PACTIMO REWARDS(0)  |  FREE SHIPPING ON $50+ ORDERS  |  NEED HELP?  |  877-291-6238  

Bike Handling Skills and Drills

June 26, 2012

Bike Handling Skills and Drills

Many people think that the pros don’t work on their handling skills but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most professionals routinely do handling drills to keep their skills at the highest level.  Being comfortable and competent on your bicycle allows you to focus on making gains in training and in competition. Knowing how to handle your bike in difficult situations gives you the confidence and knowledge to avoid crashing or injury. So frequently athletes will focus on power and speed and spend little time on handling skills and drills. Spending a few minutes each week on drills is well worth the time- you will be more comfortable and confident on your bike.

Here are some examples of drills. Most of the drills can be done during a recovery ride and you don’t need to spend hours on them. Just a few minutes each week will improve your bike handling skills. And the next time you are caught in a tight situation, you will have the tools necessary to maneuver the bike safely out of trouble.

It is recommended to do drills in tennis shoes and on grass/dirt (where applicable) or an empty parking lot away from any traffic. Tennis shoes or grass will allow you to quickly put a foot down if necessary or have a soft landing should you need one. 

Some of these drills are advanced, be sure to start with the easier ones and work your way up and modify as needed for skill level.

Common Drills:

Ride the Line

In an empty parking lot or on a quiet stretch of road, practice riding directly on the white line on the side of the road. Look ahead, relax, and work on holding the bike in a nice steady, straight line.

Figure 8’s: Cornering vs. Steering 

Cornering-using body weight to control the bike. Put pressure on the inside handlebar, outside leg and watch the bike carve a corner. Generally used for maintaining higher speeds.

Steering- turning the handlebars to control where the bike goes. Generally slower speeds and technical areas.

Figures 8’s on your bike are a great way to demonstrate this drill. Also- setting up a slalom course of bottles/cones can be great too!

Starts and Stops 

Practice clipping in and rolling out quickly and in a controlled manner. Remember to put your start foot (the one clipped in) at about 2 or 10 o’clock position depending on which foot you start with. This will allow you to get a good “push off” and not have to do the stutter step. Do not look down at your pedals, know where they are and clip in with confidence. Be sure to practice clipping in with both feet, not just one side. For an extra challenge, practice clipping in on a slight uphill.

Practice stopping in a controlled and smooth movement. Choose a stopping point and brake, unclip and put a foot down in one smooth movement. Practice with both sides.

Remember to think about gearing before stopping so when you take off again you will be in an easy gear to start.

Touch Your Toes

While riding around in a large circle practice touching one foot or toe at a time. Start with touching your toe when the pedal is up, closest to you and work up touching your toe when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Do not take your eyes off of the road in front of you and get comfortable moving your body weight around on the bicycle to maintain a straight line. Be sure to work on both sides.

Group Riding 

Get a few friends or family members together and practice riding in a group. Ride single file and get as close as possible to the wheel in front of you without overlapping. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and into the draft! J Feel the sweet spot and how the draft makes it easier to go just as fast. Practice taking pulls (remember to look first, flip your elbow, and say “off”), taking a drink, and all of the general guidelines in the attached group  ride document.


Related Stories You Might Like

  • The Importance of Cycling Form and Technique

    Have you ever heard the saying “it is not always the strongest racer that wins”? This is definitely true and whether you are an aspiring racer or recreational cyclist just looking to improve your fitness. There are ...

  • A More Complete Cyclist

    If there was one magic training tool that you could do to become a better, faster, and more confident cyclist, would you do it? By ALP Coach Alison Powers For most of us, the answer would be 'yes'. Unfortunately, not ...

  • How to Descend Better and Faster

    Don’t try any crazy aero tuck positions. by Patricia Schwager, ALP Cycles Coaching There is no better feeling than flying down a descent on your bike. At lest for me – I just love going fast and the feeling of (high...




Also in New to Cycling

Tips for Choosing a Cycling Jersey
Tips for Choosing a Cycling Jersey

August 31, 2016

If you are reading this article, then you must have recently bought a bike or have found yourself new to the fun and exhilarating sport of cycling. In either case, we’d like to say congratulations! Cycling is a great way to get and […]

Read More

When to Wear Arm, Leg & Knee Warmers
When to Wear Arm, Leg & Knee Warmers

August 31, 2016

Warmers are a great choice for any cyclist because they are compact and lightweight, making them easy to pack and carry, while also being extremely effective against chill. They are generally made of Lycra, and in some case may include […]

Read More

Things to Consider when Buying Cycling Shorts
Things to Consider when Buying Cycling Shorts

August 29, 2016

The primary purpose of cycling shorts is to provide comfort. Designed specifically for men and women, cycling shorts make sure that padding is in the right places and seams are strategically placed to reduce chaffing […]

Read More

Find us on Google+