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What is the best way to practice up so I don't have to put my feet on the ground when I am at the gate? Are you allowed to push with one foot when you start out?
 

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Younger than Hack
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I don't know about being able to push with one foot when starting. I have never raced BMX but I know the trick to balancing is practice. Watch how others do it do they balance or push off then work to do the same.
If they are balancing then that is what you will have to work on in order to compete at the top level. The best way to balance would be to level the pedals and the work to balance. The problem with that is you are static when the gate drops. Ideal would be to balance with your dominate pedal up to power from the gate. It is more difficult with a pedal up for a powerful launch but if you work at it you will get it. One advantage of the pedal up / pedal down balance is that you can brace your high leg on the frame as you lean the bike to the high pedal for balance. That way you now have 5 points of contact with the bike instead of 4 to help with balance. Then you have to go outside and practice balancing. The trick is to use very small movements to maintain balance. Imagine a wall on both sides of you with only the smallest space on either side of you the goal is to be able to balance without touching the imaginary walls. Don't lean way over to correct your balance, don't throw your elbows out no flopping around and try to maintain the front tire pointing forward. Remember the effort you put into your start could be the difference between being first around the first corner and being tied up in traffic or worse wrecked and tangled costing you a race. So put some effort into the balancing as you ride around. Each stop at a light or stop sign is a chance to practice. Keep your feet off the ground and you will improve as you go.
 

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In amateur events you have a lot of wrecks right out the gate but pros typically have there launch down.
 

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I took a clinic on racing BMX and the had us put our front wheel against a fence. Then you hold the fence with one hand and the other on the bar and once you get your balance put the other hand on the bar. If you can master it that way it is easier on the gate because you can put your weight towards the front of the bike and it kinda helps hold you in place.
 

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If you push with one foot, you will be so far behind when the gate drops, you might as well go order a pizza instead.

There are videos out there of professional racers getting a bit of smoke off the back tire as the gate drops. When you get to the gate, you need to rotate your cranks (backwards) until you get the best angle for a hard launch. I usually started with my right foot at about 2-3 o'clock. That initial stroke with what gets you out in front of everyone else.

Most tracks have a practice day or night where you can do nothing but gate practice. You can also try pushing your front wheel up against a curb, and then balancing for as long as you can, with tension on your cranks. If you're really serious, there's a device you can buy that simulates a gate dropping.
 

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FreerideLife
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Are there usually alot of wrecks taking off from the gate when people are fighting for part of a track curve?
Yes. There are wrecks everywhere in the track on bmx. Reason I have 2 seperated shoulder and 2 shattered collarbones bmx racing.

Someone is pushing you low, you shove em up the berm, throw elbos, whatever you need to do.

BMX is not golf, its like hockey. Its a fight to win and you need to be aggressive or someone will put you in your place.



Now, for gate balance...


If you want balance you gotta practice. Get your bike, put it perpendicualr to a curb and balance. Get it and put it perp against a wall and balance. Point is, if your feet are coming down with platforms you need a lot of practice. Odds are as you rank up there will be many running clipless pedals in the gate like I used to. You lean, well guess what, you fall completely down being your stuck to your pedals. Unless your quick at unclipping it's gonna happen at some point. Happened to me a few times in my early years (even though now I dumped the clipless because I can ride even more agressively now). Get some clip pedals and practice balancing with them. You will quickly learn to stay balanced or you will eat ground. Will speed the process up.



And to answer the pushing with your foot... you want to "snap" the gate. Pushing will just make you come out last. Snapping is the process of memorizing gate sounds and times, and right before it drops scooting back on the gate while clip'd or on pedals, and "snapping" forward right as the gate goes down. That way there will be the very least possible delay coming out of the gate. You can literally come out of the gate almost a few seconds before most other riders if you get it down. IE how you pull ahead and spend less time dicking with people in the berms.


From there, manualing is the next biggest thing. Instead of pumping the rythems, you manual, pump, manual, pump or pump pump manual, pump pump manual. Same with jumps. Might be a bit a head of you being your learning gates but just something to think about.

There are videos out there of professional racers getting a bit of smoke off the back tire as the gate drops.

Should be no spinning of the tires. They are snapping the gate. They are already moving before the gate drops. Back, then slingshot forward. Gate "snap" is what the pros, and experts do, and the same thing I've slaughtered people with at National events. Some people just don't get how its done and it comes back to bite them when someone in the gate does know how to properly snap the gate.
 

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FreerideLife
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Or absolutely not.
? I don't think you quite understand pro gate starts in that point then. Your not cheating, your just rolling out of the gate while its dropping down. Simple theory. Go to any ABA or NBL national and tell me you don't see that in all the Expert - Pro classes.
 

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? I don't think you quite understand pro gate starts in that point then. Your not cheating, your just rolling out of the gate while its dropping down. Simple theory. Go to any ABA or NBL national and tell me you don't see that in all the Expert - Pro classes.
You're, not your.

No one is getting even a one second lead out of the gate, let alone a few seconds. You're mistaken.
 

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FreerideLife
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I'm sorry I don't properly punctuate on a web forum. I have "better" things to be doing than worrying about typing, especially from my "cell phone".

And yes, look at any race vid, it is easy to pull a 1-2 second snap on somone. Go to any UCI world cup event, any ABA national and you will quickly see that play out.

How I podiumed multiple times at the national level. It was all about the starting of the race.
 

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I'm sorry I don't properly punctuate on a web forum. I have "better" things to be doing than worrying about typing, especially from my "cell phone".

And yes, look at any race vid, it is easy to pull a 1-2 second snap on somone. Go to any UCI world cup event, any ABA national and you will quickly see that play out.

How I podiumed multiple times at the national level. It was all about the starting of the race.
You have no idea how long two seconds actually is.
 

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FreerideLife
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You have no idea how long two seconds actually is.
And yes, I do. About 5-7 feet coming off the gate. I especially know all about seconds from my extensive past of competitive swimming, where fractions of a second are what makes a win.

You gotta figure, a gate will take roughly half a second to a 3/4 a second in some cases, if your already out of the gate and fully spinning, the second it touches bottom, while everyone else mis snaps, or is just pushing forward on the gate, you will easily pull that 5-7 feet on them... which is about a second. Sure in a national event, everyone will come out even, but for the avg joe at a local race, you can easily stomp 1-2 seconds out of the gate on someone. Just how it is in the local scene.
 

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FreerideLife
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A balance bicycle (balance bike, run bike) is a training bicycle that helps the rider learn balance and steering. It has no pedals, no crankset and chain, and no training wheels. It can be a normal bicycle with pedals and related parts removed, or it can be purpose-built (especially for very small children, for whom normal bicycles are generally not available). It can have no brake, or it can have one or two hand-activated rim brakes.
No pedals

To function properly, a balance bicycle must be small enough that the rider can walk the bicycle while sitting comfortably in the saddle, putting both feet flat on the ground. The rider first walks the bicycle while standing over the saddle, then while sitting in the saddle. Eventually, the rider feels comfortable enough to run and "scoot" while riding the bicycle, then to lift both feet off the ground and cruise while balancing on the two wheels.
Balance bike ridden by kid.jpg

Children as young as 18 months can learn to cruise a balance bicycle within a few hours' practice.[citation needed]

With a balance bicycle, the rider learns balance first, pedal last. In contrast, with a normal bicycle fitted with training wheels, the rider learns pedal first, balance last. Although opinions differ regarding which learning sequence is easier for most riders[citation needed], it is generally agreed that a bicycle with pedals is too difficult for most very young children[citation needed] and that training wheels may encourage the rider to learn some behaviors which later must be unlearned.
but what does that all have to do with learning gate starts.

Learning gate starts requires having the same ordeal as you will be actually on sitting in the gate. Not talking about teaching a first time rider how to ride a bike her, but talking about how to teach someone to properly balance in a BMX race gate.


Honestly, the best way to do it is a wall or a curb. If you want to train and really have some interest into furthering your goals in bmx racing, the best thing to do is get a set of rollers and ride them in the living room. You will get balance faster than anything else on the rollers plus train yourself and get a bit of conditioning in at the same time.

My #1 training tool growing up.
 
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