Want to be a better cyclist? Just ride. Every time you turn the pedals, you naturally improve a little. Of course, one well-placed tip, trick, or nugget of wisdom can help you achieve something you might otherwise not learn for years. Drawn from my Bicycling book, 1,100 Best All-Time Tips, here is a generous helping of wisdom from the most skilled and knowledgeable coaches, physiologists, and cyclists in the world.
To avoid muscle soreness and fatigue, don’t hunch your shoulders. Tilt your head every few minutes to stave off tight neck muscles. Better yet: Stop to admire the scenery.
If you’re not comfortable taking both hands off the bar, after pulling an arm warmer down with the opposite hand, use your teeth to pull the bundled fabric the rest of the way over your wrist and off.
FREE SPEED: Three easy ways to go faster in a sprint
NO. 6 Pull on the bar with a rowing motion to counter the power of your legs. This helps transfer your energy to the pedals rather than into wasted movement.
If you don’t have a chance to slow for an obstacle such as railroad tracks or a pothole, quickly pull upward on the handlebar to lift your front wheel. You may still damage the rear wheel, or it might suffer a pinch flat, but you’ll prevent an impact on the front that could cause a crash.
Beware of creeping forward on the saddle and hunching your back when you’re tired. Shift to a higher gear and stand to pedal periodically to prevent stiffness in your hips and back.
Relax your grip. On smooth, traffic-free pavement, practice draping your hands over the handlebar. This not only will help alleviate muscle tension, but also will reduce the amount of road vibration transmitted to your body.
Periodically change hand position. Grasp the drops for descents or high-speed riding and the brake-lever hoods for relaxed cruising. On long climbs, hold the top of the bar to sit upright and open your chest for easier breathing. When standing, grasp the hoods lightly and gently rock the bike from side to side in sync with your pedal strokes. But always keep each thumb and a finger closed around the hood or bar to prevent yourself from losing control if you hit an unexpected bump.