Which foot forward?

Hi Lee
I just finished reading your book “Mastering mountainbike skills 2nd ed” Great read. My first ride after reading about attack position was way better than ever b4. In the attack position does it matter which foot is in front and which foot is in the back? For youe buyer demographics I am a 48 year old married dude who likes to rip it. I bought the book at a local Chapters store.
David V
Lethbridge Alberta CANADA eh

Some left-foot forward action from 2002. Ha, I’m still wearing that Trail Head Cyclery jersey.

Hey David,

I’m stoked you like the book. When I follow that advice I ride better too!

Short answer:

No, it doesn’t matter which foot is forward. Most people ride left-foot forward. If you can execute the core skills consistently with one foot forward, that’s awesome. Do whatever feels right.

Long answer:

In a perfect world, you’ll be able to ride with either foot forward.

– You can sneak in some half-cranks. Great for speed and flow.

– You never know where your feet will end up, especially in techy/pedaly sections. If you’re comfortable either way, that opens up more possibilities for you.

– Open/slalomy turns are better — subtly but noticeably — with your inside foot forward. Left turn, left foot forward. Right turn, right foot forward. (If I need to set hard edges, I drop my outside foot. If I’m pumping more open/slalomy turns, I keep my pedals pretty much level.) Lately I’ve been taking most corners with my inside foot forward, and it feels great.


I am most comfortable with my left foot forward, but I’m trying to become more balanced. The pump track has really helped: My fave workout is 10 laps counterclockwise with left foot forward, 10 laps clockwise with right foot forward, repeat for 100 laps.

After a couple years of that action, I find myself riding trail with either foot forward depending on the situation. I am railing right turns harder, and I’m incorporating half-cranks into my transitions. It feels great.

I’m still better with my left foot forward, and it will always be my default.

My advice: Master the core skills with your dominant foot, then start experimenting with the other.

Braaap! eh

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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8 replies
  1. Rob says:

    For me it all depends on turns / corners.

    I really do not worry about which foot I put foward, just know / get ready to put the hammer down on the petals.


  2. Eric says:

    I like having the inside foot forward as well for “Open/slalomy turns”, although I’m still nowhere near as comfortable and balanced as with the outside foot down. Tried doing a figure 8 drill with level pedals and it feels absolutely terrible.

  3. Tyler says:

    I find inside foot forward or at the “2:00” position (i.e. just above level) creates space for my seat if I have to lean my bike more than my body…..and then that inside foot is ready to crank down on the pedal coming out of the corner. Yeah!

  4. aussie 'goofy' chris says:

    David, are you asking if it should be your left or right foot forward?

    If you want to find out which foot is your ‘natural’ or ‘chocolate’ foot (the trial riders’ term for the foot that goes in front), put some socks on and find a slippery floor. Take a run-up and slide (you’ll automatically turn sideways). Try sliding with alternate feet forward and one will feel much better than the other.

    When you jump on a snowboard, skateboard, wakeboard or surfboard, this will be the same foot forward. For these sports, left foot forward is ‘regular’ and right foot forward is ‘goofy’. No matter whether you ride left or right foot forward, riding in your natural stance is called ‘natural’, and riding opposite is ‘switch’.

    When you go through gnarly bits or off jumps and drops, the chocolate foot/natural is forward until you can ride ‘switch’ for everything as Lee recommends.

  5. Walt says:

    Look at MX racers. They always are way forward in the turns and they have their inside foot forward. Having your outside foot forward is just stupid. A bike is a bike whether it has a motor or not.

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    This site has other posts that specifically address foot-out, moto-style cornering. Moto trail riders, who rail corners without the aid of berms and ruts, often stay centered and keep their feet up. Some of the best stand pretty much all the time, and their feet seldom come off the pegs.

    According to your theory, every cyclist who always rides with a certain foot forward hits half his corners with the “wrong” foot in front. A lot of us must really suck.

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