With today being the last session of our spring Bike Handling Skills course, I thought it was a good time to post this vlog about bike handling skills and to advertise that our summer course will be starting up in a couple of weeks. To learn more click here to link to the TOETT – BIKE webpage or click on Bike in the menu bar.

There is loads and loads of information about training to develop more power, more wattage, how to sustain higher power for longer periods but there is next to no information about skill and the role of skill in efficient cycling technique, nor about acquiring and developing bike handling skills. There is little if any information about how bike handling skills are necessary in order to be able to translate power into riding and sustaining higher speeds on the roads or off-road on trails. The consequence to this lack of information, is that novice and sport level cyclists and triathletes assume that there are no skills required to riding a bike, or that the value of having bike handling skills is negligible.

The consequence to the misconception that you have bike handling skills because you can ride a bike becomes evident when watching participants in our skills course: remove inertia and the true level of skill of the athlete becomes apparent. During the skills course athletes come to realize that being able to ride on flat paved surfaces is a poor indicator and a poor predictor of riding ability, and come to appreciate that their inability to improve as cyclists may have more to do with a lack of skill and less to do with the amount of power they can put out.

By misunderstanding that you can become dependent on the bike to balance for you – as opposed to you intentionally controlling the bike to retain balance – is the problem holding most athletes back from achieving their true potential as a cyclist, or as a triathlete.

Want to be able to ride at higher speeds, descend at higher speeds without fear of a high speed wobble, what about being able to climb steeper gradients without a fear of falling over because you are riding at a slow speed? Want to feel confident in avoiding obstacles, braking to avoid a collision and braking in a manner where you retain your balance even if you have to come to a complete stop suddenly? What about feeling confident while cornering? What about having all these skills for off-road riding… being able to ride on loose surfaces, over roots and rocks that are on almost all single track trails? Plus, off-road riding requires the ability to ride up and down gradients that you will never find on paved roads.

Bike handling skills do not come from training indoors..  on a trainer or stationary bike.

Bike handling skills do not come from participating in spin classes.

Bike handling skills do not come from riding repeatedly on straight perfectly paved roads.

Bike handling skills do not come from riding only when the weather is perfect… dry, sunny, with a light breeze at most.

Want to achieve your potential as a cyclist? First, you need to gain bike handling skills, then you need to train to improve, and eventually you will be able to ride in any set of conditions, on any surface, able to assess both conditions and surfaces to pick out fast and safe lines through corners, able to navigate potholes, road furniture, road kill and debris, able to ride in a peloton or pace line without your fellow cyclists concerned about you causing a crash.

The next bike handling skills course starts Monday June 18th.  All you need is a bike and a helmet and we supply everything else. Join us for some fun in the Brant Cycle parking lot… we promise that you will become a better bike handler!