Road cycling is a great way to get in shape, explore, and have fun at the same time. Good technique is the key to how safely you ride, your cycling consistency, and of course, your speed! Road cycling tips from the experts will help you perfect your technique more quickly.
Find out how to boost your skills with these 3 simple steps from Tom Bell, an elite cyclist from the UK.
Step #1: Correct Gearing and Cadence
Cadence is a term that describes how quickly you pedal, for instance 90RPM (revolutions per minute). A higher cadence of around 90-100RPM is most efficient for the majority of cyclists. However, beginners often pedal at a far lower cadence than this. Not only will you fatigue more quickly at a lower cadence, but you’ll also be far more susceptible to injuries around the knees, hips and back.
To enable you to spin at a good cadence on all types of terrain, you’ll need the correct gearing on your bike. Always consider this when purchasing a new bike, as cheaper models often don’t have the desired gear range. If you’ve already purchased a bike, consider swapping to a triple chainset at the front and/or using a bigger cassette at the back. This will allow you to stay seated on steeper climbs, and not have to “grind” when the road goes upwards.
Step #2: Look Where You Want to Go
Being safe yet fast on descents has a lot to do with good vision. This is another part of cycling that beginners don’t use to their full advantage. There are a few ways that you can improve your riding by working on your vision.
Firstly, lift your head up slightly and look ahead. This will allow you to plan your adjustments further ahead and negate ’reactionary’ braking that can disrupt your flow and speed. You’ll then get used to relying on your peripheral vision to spot more immediate obstacles.
Another great addition to common road cycling tips you should know about, is to make sure you’re focusing your eyes where you want to actually go to. It’s often really tempting to look over the edge of the road, or at the gutter you want to avoid. However, you’ll almost always end up going where you’re actually looking. Focusing on the part of the road you want to ride is a must.
#Step 3: Improve Your Pedal Stroke
Having a smooth pedal stroke will help you to be more efficient on the bike. It will also allow you to maintain grip on looser surfaces or when the road turns sharply uphill. However, as a new cyclist, it’s unlikely that your pedal stroke is well-developed.
A handy drill that can be performed is one-legged pedalling. You can do this on a regular ride, as a training session at the gym, or on a home trainer. All this involves is clipping out with one foot and pedalling with just the use of one leg. If you have a jerky pedal stroke that could use some improvement, you’ll instantly be made aware of it!
It’s likely you’ll find it difficult to bring the pedal up and over the top of the stroke to begin with. Keep practicing and it should start to improve quite quickly. You only need to ride for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time on each leg. This will likely be hard enough when starting out.
If you can consistently work on improving this area of your riding, you should see big improvements in both your style on the bike, as well as your endurance and climbing abilities.
Do You Have Any Road Cycling Tips?
Do you have any fundamental road cycling tips we should know about? Share your tips in the comments below!
About Tom Bell
Tom is an elite-level professional cyclist from the UK, specialising in cross-country mountain bike racing.
In addition to an international racing schedule, Tom also coaches athletes and creates content to help other cyclists and mountain bikers improve their training and race performances. This includes everything from podcasting, to YouTube videos and blog posts.
Tom’s athletic goals for the year include a podium finish at the UK National Championships, to represent Team GB at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships, and to have a strong performance in the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in