Pedaling in attack position?

Hey Lee,

I hope you don’t mind I’m emailing you. I am reading your Mastering Mountain Bike Skills book and just had a quick question. It’s actually quite simple and maybe a bit silly. Do you actually pedal in the Attack Position? Or is the attack position used when you are off the gas so to speak? The reason I ask is because in the attack position, your butt should be off the seat a bit. However, when reading the pedaling chapter it seemed best to have yourself firmly planted on the seat to generate maximum power (essentially using the seat to push off of). Anyways, let me know what you think.

Very much appreciated!


Hey Scott,

Technical climbing is a classic — and handy — example of pedaling while Riding.

Thanks for writing, and for the great question.

First, I would never advise you to be “firmly planted” on the seat. The saddle is a point of contract and control, but your relationship with your bike should be dynamic.

As you begin your path to mastery, you will either be pedaling or attacking. That is, if you are not pedaling, you will be coasting, braking, cornering, pumping, hopping, dropping and otherwise Riding with a capital R. When you are Riding, every move should begin and end in your balanced, centered attack position. This is the best way to master the core skills we love so much.

As your core skills become more refined — as you become a kung fu master — you will begin to combine them. That is the basis of my whole teaching method: learn each skill in isolation, then learn to combine them. All high level riding is comprised of simple moves — but mashed together with great creativity and power.

If you pay attention to the tips in Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 2nd Edition (and especially if you follow the detailed drills in Teaching Mountain Bike Skills), you will gradually become a better pedaler and Rider. Soon the distinction will blur, and you’ll be pedaling while Riding.

At this point in my development, I’m learning how to combine pedaling, pumping and cornering in exciting new ways. I feel myself doing things I’ve seen riders like Lopes doing. That’s one of the awesome things about this adventure: there is no limit to how good you can get!

BACKYARD PUMP ACTION: Pumping is rad. Cornering is rad. Pumping while cornering is double rad. If I’m going the other direction, and I’m on lap 83 out of 100, I might add some pedaling.

I hope this is helpful. Braaap!


Know more. Have more fun!

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