Road Cycling 101 – Skills for Road Bike

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Bike Confidence

Never under estimate how much balance can do for you when you
ride. It will improve reaction time and make you feel strong and
steady when technical skills are in demand. Here is how to practice:


Beginner Level
Wobbly Slow

Look for a long straight line on the road. Make sure there are not many cars around you. Choose a gear that is easy or light enough to pedal comfortably on a low speed. Ride on the line as smooth and as slow as you possibly can. And try your best to stay on track. You will notice that you might wobble when you ride at snail on purpose, and that is a good sign. It means your body is trying its best to balance itself. You can even do it without a line anywhere. Soon enough, the better you get, the slower you could go without feeling like falling. Be patient and practice—your body will learn and improve.

Intermediate / Advanced Level
Track Standing

Track standing will require you to move your butt off the bike and come to a halt. Easier performed on a slight incline. You can position your front wheel and a 45-degree angle to help stabilize side-to-side movement on the bike, the moment the bike stops moving. Use your brakes by modulating the brake pressure to control the bike moving back and forth. Counter every movement and focus on a spot to balance better. Do not look everywhere just choose one spot and hold your gaze.

Groupie Ride Skills

Riding in a group is a very dynamic affair, from skills to having good manners, plus no sudden jolts of madness allowed. It’s just like driving on a highway where being predictable is almost mandatory for everyone’s safety. Here are some skills:

a) Brakeless Braking

When riding in a group, you will notice the speeds going up and down, requiring you to decrease your speed. Keep one wheel’s distance when you are trying to draft someone, especially if you are not confident or new to group cycling. To decrease your speed smoothly, just soften up the pressure on the pedalling or just stop pedalling. That way you don’t need to be hitting the brakes all the time when the peloton slows down. And keep your eyes on the road and group, not on the other person’s rear wheel. Look forward.

b) Climbing

When it comes to climbing, you will notice when you stand to get out of the saddle, your bike will move back slightly or a lot more, depending on situations. This can cause riders behind you to crash if they’re following too close. Make sure that when you stand you don’t push the bike back, and exert slightly more pedal pressure to keep the speed constant.

c) Descending

While riding downhill on the road, if you are at the front, keep pedalling. This prevents having riders behind you from having to hit the brakes all the time, which is extremely frustrating! Typically, the front few riders keep pedalling and the riders behind will freewheel or soft tap. Keep both hands firmly on the bars, preferably on the drops – you stand more chance of keeping your bike upright on the drops when hitting a hole or bump at speed.

d) Puncture

Getting a puncture is no fun at all, so when this happens, raise your hand so that riders behind can see that you are an obstacle and can avoid you. If it’s a front tyre, keep both hands on the handle bars and let someone else signal for you, especially when going downhill. It is very dangerous to take a hand off the handlebars when you puncture in the front. Use the back brake predominantly. Don’t stop until the bunch has completely passed you. Move to the side of the road. And if you’re right at the back of the group, just verbally signal the others by saying you have a puncture so you don’t get left behind.

e) Single Hand Riding

One of the most useful skills in everyday cycling. From drinking, signalling, or just plain nose scratching. How to do it? You can start by learning to let go one side of the handle bar. Start with short 1 second intervals, then grab it back again. One hand at a time, right and left at a jogging pace speed. Anything too slow would make it very tough to balance. As you get better, increase the time of your hand away from the handlebar. Happy waving!

Keep everything smooth and safe on the road! Enjoy the ride.


Jessen Lee
Cycling & Fitness Coach

Jessen Lee is a Level 2 Sports Science Coach, specializing in cycling skills and performance, triathlon and general physical fitness. Certified by Majlis Sukan Negara, PMBIA, and ITU, he also conducts group and personal coaching sessions under The Ride School for road, off-road cycling, and triathlon for all levels. With 20 years of training, racing, and coaching experience, he passionately shares his love for sports with the community.

Contact: jessenlee@gmail.com

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