Do you know the difference between steering turns and leaning turns? Do you know the components of each type of turn? Are you able to execute each separately and then combine the components to match the road or surface conditions, the weather conditions, and the speed at which you are riding so that you maintain maximum momentum in and out of the corner? How about using your body position and your body weight effectively to follow the optimal line on a descent, thru a corner, around obstacles or around other athletes on the course? And… at the same time, can you match your cadence and gearing to maximize your riding efficiency?
If bike skills are so important… then why is there so little discussion about bike skills on cycling and triathlon websites? Surely, if bike skills were as critical as I am making them out to be, there would be pages upon pages on how to train them, what drills to do to gain skills, improve skills, refine skills. There aren’t…. so does that mean skills make up such a minuscule percentage of cycling performance that they can be forgotten? Absolutely not.
The challenge with bike skills is that you cannot write an article to teach or train bike skills… there is only one way to develop bike handling skills. In a parking lot, with a knowledgeable coach who has the understanding of how each skill set breaks down into components, who has the awareness of how to teach the components individually using drills, and is equally competent in leading athletes to then assemble the components into a complete pattern.
How do you do that online or in a magazine? You don’t. So they don’t.
Besides, there is nothing to sell alongside bike skills: you don’t need a carbon fiber bike, you don’t need to get ‘aero’ or ‘kitted out’, you don’t need a GPS bike computer, and you definitely don’t need sports nutrition products. There is nothing to sell, so there is nothing to advertise, so there is nothing to plug… so you don’t read, see, or hear anything about bike skills. It doesn’t mean skills aren’t critical to cycling.
In my experience as an athlete and coach, its usually the ‘free’ stuff that is the most important dimension in training, competing, to progressing, to results, to performance. All the stuff that comes with a cost… that stuff is secondary, but industry makes it out to be primary. Its the outcome of massive marketing campaigns to get you to buy, buy, buy (instead of focusing on training, training, training). As a result, athletes & coaches prioritize the critical aspects of performance behind everything industry preaches ‘no athlete can live without’.
To show just how important the ability to handle a bike is to performance, I recorded a couple more videos, shorter videos, that I hope will connect a few dots for you as to why some athletes excel on their bike, and why others struggle to translate their strength & endurance into actual consistent racing results.
Want to take your bike handling to the next level, then join us Monday June 18th @ 6:45pm in the Brant Cycle parking lot (Fairview/Brant St corner) with helmet and a bike with flat pedals (i.e. no clipless pedals when you start learning skills). Not only will you have a good time, you will start to learn how to master your bike so that you ride more efficiently, allowing all the training you do put in to come forth when competing.