Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Two for Tuesday - Bike Skills

According to Bolder, "It's all about the bike". So today's TfT is about the bike. I have spent many miles and hours on the bike recently, especially the hills. This past Friday I was OTR for 4.5 hours going up and down the hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While on the downhills I thought about skills required on the bike.

Skill #1 - Pedal Position
While coasting or riding downhill it is recommended to keep your pedals flat. This provides you with a stable platform for your feet without feeling off balance. You feet are also in the best position for when you want to navigate a turn. I've found that I am most comfortable with my left foot forward. Having my pedals level are very important when going down hill. Some of the hills I was hitting were fairly steep and the level cranks gave me better stability without getting pitched forward. Give it a try next time you are on the bike.

Skill #2 - Keep it Steady
Tri bikes are not necessarily designed for cornering, climbing or descending. The angles of the bike are much steeper which is great for when you are wanting to go fast in a straight line. Even descending can get a little hairy on a tri bike, I've almost crashed several times thinking I was on a road bike. To help keep the bike under control I clamp the top-tube between my knees. It's amazing how much extra control you can get on the bike by doing this. The extra stability helps prevent the bike from shaking.

So get on your bike and ride.


Bolder said...

like a moth to a flame...

i have only recently implemented skill#1... i would descend with my left foot in the 6 o'clock position, and my right at 12. what would happen is i would put mucho pressure on my left foot doing this, and on a long ride with lots of descent my left toe would start numbing... it took me a long time to break this habit... also, you are more aerodynamic with your feet in your recommended position on the descent -- picture my left long bone and 45mph air trying to get around it.

skill#2... funny, i've been doing that for years on my road bike, and not on my TRI... i will try!

great TfT!

qcmier said...

Thanks for the tips. I'll have to try skill#2 on my next hill ride. Sadly I have neglected my bike so far. I am trying to justify it by saying it's all about the run.

DaisyDuc said...

Hmmm, very interesting! Both are new ideas to me which I will have to check out on my next ride. Thanks Eric!

trifrog said...

I don't coast going downhill, it only slows me down ;)

No, really, there is a speed at which pedaling creates more wind resistance and turbulence than the pedaling is actually able to overcome. That's when Eric's position #1 & #2 taken together help to maintain that speed and control of the bike.

Good ones, Eric. Don't tell Lisa; I told her my bike shakes going downhill and that I need to get a new and better one to prevent a crash.