Before there were electric starts, before there were kickstarts, pioneer riders needed all the advice they could get on how to get aboard and start the beast. It seemsw practising with the engine disconnected was the order of the day…
THERE IS USUALLY more than one way of doing a thing, but it is just as well to learn the right way as early as possible. Who but has admired the ready manner in which the engine starts when a motor bicycle is handled by a recognised expert at the game, and has not probably at the same time made a comparison in his own mind when comparing the clumsy efforts of the timorous novice?
It is not altogether due to the superior agility of the expert, but rather to his greater confidence in the condition of his engine, etc., combined with the knowledge that he is in perfect touch with the various controlling mechanism and the balance of his machine.
To make a smart start, the rider, first of all, must be sure that his entire machine is in tip-top order, and be certain that the engine will commence to work at the instant he requires it to do so; and he must also have acquired a good style of mounting either by pedal or step, of which the pedal mount is usually the most effective, because usually one or, at most, two hops with the added impetus due to the rider’s weight as it comes on to the descending left pedal will get enough way on the machine by the time the foot swings on to the pedal; then down goes the exhaust valve, and we are off.
Practise without the belt.
In order quickly to become accomplished in any style of mounting, the engine should be disconnected by removing the belt or chain, and the mount practised on a quiet road with good surface and a gently falling gradient. To get the pedal mount, place the left pedal at the extreme top of the stroke, push off with the right leg, and at the same time bear firmly on the descending pedal; then contrive the length of hop or second push with the right leg to coincide with the arrival of the left pedal to somewhere near the midway or horizontal position, and at this point throw the whole body slightly forward, and boldly swing the right leg over the saddle, the weight meanwhile being divided between the handle-bar and left pedal, but chiefly on the latter. By the time the left pedal is at the bottom, the rider should be securely in his seat and the right foot in position to take on the propulsion of the machine. When this stage is arrived at, the exhaust valve trigger may be let go and the engine should start, but the pedalling must not yet be discontinued, in case the engine should misfire.
Various styles of mounting
Of course, in early lessons the engine is not used, being disconnected, but even then it is well to practise with the exhaust lift, so that the action becomes automatic; and at the next stage, with the engine coupled up, the pedalling may be continued until it is felt safe to let go. The great point in this style of mount is the quick finding of the right-hand pedal, for if the precise moment is lost impetus on the machine is lost with it, and this is why early lessons should be taken on a road having just sufficient gradient to carry the machine along when once started; but as confidence is gained, the mount should be practised on the level, and, finally, somewhat uphill. It is getting a start uphill that the real value of the pedal mount becomes apparent.
There is another way of mounting by the pedal, in which the left pedal is placed at the bottom. The rider then runs alongside the machine, and, whilst still running, lets go the exhaust lift; then, if the engine commences firing, he quickly places his left foot on the pedal, and at one hop is in the saddle and away.
This mount demands more dexterity than the other, as the rider has practically only one chance to get on the pedal, and if he misses that chance or in any way bungles the job, he will most likely be dragged down with the machine, and the chances of this are greater where the machine has a long wheelbase and the handles are a considerable distance forward of the saddle.
On the whole, the mount by the descending pedal is best worth cultivating, and in this case the long wheelbase is more easily negotiated than in the common method of mounting by step.