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As far as I know just about everyone has a dominant foot forward when it comes to doing technical moves and descending. Anyone who has ever seen the big ring on my XC bike will tell you I'm a left foot forward guy. Every now and then I have the occasion were some kind of combo tech series requires the 2nd/3rd move to be done with the right foot forward and it has always felt wierd doing it.
So today while out on a North County San Diego ride there is a descent that it 1.25 miles long and there are enough switchbacks, rocks and waterbars so that if you pick the harder lines and carry plenty of speed you can find yourself with a little bit of leg pump going on by the time you get to the bottom. I have done this trail enougth times to have a good baseline for how my legs should feel.
So today while tooling around near my max heart rate (Thats when the really interesting thoughts pop into my head :) ) on this ride, I decide to do the descent with my right foot forward and see what would happen. I was not surprised at what happened but I was freaking amazed at the degree to which they happened. Here are what I noticed with this little experiment:

1. I felt uncomfortable on technical moves and was much less fluid when shifting my body weight around.

2. I got bounced around quite a bit more as the "body shocks" did not work as well.

3. The switchbacks were a little more difficult as I just did not seem to come into them as well.

4. EXXXXXtreme leg pump! My quads were on fire by the time I got to the bottom. I guess I was using them in a slightly different manner or I was a little tensed up not being in the "normal" position.

While I have no plans to make my left foot give up it's trusty forward position, I think on some of the trails where I have a move totally dialed I may start trying to do it switched just to spice things up. Getting a little more comfortable switched may help with the combo move stuff. Anybody else played around with switching things up?
 

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Less yappin, more Brappin
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Sounds about right.

What foot would you kick a soccerball with? I seem to remember hearing a rule of thumb in bikeshops that for first time riders your forward foot should be the one you would normally kick with. Has anyone else heard this?

Its like goofy/regular foot stance in most board sports.

Either way I always ride with right foot forward on descents when I am off the saddle. If I get leg pump from a long descent, then I throw in a few pedal strokes forward to stimulate all the muscle groups breifly and to get the blood flowing again.:thumbsup:
 

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Grip it and rip it.
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I remember reading in a windsurf magazine not so long ago that had tests, and one of the outcomes was if you stand up and do a spin on your feet without thinking, this will more times than not determine whether your regular or goofy. Anti clock-wise goofy, clock-wise regular. (Left foot foward = regular, right foot foward = goofy).


After watching the Michael Jackson thriller video i figured out he`d be goofy if he biked or did board sports lol.


Hav`nt given it much thought out on the trails myself yet, interesting experiment.
 

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geoffss said:
What foot would you kick a soccerball with? I seem to remember hearing a rule of thumb in bikeshops that for first time riders your forward foot should be the one you would normally kick with. Has anyone else heard this?
Hmmmm, that's opposite of how I ride (right dominant/left forward). Maybe a better test would be how "they" set up snowboard bindings: "Run and slide on some ice. Whichever foot you naturally place in front goes in front."

Actually as far s biking is concerned, I think it's overthinking it to tell someone to decide which foot goes in front. Since the cranks spin, you don't have to choose. You naturally will favor one over the other, so quit analyzing and ride the bike. It'll become clear soon enough which foot you naturally favor forward.

Every once in awhile I practice switching up, just to minimize my awkwardness when I need to switch, but I usually default to left-forward.
 

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thats very interesting. did you notice if your heart rate goes up at all when your riding with your feet the "wrong" way? im a righty, and a regular at all board sports but i ride with left foot foward. i'll have to try that sometime
 

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Formerly DMR For Life
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Damitletsride! said:
I remember reading in a windsurf magazine not so long ago that had tests, and one of the outcomes was if you stand up and do a spin on your feet without thinking, this will more times than not determine whether your regular or goofy. Anti clock-wise goofy, clock-wise regular. (Left foot foward = regular, right foot foward = goofy).

After watching the Michael Jackson thriller video i figured out he`d be goofy if he biked or did board sports lol.

Hav`nt given it much thought out on the trails myself yet, interesting experiment.
hmmm I spin clock wise but ride with my left forward

Nat said:
Hmmmm, that's opposite of how I ride (right dominant/left forward). Maybe a better test would be how "they" set up snowboard bindings: "Run and slide on some ice. Whichever foot you naturally place in front goes in front."
I slide right foot forward that means I should be ridding with my right foot forward...hmm both feel fine to me...although i wonder if i would be better at snowboarding if I rode left forward.mmmm

DMR
 

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I'm really wierd. I'm right handed. I play hockey right handed. I throw everything except a frisbee right handed. I have a goofy stance for board sports, lead with my left foot, and kick a ball with my right. Lets see someone make sense of that.:p
 

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DMR For Life said:
hmmm I spin clock wise but ride with my left forward

I slide right foot forward that means I should be ridding with my right foot forward...hmm both feel fine to me...although i wonder if i would be better at snowboarding if I rode left forward.mmmm

DMR
I'm impressed by how well "good" snowboarders are able to switch and lead with either foot. I wonder if we'd be better technical bikers if we trained to ride either foot forward?

I snowboard left-forward, bike left-forward, kick a ball right foot dominant, kick martial arts either foot (or used to -- been years), write right-handed, work (surgery) ambidextrous. WTF?
 

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smalbikpro said:
thats very interesting. did you notice if your heart rate goes up at all when your riding with your feet the "wrong" way? im a righty, and a regular at all board sports but i ride with left foot foward. i'll have to try that sometime
Were you replying to me or to someone else?
 

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I'm not sure it's the same for everyone. I'm right handed,and would kick with my right foot. I would do baord sports and ride left foot forward. Play hockey and shoot left (ya, from Canada), play golf and shoot right.
I've heard (from a pro snowboard instructor), they would watch or ask which foot would you take your first step with or when you take stairs which is your first step. That is your forward foot.
After a test and poll at our house this is mostly hold true. I'm sure the exceptions would hold true for the general population.
 

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Start slow and taper off
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I write, draw, paint left handed, do everything else much stronger with my right. So for sports (such as soccer, throwing a ball, etc) I'm more comfortalbe and consider my right side (both arm and leg dominant. But I make a living as an artist, and my dominant hand for that is my left.

This said, I prefer my right foot on the back pedal, and my right foot at the back of my snowboard. But in college I hurt my right leg (mostly the knee) several times playing lacrosse. As a result, about 5 years ago, roughly nine years after hurting it, my right leg bothers me after an hour of normal riding on the bike , much less if dh'ing or snowboarding, so I'm constantly switching feet in the back position. And I agree completely with the OP's thoughts, it does make a difference.
 

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WWYD?
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I've tried switching feet for descending and for me it works great. What I like to do is have the forward foot on the inside of the curve and the rear foot on the outside of the curve. For example, if I'm making a right turn my left foot is back. Taking turns like this has helped keep my rear wheel from sliding out because that outside foot is right next to the chainstay and if I put downward pressure it holds on to the ground better. Another advantage is when you come out of the turn you can start pedaling with the forward foot right away and if you have an "S" turn and turn the other way you're ready.
 

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1yellowbrick said:
I'm not sure it's the same for everyone. I'm right handed,and would kick with my right foot. I would do baord sports and ride left foot forward. Play hockey and shoot left (ya, from Canada), play golf and shoot right.
I've heard (from a pro snowboard instructor), they would watch or ask which foot would you take your first step with or when you take stairs which is your first step. That is your forward foot.
After a test and poll at our house this is mostly hold true. I'm sure the exceptions would hold true for the general population.
I just take stairs in stride. Whichever foot happens to be there goes first.
 

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johnnyb said:
I've tried switching feet for descending and for me it works great. What I like to do is have the forward foot on the inside of the curve and the rear foot on the outside of the curve. For example, if I'm making a right turn my left foot is back. Taking turns like this has helped keep my rear wheel from sliding out because that outside foot is right next to the chainstay and if I put downward pressure it holds on to the ground better. Another advantage is when you come out of the turn you can start pedaling with the forward foot right away and if you have an "S" turn and turn the other way you're ready.
Interesting. I've heard of people taking switchbacks opposite of how you do it (i.e., left turn/right foot forward and right turn/left forward) so that it's easier to square your torso into the turn and supposedly make the turn more easily. I've tried it and have found that I can make hairpin switches better left-forward regardless of the direction of the turn. I do notice that on left hairpins I can really dip the bike low through the turn but on right hairpins I am more likely to kick-turn (which supports presslab's observation about tail kicks).
 

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Nat,

Now that I think about it, on uphill switchbacks thats exactly what I do. But on the downhill I still put the rear foot on the outside.

One trick I saw a guy do on a tight downhill switchback was that he lifted (jumped) his rear wheel over a few degrees to make a better line. I tried it and almost fell off my bike!
 

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mtbbill said:
As far as I know just about everyone has a dominant foot forward when it comes to doing technical moves and descending...snip... Anybody else played around with switching things up?
I've noticed almost the same things and occasionally get on a big kick of trying to learn to flip the other way - for relaxing on downhills and tech moves in particular.

I'm left foot forward and the natural way for me to kick-out is to the left. I presume this is because the right foot is to the back and there's more leverage to swing the bike around. I can't do a "tabletop" anymore (too old and fat) but if I did, it would always be either a bike tilt to the left and the front wheel turned up or tilt to the right and front wheel turned down - NEVER the other way around. Don't know if the tabletop thing is related to the foot thing but it feels as natural.

Been like this since I was a kid and I hope it's not too late to re-learn because at this point, my skills are lopsided to the point of being detrimental. A lateral hop right is not natural for me - I have to set up for it and still frequently flub it more often than not. Must learn to be ambidextrous.
 
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