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i am still up in the air as far as wheather to shoulder a bike while going over barriers or to pull a ryan trebon and hold it by the seatpost and bar and hold it in front of me i wanna know what everyone thinks is easier and faster for dismount and remounting

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How tall are you? I'm small so I have to shoulder it because I bang the bike on the top of the barriers. Kind of sucks. Whatever you can do smoothly is what you should practice. Three steps between the barriers, however you can accomplish that.
Dude, you can't be shorter than me and I don't shoulder. I alternate between picking it up by the down tube and the top tube. I revert to the top tube when I get tired (since that's what I've practiced the most) but the down tube grab is less effort.
For me it's much faster and less effort to leave my left hand on the handlebars and grab the top tube with my right hand for barriers or small steps. (Barriers have been disappearing from many races here in Belgium, and when they do appear, they're often relatively low, so despite being a short guy, I don't usually have a problem with contact between bike and barriers.)

For anything requiring more than a few steps off the bike (stairs, unrideable sand, or a really muddy climb, for example), I'll shoulder it though. But for me it's much faster and smoother to not shoulder the bike if I'm only going to be off of it for a few steps.
Over the barriers I just snatch it up by the bars and the top-tube. Covering any distance at all, sand, run-ups, unrideable mud, I shoulder it. If you're short and can't get the bike up high enough to clear the barriers pick it up by the down tube. Simon Burney's book covers this subject from every angle, in great detail - get it!
+1 Simon Burney's book.

His suggestion of flicking the bike out the side over fast barriers helps too! I think this is the 'Belgian scythe' Jason mentions...
well i'm like 5' 8" so its not a huge deal but now that you mention run ups while shouldering the bike. i don't know if i'm just doing it wrong but it always seems as though i have to look down because if i look up my helmet catches on my saddle and its really uncomfortable any ideas?
I've seen an increase in the "saddle to the back of the head" syndrome as more cross bikes have gone to sloping top tubes. This typically puts the balance point for the bike farther back than on a bike with a horizontal top tube. I'm pretty tall so I typically carry with my arm around the head tube anyway, so I compensate by just shouldering a little further forward...not ideal for longish runs but workable.

Not sure if this applies to this particular situation, just an observation...
Erik Tonkin taught me a method for shouldering that works great. I use the under the down tube method (not around the head tube favored by taller racers)

* Pick up the bike by the down tube and hoist it on your shoulder. While so doing, slip your right arm under the down tube and grasp the bottom of the left drop in your right hand.

* Flex your right bicep as if you were performing a curl. Keep it flexed (as little as possible while still keeping the down tube secure between your bicep and forearm).

* Your front wheel should be positioned almost like a shield in front of you. Not that you need it to fend off competitors ...

This will do three things for you: 1) This will draw your shoulder toward the head tube and give you plenty of room for your helmet in front of the seat, 2) Takes some of the weight off of your shoulder since part of the bike weight it now supported by your arm, 3) Keeps you in better control of you bike -- it won't flop around.

If you have ported your bike properly, your front wheel should still be spinning when you set it down at the end of the obstacle.
I haven't tried the flexing the bicep part of this, but I shall give it a try next time.

Anyway, I had the same problem as the OP. Tried round the head tube, but I felt unbalenced and it was hard on my shoulder. I'm pretty much doing the about now - works well for me in a longer run.

The extra trick I've found was when grabbing the left drop with right hand, I have my fingers over the top of the bar rather than underneith it. I think I just wasn't thinking about it when I started racing 'cross (in too much pain!) but I had my hand under the bar to start with.

shorter distance=pick up, longer distance or uphill=shoulder for me
Thank you so much oliver that video helped a lot i know enough about cross to know when to carry and when to shoulder my main concern was whether to brief case it or grab the seat post and put it out in front of me but i never noticed that i was putting pressure on the top tube and subsequently pushing it down and causing me to be hitting myself in the head thank you everyone for your input!
Pull a Trebon you say?

Like others have said: picking up v. shoulders depends on the course and how tightly spaced the barriers are.

The only thing I have to add is that it's always a good idea to pre-ride the course and know what method you will be using for each transition.


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