Speak to any of your non biking friends and tell them that there is much skill in biking and watch there face. It will appear as one in true disbelief! Well, us bikers know the truth, biking is much more than just being extremely fit, although that does not hurt.
I’m sure you’ve seen bikers that seem to have such a smooth peddling stroke that they are using much less energy than you at all times. Now this blog we’ll not be able to transform you into a pro cyclist, But we’ll give you some great skills to use for life. To improve your pedaling stroke, it takes much more than 10 minutes. In fact it takes hudreds of hours of one legged pedaling drills (best done on a trainer). Ok, here are the 3 skills you can learn in 10 minutes:
1. Click your pedals in without looking down. This one just takes a little practice and is actually a very important skill. Since, if you always look down to click in, one day the bike in front will stop and down you go! I learned this lesson the hard way :).
2. Fix a flat tire. This is not only a skill anybody can learn, it is truly essential. EVERY biker will get a flat from time to time. If I could learn, anyone can! This does take practice, and it is much better to practice in your garage where you’re comfortable then on the side of road. A couple of very important tips. First, always start at the opposite side of the valve when removing the tube from the tire. Second, always start at the valve when putting the tire back in. Here is a great video to explain the process.
3. Bunny hop a bump/ pothole. Many times when you are on the road, you will not have time to swerve around a bump or pothole. Other times, there are unavoidable bumps like rail road tracks. Accordingly, having the ability to get both tires in the air at the same time is a very practical skill. This is much easier when you are clicked in your pedals. What you want to do is stand up and act as if you are using your arms to lift the bike up. Here is a video example.
I will continue this series in the future with more important biking skills. As we approach the winter, remember to dress accordingly and always use lights, as there is much less day light.
Ride. Be Safe. Have Fun.
Andrew Kass – Bicycle injury lawyer/Enthusiast