Training, Technique & Skill Development Programs
The best of the best didn’t start by training power, they developed bike handling skills before they trained to win: 4x Tour de France winner Chris Froome and 3x UCI World Champ Peter Sagan developed their bike handling skills & their base as mountain bikers. UCI World Hour Record holder Bradley Wiggins and top sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Fernando Gaviria developed their skills & base as track cyclists. 2x Pan-Am Cyclocross gold medalist Stephen Hyde started in BMX.
The first skills cyclists need to train are bike handling skills. No different than how we learn to drive, the priority at the outset is to learn how to anticipate and take appropriate action to avoid collisions and crashes. To be able to ride safely and defensively requires cyclists to focus on being comfortable on two wheels in all sorts of conditions. Once comfortable, confidence builds and cyclists can add skills of agility, balance and coordination. These basics set the best of the best to develop efficient pedal strokes which they leverage into speed, endurance and power. Proper progression is key to becoming a consistent peak performer in cycling, in any sport.
The place to start, is not on the road or off road, but in the safety of a parking lot.
The bike to start on is not a road bike, but a bike which makes handling skills fun and easy to learn, such as a mountain bike or dirt-jump bike.
The way to start is with experienced coaches who teach handling skills in a progression matching each rider at their level to build comfort, confidence and skill.
Bike Skills Training: Why You Don’t Start on a Road Bike
Formula One race car drivers didn’t start in Formula One. Olympic gymnasts didn’t start on a balance beam 4ft off the ground, uneven bars 8ft off of the ground or on the rings 10ft off the ground. Slopestyle skiers and snowboarders didn’t start learning their spins, flips and tricks on the rails, jumps or slopes on which they compete. Every top athletes starts by learning at slow speeds and using safe setups (e.g. foam pits or equipment setup close to the ground). Only when skill and experience in executing skills are gained, do athletes progress to executing the same skills with fewer safety measures in place. Its no different in cycling: start slow, start safe, and once comfort, confidence and skills develop do you progress to riding in increasingly aerodynamic positions and increasing power output.
Bike Skills Training: The Unicycle
Unicycle? You’ve got to be kidding me… why would anyone take the time to learn how to unicycle and then take additional time to actually ‘train’ – if can you even call it that? – on a unicycle? Well, with everyone obsessing over generating power, the thought that led to unicycling was this… is all power equal? Or, is some power more powerful than other power? What if one athlete can generate immense power, but to do so is exhausting because they are incredibly inefficient as to how they generate that power. What if another athlete generates a bit less power but does so with minimal fatigue allowing them to be able to run feeling fresh and really fast after coming off the bike?
Why a unicycle? Because there is no better way to train pedal stroke efficiency, symmetry along with core balance and control as riding on one wheel.