Improve your bike-handling
A key part of being an all-rounder is having excellent bike-handling skills. If you’ve been cycling since childhood, you’ve probably acquired confidence on a variety of bikes and terrains. Even so, for old hands and beginners alike, there is usually room for improvement. Try the following:
Go off-road: Trails and grass are more forgiving than tarmac — head out on an mtb, cross or gravel bike to practise riding on slippery surfaces, bunny-hopping and braking control.
Try track cycling: Riding at speed, close to other riders and without brakes, will boost your confidence for road group rides.
Sharpen your descending: Ride to your local descent and practise riding down it repeatedly, being as smooth and safe as you can, increasing your speed as your confidence builds. Ride with others: Link up with your local club or group ride. Riding with others is not only great fun, you’ll also ride faster for less effort and increase your confidence and bike-handling skills.
Relax! It may be easier said than done, but gripping the bars vice-like or worrying about falling off increases the chances of crashing. Try to loosen up — it will improve your confidence in your skills and in your bike.