Basic Bike Handling Safety Guidelines

Triathlon bike racing is fast. It’s as simple as that. You likely aren’t used to the speeds of a racing bike with thin wheels, or cycling on a crowded road. I’ve seen too many bike crashes and injuries in training and on race day. I want to help you reduce the risk of you hurting yourself.

 

 

Learn to Bike Safely

Bike-handling abilities are even more vital when you ride with a group – either on a training ride or during the race.

Learning to be comfortable and safe on your bicycle requires practicing safety skills, such as emergency braking, hill climbing, and turning corners. It’s best to find an experienced rider to train you in these basic skills.

But why not try these effective pointers to get you started?

Emergency braking: When you’ve got to abruptly stop, brake your rear tire first and hardest, using your front brakes as additional, but secondary, braking power.

Shift your weight backward, pushing your arm and upper body straight out so that your bottom would stick out behind the saddle. A lot of this is split-second timing, but it’s really a crucial-potentially life-saving-skill you should learn and practice on a rural road, far from traffic and other riders.

Hill climbing: Be sure to pace yourself when climbing a steep hill, brace your hands on the top of your brake hoods for leverage, and gently rock back and forth as you peddle up and down.

When you suddenly come to a stop before hitting the peak, just click out of your pedals (if using clipless pedals), and catch yourself.

Downhill riding: Going down a downhill curving road at a high speed could be exciting but until you have mastered it, you have to be slow and ride in a comfortable speed as you go downhill.

Furthermore, pay special attention to potholes, obstacles, traffic, along with other hazards.

Cornering: Turning at high speeds is the same with riding downhill – reduce your speed until you have mastered it. Be sure to lean slightly into the corner and position the pedal on the corner side up to avoid it hitting the pavement as you turn.

Focus on making a clean turn, something which may be useful when those roadies tell you to “hold your line”. You can minimize your chances of causing a nasty pileup on race day if you practice clean turns during training.

Good luck!

Terry

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