of the track as your reverse resistance and your lead (right) foot as your forward pressure. Doing the opposite will make it much harder to control as gravity will want to pull you down to the middle of the track.

This same school of thought can be applied to a hill or other grade when mountain biking.

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This is all good advice but I wanted to add that on a fixie I track stand exactly as you describe, wheel pointed toward front foot. But for some reason, on a bike with a freewheel and brakes (e.g., a mountain bike) I find it easier to track stand with my wheel/handlebars pointed away from my front foot. –  jimirings Aug 31 '12 at 16:47
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I have a little trick to find out which is strong foot.

On a regular speed, slam your front brakes. The foot you use to withstand the brake force is your strong foot.

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This is also a great way to do a faceplant. –  jimirings Aug 31 '12 at 16:41
    
@jimirings, Not if done properly. –  Starx Aug 31 '12 at 16:51
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Not directly relevant to your question, but it may provide some insight:

I have a medical condition (post-polio syndrome) which is causing me to lose muscle strength. As a result, I'm starting to have difficulty sometimes starting out from a standing stop.

My left leg is about 30% weaker than my right leg, but my inclination is to stand on my right leg, clip in my left leg, and then start out, with my first downstroke on the left (weak) leg. But I'm becoming convinced I'd do better if I can train myself to do it the opposite way (which I've just started working on).

The thing is, when standing on one leg, you tend to want to stand on your stronger leg, without thinking of what you'll be doing next, and whether you'll need that stronger leg for a different activity.

I suspect that you similarly are more comfortable with your weight on the stronger leg, even though you really need that stronger leg in the "awkward" position so that it's instantly available for power.

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+1 for "tend to want to stand on your stronger leg." I didn't realize that explicitly, but I knew that for a good start you need to start peddling as hard as you can, which requires your stronger leg. I solved it, without noticing it until it was mentioned, by standing on my weaker leg and having my strong foot on the peddle, but keeping my weight more or less evenly distributed. I need to keep enough weight on the bike that my wheel doesn't spin, but that also helps me start faster and stronger. –  William B Swift Aug 31 '12 at 16:43
    
+1 for making me think about it that way, but your example guides me in the opposite direction. When my feet are horizontal, and i suddenly decide to accelerate, for the first 1/8 of a revolution the front foot doesn't provide any force (because of the freewheel, i guess), so maybe i actually have to put my strong foot at the back. –  anatolyg Sep 1 '12 at 17:34
    
@anatolyg -- It's going to depend on whether you're starting or already moving, and, if moving, what gear you're in relative to your speed. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 1 '12 at 20:52
    
@anatolyg -- Also consider the possibility that your "style" of accelerating may be dictated by your choice of foot positions, and if you change positions you might find a way to accelerate more on that first 1/4 revolution. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 1 '12 at 21:23
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There is no rule or best, it's just whatever feels natural. Similar to which foot you put forward on a (skate,snow,surf)board. I'm always left foot forward on bmx, but that was mainly because I didn't want to wreck my right hand drive sprocket when I was first learning how to do grinds on my left side. If I try to do anything right foot forward it feels super awkward. Some people can ride both ways but they are freaks of nature.

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I've always led with my right foot forward because I'm so used to pushing and carrying a bike from the non-drive side. Snowboarding I lead left foot forward. Ice skating, right foot. Soccer, left foot. We're all freaks of nature and freaks of nurture! –  WTHarper Aug 31 '12 at 0:44
    
lol, I'm right footed but have had ACL surgery on right knee so maybe my left leg is stronger now. FWIW I'm goofy footed for all board activities. –  dotjoe Aug 31 '12 at 14:36
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