5 Cycling Skills Every Bike Rider Needs

– [Dan] If you are new to cycling, there
are probably a few situations that you find yourself in that make you feel quite
nervous. I mean, for Si and I, there’s only one situation that makes us
feel nervous, but thankfully, Matt’s not here today. – [Simon] But we think there are five
skills. If you master them, and you will because they are quite
straightforward, you will be able to ride with much, much more confidence. So, here
they are. ♪ [music] ♪ – First up, it’s the emergency stop. This
can strike fear into the hearts of many, as childhood memories of flying over the
handlebars come flooding back. But if needed, here is how to stop
quickly. – Your front brake is your friend. It’s
the most effective one you have that’s slowing you down. What we’ve got to do to
counter the feeling of going over the handlebars is to move your weight
backwards. And the harder you brake, the further back your weight needs to be. All right. – This is something that is really worth
practicing, because it should very quickly become instinctive. Just repeat it over
and over again, from your normal riding speed, gradually increasing how quickly
you come to a stop. And what you should notice is that if you get your weight far
enough back, it’s virtually impossible to go over the bars. I mean, taking one hand off the bars is
essential for a number of cycling skills. Firstly, and most importantly, for
indicating to other traffic when you’re about to make a turn, also for
communicating with other cyclists if you’re on a group ride, but thirdly, also,
for simple things like taking a drink or even some food out of your back pocket on
a long ride. – Yeah, and again, all you got to do to
get the ease with this is just to practice it. But at least, unlike with emergency
stops, takes much less effort to do so. What you’ve got to do is ride around,
taking one hand off the bars, and you’ll quickly realize that your bike
isn’t something to be scared of. It doesn’t need manhandling around, it
needs gentle, caressing touches. Just like that. ♪ [music] ♪ – Riding out of the saddle is a really
important skill. Firstly, it will allow you to transfer more power
through the pedal for those short, steep climbs. Secondly, it would take the
weight off your backside and relieve tired muscles, and thirdly, it will give you the
most control over your bike when you’re descending down technical or bumpy
terrain. – Yeah, if you want to get out of saddle
when you’re not pedaling, then you’ll need to have your pedals level
with pretty much all your bodyweight through your legs. You then need to have
your arms and your legs slightly bent, ready to absorb any shocks coming up from
the road and through the bike. – However, if you are pedaling out the
saddle, you’ll firstly need to learn to lean forward slightly so that you don’t
catch yourself on the saddle. In terms of positioning your hands, the
easiest place is on the brake hood, if you’re on road bikes like we are. – Yeah, you’ll also find that gently
swaying the bike from side to side will really help make the most out of your
bodyweight and put power through the pedals. You’ll also probably find that you
want to be in one gear harder than you would do if you’re sat on the saddle.
It’ll make it seem much, much easier. ♪ [music] ♪ – Technically, riding up onto a curb will
probably mean that you’ll end up committing some kind of traffic offense,
because you’re going to end up on the pavement or sidewalk. However, it’s
something that we’re all going to do at some point, so it’s worth learning how to
do it properly so you don’t damage your bike or yourself. – There are two important things to
consider. Firstly, that you’re trying to hit the curb square-on. Coming at it from
an angle will make it likely that you’ll crash. If you do come at it head-on, even
if you just ride at it, it is quite likely that you’ll still get
over it. – Although you shouldn’t do that, because
you will still risk damaging your bike. So instead, as you approach the curb, try
to pull up on the front handlebars, and simultaneously push your weight to the
back of the bike. What that should do is raise your front wheel, which is a cool
trick in itself, and it should therefore easily roll over the obstacle in front of
you. And your back wheel should follow suit, although bear in mind, that this
will put quite a lot of pressure on your tires, so just adjust your speed
accordingly so that you don’t puncture. – The last skill that we think you should
master is riding very slowly around corners, because it’s when you’re going
slowly that you’re at your least stable, and so it really taxes your balance. – Yeah, and if you are using clipless
pedals, and you’re worried about being able to get your foot out in time, what
you can do is simply unclip, and that way you’ll know that whilst
you’re riding around, if something goes wrong you can put your foot down very
quickly, at any time. – Now I find it really helps my balance if
I’m sat in the saddle when riding at slow speed, because now I’m able to make
adjustments to the handlebars very easily. And you should be prepared to make some
pretty major adjustments in order to keep your balance. – Now, riding well at slow speeds will
really help you when it comes to riding well at much faster speeds. It will do
wonders for your bike-handling skills and crucially, also, for your confidence, so
it’s really something worth practicing from time to time. Five skills, then, that should really help
your cycling. The ability to ride up curbs, riding out of the saddle, emergency
stops, riding with one hand and being able to ride around very tight corners. Master
all of those, and you should find there is very little that can impact your cycling. – If you want to take your riding to the
next level, then, we have a video with another five skills that are a little bit
more advanced. You can get to that just by clicking up there. – On the other hand, having ultimate
control over your bike whilst being comfortable requires being in the right
position. So you can find out how to set your saddle height by clicking just down
there. – Before you go to either of those,
though, do make sure you subscribe to GCN. It’s completely free, and you will be in
the right place for hundreds and thousands of cycling videos. You’ll be pretty good
by the end of that lot, if you watch them all. – Some are more helpful than others, I
would say. – Yeah, and you’d probably be a bit sick
of watching us, I suppose. But otherwise… – No. – Okay, good point. Oh dear, oof. I
haven’t actually got a spare tube with me. Does anyone else?