Skills Drills To Improve Your Bike Handling
by Nadezhda Pavlova
by Nadezhda Pavlova
A pro cyclist and former Tour de France rider once told our editor, Robert that riding in the peloton was a dangerous place, needing good peripheral vision and confident handling skills. Riding cross-disciplines can help you develop your skills on the road, as both cyclocross and mountain bike will test you out. However, I wanted to give you a few simple drills that will give you confidence and make you safer when riding in your own groups with friends. It’ll also help you as you as develop as a triathlete, as cycling may not be your natural discipline.
What do you need: small sports training cones or tennis balls cut in half and placed in a circle about one bike length from centre of circle. Make sure that you have a clear area and if using a cul de sac, that you’re not interferring with cars and other residents. These are alsouseful skills to practice with your kids, helping them to be safer on the road. Okay, time for the drills.
Goal: Control of the bike while keeping pressure on the brakes and pedals
At a slow speed, practice riding both inside and outside the circle of cones.
Ride outside cones both directions to the left and to the right. Ride inside cones, both directions:
• One handed (alternating left and right)
• Pressure on pedals, using rear brake to adjust speed
• Looking through turn
• Bending inside elbow
Putting pressure on a pedal or moving the eight on the bike is a safe and easy way to change direction of the bike. Practice this as you ride along generally and it will also improve your cornering skills.
Practice often, five minutes of practice 3-5 times a week is way more helpful than 25 minutes of practice once a week. If you can manage 5 times a week times, you’re killing it! Now for some straight line skills to improve your handling even more.
It’s an incredibly useful skill that it pays dividends in riding in a group or riding in traffic. It helps keep you safer, both you and people around you. What do you need? Tennis balls cut in half. Why tennis balls- because they are safe even if you miss the line.
Execution – Ride in straight line through all the obstacles executing in the following positions:
• Hands in hoods
• Hands on drops
• Hands on tops
• Hands tight to stem
• One handed in all positions listed above, left and right hand
• Looking back
• Taking water bottle out and in (all in one drill)
• Eyes closed
Hopefully, by practising these skills, you’ll feel more confident on the road and when riding in groups.
This is a fun exercise that you can practice with friends. You just need a clear area, such as a parking lot or similar space, even in a cul-de-sac. You all start at one side at the same time and the goal is to ride to a line opposite – but to be the last person!
Yes, your slow speed skills will be a winner here. You are not allowed to put your feet down, for if you do – then you’re out 😉 You can stop and track stand, but hey – how long can you track stand for! Last one to the other side wins! It’s a fun training exercise that has a purpose and will help to develop those track standing skills too. Have fun riding and training 😉