Three Advanced Techniques for Roadies

Got your basic riding techniques well in hand? Now learn three advanced moves that come in handy and raise your skills to a new level.

1. Ride No-Hands

Pro cyclists can ride no-hands in the middle of the pack on a twisty descent. Don’t try it! Sometimes, however, you’ll need two hands free to peel an energy bar or peel off a vest. Here’s how:

Pick a Place. Look for a straight stretch of road without obstacles like potholes or side streets. Sit up and take your hands off the bar, ready to grip again as you test your balance. When you’re ready, sit up fully and drop your hands to your sides. Most riders find it easier to maintain balance while pedaling smoothly than while coasting.

Steer With Your Butt. In other words, control the bike with the pressure of your inner thighs against the saddle. Look down the road at least 30 feet rather than directly in front of your wheel. Relax.

Be Careful. Riding no-hands where you live may be illegal, and it certainly can be dangerous. Practice in an empty parking lot or back street before taking your act on the open road. Unless you have pro-level skills, don’t ride no-hands in a paceline until you’re last in line.

2. Remove Arm Warmers While Riding

Now that you can ride no-hands, it’s easy to remove arm warmers without stopping. The only problem might be losing one while stuffing them into your jersey pocket. Here, courtesy of seven-time Tour de France rider Ron Kiefel, is how to keep them together.

1. Pull down warmers. Riding with one hand on the bar, pull down that arm’s warmer to your wrist. Switch hands on the bar, then do the same with the other warmer.

2. Remove first warmer. Ride no-hands. With your right hand, grasp the cuff of the left warmer and pull it off so it hangs from your right hand.

3. Remove second warmer. Use your left hand to pull off the right warmer while still grasping the left arm warmer in the right hand. Voila! One arm warmer is neatly tucked in the other. Fold the resulting sausage in thirds and tuck it in your jersey pocket.

3. Hop Over a Pothole

Ever get trapped near the curb by a passing car or other riders—and there’s a gaping pothole right in your path? The only escape is up and over. Here’s how pro roadies fly above obstacles (including fallen riders).

Assume the Position. As you approach the obstacle, coast with crankarms horizontal. Stand on the pedals with your butt several inches off the saddle. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Think of being like a cat—or a basketball player in a defensive stance—ready to uncoil.

Spring and Lift. As you reach the obstacle, crouch rapidly by bending your knees and elbows, then spring upwards like you’re jumping. Pull up equally with your hands and feet so the bike comes with you.

Time It Right. If you jump the bike too soon, you’ll land on the obstacle you’re trying to avoid. Too late and you’ll plow your front wheel
into it.

Practice! Lean this technique on a soft grassy field using something soft like a rolled-up towel as an obstacle so you won’t crash if you hit it. It’s a good idea to practice with a mountain bike—the fat tires and sturdy wheels are less likely to be damaged in your initial attempts at flight.

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