Essential Riding Skills For Road Cycling

Needless to say there are many riding skills that one cyclist can posses. Some of them can be for showoff & fun, such as wheelie, or flips, while other serve for cycling efficiency, better maneuvers, riding safety and functionality. Such skills are obtained and honed while cycling and gathering experience from various situations on open road. They are familiar to all hardened road cyclists and crucial to be known by all beginners, especially to those who are trying a road bicycle for the first time.

1) LOW SPEED TURNING AND BALANCING
Naturally, as speed decreases, stability will also drop and this can be really tricky while doing U turns or taking downhill sharp corners. Use parking lots or backyards to ride in small circles or ‘8’ turns to improve balancing your body on bicycle. If you are riding in cycling shoes and might be afraid of falling, unclip one or both of them to insure safe footing on the ground in case of loosing balance. If you are newbie for riding road bikes it is a good idea to start with other types of bikes, such as mountain or commuter bike with (optional) women frame. They have wider handlebars and tires to contribute stability and with women bike frame you can prevent any case of loosing balance just by moving forward out of the seat, towards upper frame tube without touching it.

2) EMERGENCY BRAKING
This may occur while cycling in traffic, unpredicted downhill turns and riding towards unavoidable obstacle. Besides pushing brakes, the key is correctly balancing your body on bicycle, or brakes themselves can worsen the situation. While pulling levers move your body backwards to add more weight on rear wheel. That way you will have more tire grip which means more rear brake power, so you will surely prevent flipping over front wheel and reduce sliding. In wet road conditions it gets even trickier because of the lower tire grip and water accumulation on rims or brake discs. Only very experienced riders can handle these kinds of situations, because besides flipping or wheel locking, there is high chance of uncontrolled sliding, so if you are beginner avoid cycling on these conditions.

3) GOING OVER ROAD CURBS
Cyclist going over curbs
It is not recommendable to do this while being still on bike and riding over it, because you could violate traffic low and endanger passengers on sidewalk. Also if you try to climb it not upfront but sideways, there is a high chance that you will slide off with read wheel. To avoid any damage to rims and getting punctures, lower you speed to a minimum and pull front wheel with backing your body in saddle to elevate it over curb. Then elevate yourself over handlebar to remove as much weight as possible from the rear wheel, in order to avoid any tough collision with curbs. It is rather simple skill but it much simpler and desirable to stop, mount down before and lift bicycle over the edge.

4) RIDING OUT OF THE SADDLE
This is highly important skill because it will help you transfer more power to pedals for acceleration and short outbursts of speed. It will also help you take some of the weight from your back and relive tired muscles, and it will give you better control over the bike while doing descends, as well over bumpy roads. Best grip position on handlebar for this kind of riding is hoods, because it is the most stable position and you will find tilting bicycle much easier in order to efficiently transfer your body weight on pedals. Longer you train or ride, the better you will be with this technique. Road bikes can be a little bit harder to ride, so instead try icicles with wider handlebar and ticker tyres.

5) RIDING BIKE WITH ONE HAND
One hand cyclist
Taking one hand from the bar is important for couple reasons:
• Indicating your movement trough traffic for turning or rounding
• Communicating with other cyclists if you are in group ride, for example to indicate holes on the road, or changing positions
• And for simple things like taking your refreshments while riding

 

Photo credit: Matt Gendron and Dan Cavallari

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