Have you ever wondered if there’s a correct cycling technique? Be honest – do you think that cycling only requires you to hold your balance? Of course, the more professional the skill set, the more necessary a good technique becomes. But using the correct technique for braking or steering through turns and curves is also important for hobby cyclists. Be sure to follow our 5 tips for improving your cycling technique so you won’t end up like the cyclist depicted in the photos. 😉
1. A smooth pedal stroke
It’s easy to pedal to move forward on a bike. But your pedaling will be much more effective if you learn how to do smooth pedal strokes which ensure that your power is optimally translated into the bike. Here are 3 simple exercises to teach yourself a smooth pedal stroke.
1️⃣ Pedal strokes in a high gear: Doing 50-60 strokes per minute while sitting on the saddle makes you aware of your leg movements and you’re getting a smooth pedal stroke.
2️⃣ Strokes using only one leg: Let one leg hang down and just use the other leg to pedal. Try to keep the movements steady and even through all phases of a pedal stroke. Don’t forget to switch legs after some time.
3️⃣ High frequency training for a smooth stroke: Cycling in an easy gear at a high frequency also teaches you to pedal smoothly. Sit on the saddle and don’t get nervous.
2. Turning corners is a skill that needs to be acquired
Let your gaze follow the street course upon entering a curve and pay attention to the road conditions. Start into the turn on the outer side of the street, this way, you’ll have a better overview and will be able to react quicker in case of oncoming traffic. If you’re riding through a left turn, brake when you’re on the right edge of the street, if you’re riding through a right turn, brake in the middle of the street. Your inner pedal should be higher than your outer pedal to avoid touching the ground while riding through the curve in an inclined position.
Tip: Try to use both the rear wheel brake as well as the front wheel brake, especially when riding downhill. You can practice this on empty parking lots in front of supermarkets on weekends to internalise the technique.
3. Crossing obstacles
Want to ride over obstacles without stopping? Cycle at low speeds, shift your weight back in the saddle and lift the front wheel up with your arms. The front wheel is thus lifted over the obstacle and is the first part of the bike to touch the ground on the other side of the obstacle. Your legs lift the pedals (using clipless pedals is ideal) to get the rear wheel over the obstacle as well while your elbows cushion the landing.
Tip: If you’re riding at higher speeds, you should jump over the obstacle instead. It’s important that the rear wheel is the first part of the bike to touch the ground after the jump.
4. Braking correctly – using both brakes
Most cyclists only use the rear brake to slow down. However, the brake power can be increased considerably by using both rear and front wheel brake. Shift your centre of gravity to the back of the saddle. Now slowly pull on the front wheel brake to get a feeling for the brake effect. If you need to slow down quickly, always use the rear wheel brake first before carefully pulling the front wheel brake. Just let go of the front wheel brake if the rear wheel doesn’t cooperate. Don’t forget: Practice makes perfect!
5. Balancing exercises for more control over your bike
Do regular balancing exercises along your usual cycling training to get more comfortable with your bike and ride more safely. These exercises are perfect for regeneration days or as a new starting point after a longer break.
🚴🏻 Ride as slow as possible and keep your balance on the bike
🚴🏻 Pick up empty water bottles while cycling
🚴🏻 Flick empty water bottles out of the way with your front wheel by lifting it up (rear wheel stays on the ground)
🚴🏻 Steer your bike in sinuous lines between water bottles
🚴🏻 Cycle close to others in a group and put your hand on the shoulder of another person to let him/her pull you for a bit
Do you know more exercises for getting a better cycling technique? 💪🏻
Share them with us in the comments! 🚲