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7 essential road cycling skills

7 essential road cycling skills

road cycling skills

This quick guide is the perfect starting point to help determine the key skills needed for good road riding and provides some additional tools and 7 essential road cycling skills that most riders will find useful.

1. Make the most of your equipment

Like a car, the high gear is used for pushing and sprinting, while the low gear allows you to rotate your legs to ease the pain of climbing.

You will find that you tend to have a natural rhythm and you can pedal comfortably, and then this is an example to determine your comfortable climbing and sprinting gear. In other words, there are some additional things to be aware of.

Hills: When approaching climbing, please switch to an easier gear when approaching or at a shallow slope. The more pressure on the chain, the more difficult it is to shift gears, and the more likely it is to jump the car, or, worse, to make noise from the drivetrain. Therefore, try to change gears without applying too much force, so as to change gears before the climb becomes steep. If you feel you can push hard, it will be easier to switch from low gear to higher gear, and vice versa. It’s also better to rotate your legs in a low gear when climbing than trying to pass a high gear, but I’ll describe it in detail later…


Another time to pay attention to your gear is when approaching an intersection, you need to slow down and in some cases stop. If you have been riding in a higher gear, when you set off again, you will find it difficult to pass. When approaching the intersection, switch to an easier, lower gear, and when you start pedaling again, you will find it easier to speed up again.

If you want to jump on or off a large number of gears at once, switch between the two sprockets because the difference between them is the biggest. For example, if you are approaching a hill and want to lower a lot of gears, jump from the big ring to the smallest ring. If you have reached speed and want to increase multiple gears, the situation is just the opposite. Please note that the chain needs to wrap around the middle sprocket on the rear flywheel, and it is not a good idea to move back and forth at the same time, because you can completely lower the

By the way, if you only clean one item on your bike regularly, it should be the drivetrain. Through regular cleaning and oiling, the gears will run smoother and last longer.

2. Use a heart rate monitor

Whether it’s a wrist-worn monitor or a monitor connected to a chest strap, keeping an eye on your heart rate has many benefits. These include monitoring health, tracking improvements and using it for training in specific areas, such as fat burning zones for weight loss or aerobic zones for improving lung capacity and aerobic fitness. Some monitors can work independently, such as wrist-worn monitors such as Garmin Vivosport, while others use remote sensors connected to a chest strap or armband that feed back to a remote computer, such as Garmin or Wahoo mounted on a bar stand. In order to make the most of your heart rate monitor, you need to find your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate. Our simple guide will tell you how to do this, and take you to understand the different training areas and give you some ideas for work.

3. The importance of fueling and hydrating

Terrible fool. If you have experienced it, you will know that it is best to avoid it, and if you have not, take it from the rest of us who you don’t want! Bonking is where you completely run out of energy while riding. Your legs feel like lead, your head feels heavy, and there are too many thoughts of continuing to ride home. Properly fuel yourself, not only can you avoid crashes, but you will also find that your riding performance is much better, so the whole experience is more interesting.

Before riding

It’s important to stay hydrated during the day, drink less and drink more often, because getting dehydrated doesn’t help the bike’s performance. Eat a balanced diet that contains carbohydrates. Breakfast includes whole grains, oatmeal, sprinkled with dates or dried fruits, and lays a good foundation for a day’s riding. O The pasta with protein and vegetables is also great. The goal is to eat at least 3 hours before riding.


The best carbohydrates for cycling

During your ride

Continue to drink alcohol during the ride. In order to replenish the necessary electrolytes for good muscle function, which are lost by sweat, it is a good idea to use soluble hydrating tablets. This is especially important in long-distance cycling and hot weather. When riding, your body needs a steady supply of carbohydrates in the form of sugar to maintain muscle power. If you are cycling at low intensity, your body will do this by breaking down stored fats into carbohydrates. However, above this level, your body cannot break down fat fast enough, so it can only rely on the sugar or glycogen stored in the muscles, which will quickly be depleted. Once this happens, it’s a crazy moment, so it’s important to let your body supplement a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates while riding. There are many nutritional products on the market that can keep you energized, such as nutritional bars, gels and even waffles.


If you don’t want to use specific nutritional products, you can also try: 

  • Jelly baby or other jelly candies
  • banana
  • Jam sandwich
  • Fig Roll
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • After riding

If you feel thirsty, please continue to drink water. A protein-rich meal or drink will help muscle recovery, so try some of these delicious smoothie recipes or quick food suggestions. Of course, one of the most popular post-ride recovery foods is a large glass of chocolate milk.

road cycling skills

4. Group cycling

There is nothing more like riding in groups, slipping on each other, sliding in the air and moving like oiled machines. Group riding is exciting, but it also
requires some basic skills to make it as safe as possible. It may feel a bit nerve-wracking at first to get so close to other riders, so you may want to exercise by cycling with friends or participating in a social club ride. Consistency and communication are key: stay predictable, don’t make sudden turns or brakes without showing that you intend to do so, and continue to talk to the riders around you.

You will encounter certain types of formations and actions during group riding. We have made a short video to guide you through these. If you haven’t tried it before, most bicycle clubs should be happy to help you introduce them. 

How and when to use gestures on road bikes

How group cycling can improve your

These skills are also essential in a competition environment, so if you have a competitive advantage or are just curious, it is worthwhile to participate in the competition because it helps to hone your skills and health.

5. Conquer climbing and mountain training

Some people like to fight gravity, some people hate it, but anyway, climbing is an important part of cycling—unless you live in the Netherlands. How you approach the climb will depend on its slope and duration. Short and steep climbs require different methods for long and long climbs. It is very likely that there will be climbing that combines the two, as well as long-distance climbing interspersed with more violent and steeper sections. 

First, find a rhythm and a low gear that you are satisfied with, stay seated and spin uphill. Don’t try to push the gears hard-rotating your legs is more effective and efficient than trying to power up. It is best to start with a simpler gear and then move forward harder, and vice versa. This may cause the rider to stop and have to stop. Once stopped, it is difficult to start again. In short, for steep climbs, you can use higher gears to push them up and stand when pedaling. For hills that combine the two, stick to sitting and rotating or combine sitting and standing.  Of course, there is a whole set of racing cars dedicated to uphill. If you want to become a mountain climbing star, we have prepared this article for you.

road cycling skills

6. Turn

Fast turning requires commitment and trust. Committed to maintaining speed and body posture, because sudden or sudden braking or a change of direction can make the rider lose balance, and believe that the bicycle and tires can keep turning. Experience and practice are the key here, so a good suggestion is to find a route with multiple corners and practice riding multiple times, or construct it as a regular route. Faster each time until it feels familiar. The speed should be controlled before entering the turn, so you need to brake in advance. If the road is wet and slippery, the braking distance can be up to three times. Enter the corner and lean to the apex of the turn. When turning and exiting, the bicycle will naturally stand upright. Pay attention to obstacles and potholes, and only ride on the correct side of the road for your country.

7. Descending

There is nothing more exciting than speeding on a mountain road, blowing your hair and flying your tires over the tarmac.

Cyclists can reach dizzying speeds when going downhill. BMC’s Marcus Berghart reached an incredible 130.7kph/81.2mph during his descent in the 2017 Tour de France. But of course, speed comes with risk, and if you are not actively seeking a yellow jersey in the world’s largest bicycle race, a more controlled descent is a better option, and it’s just as fun. Good bike settings help here: ensuring that the brake lever is reached comfortably will help maintain control over long downhill slopes. Some riders also prefer the feel of hydraulic disc brakes because they provide powerful braking and subtle control, do not require a lot of work pressure, and feel easier on long manual downhill sections.

The ideal body posture when descending is pedal level, hands on the drop point to relax the body, the brake lever is covered by one or two fingers. Try to avoid dragging the brakes and use two brakes at the same time to control your speed.

Extra tip…suitable for bicycles

As mentioned above, bicycle settings are very important, so installing a bicycle is also a good idea. This is a key part of the process of making full use of the bicycle, because it is very important to make the bicycle fully suitable for the rider’s settings, including the distance of the brake lever, the height of the saddle, the height of the handlebars, etc.

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