Im­prove your bike-han­dling

Cycling Weekly - - FITNESS -

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.

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