I'm an avid bicycler who has just moved to the city (Boston). As I (unlike many folks here) am unwilling to run red lights and violate traffic laws, I often have to come to a stop, dismount, and wait for the light to go green.

I've seen bikers, especially those in full kit on nice bikes, manage to come to a stop and stay on their bike, out of their saddles for some time. I can't manage to do this for more than a few seconds, and with spd pedals I am unwilling to try too hard lest I tip over and eat shit as they say. The best I can do is to brake hard while pedaling slowly, inching forward. This buys me a few seconds, given I am on level ground and I have room.

I ride a touring bike with panniers, so sometimes I don't have equal weight distribution laterally. Sometimes I do, and I've always wanted to learn how to do that stop and stand thing.

Is there any trick to it or is it just about balance and weight distribution? Should I be breaking hard on front and rear?

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    I can't really explain how to do this myself, so I'll leave that to someone else. In the mean time... have a look at "Track stand" videos on youtube :) Jun 18, 2019 at 19:59
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    This is primarily a technique of fixed gear bicycles where the wheel is bidirectionally linked to the pedals. Apparently some can manage it on a conventional freewheel/freehub multispeed or singlespeed bike, but in practical terms, your bike isn't hip enough to do this. Jun 18, 2019 at 20:06
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    @ChrisStratton I've gone and followed Terry's advice, and it looks like the fellow in this video is practicing the technique with a standard multispeed road bike (youtube.com/watch?v=-0VnQJF_WKQ). Also, this is a duplicate question, I just didn't know of the term "Track Stand".
    – Dent7777
    Jun 18, 2019 at 20:09
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    Track stands are easier on a fixed gear bike because the rider can rock the bike both forward and backwards. The same effect can be achieved on a freewheel equipped bike by stopping on an slight upward incline so the bike will roll backwards. Jun 18, 2019 at 20:16
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    Dent7777 don't worry about the duplicate. I hope you don't mind it will soon get closed though. I suppose the other question does help you?
    – gschenk
    Jun 18, 2019 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


Ultimately it comes down to balance, what you have to work out is whether you can balance easier while moving slowly or not.

Watch a few track stand videos to see whether you think it's possible, if your sense of balance is good it's possible on any bike.

All that's required is generally a few inches of movement while braking and leaning into the direction required.

Some other alternatives if you really can't track stand would be :

Anticipate the lights changing so you don't have to stop, this will require slowing down but you shouldn't have to actually stop.

Or stop a few metres short of the lights so you have minimal time to track stand and have space to creep forward.

I don't know what the roads are like where you are but if there's a rail or post next to the lights you have the option of leaning on them and pushing off when the lights change.

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