When you’re riding your bike, do you ever give any thought to your position? Grip and pedaling technique are important factors to consider while riding a bike. How much freedom do you let your butt to have when riding? How much control do you allow yourself to have with your arms while just thinking about making your feet move? If this is the case, you should focus on improving your riding form. Surely a racing car driver isn’t simply putting his foot down and leaning back as he drives around the track? The only place this will earn you excellent results on the race course is if you want a pleasant afternoon drive. It’s the same when you’re out on the bike.
Correct cycling form allows you to ride your bike more effectively, quicker, and with less elbow, hand, neck, knee, lower back, and butt discomfort than when you don’t use proper cycling form. Here are five pointers for good cycling form, from the bottoms of your feet all the way up to the top of your head.
Use Squares When Pedaling
Pedaling in circles may be natural, but if you think in squares instead of circles, you’ll increase your pedaling efficiency. Strike out with your foot, first along the front edge of the square, and then against the back. Scratch the square’s bottom and then pull up its reverse side to finish.
Stay away from the Gumbi route.
Many cyclists’ knees bend or extend near the peak of the pedal stroke when seen from the front. Extreme movement that appears like Gumbi is riding a bike is normal, but it may also suggest tight inner thighs, an IT band that goes down the outside of the leg, and a weak buttocks.. Pedal more efficiently with less side-to-side knee movement by focusing on leg range of motion and core and hip strengthening.
Don’t Disregard Your Mother’s Advice
Don’t slouch, particularly on the bike, as your mother warned you not to. It’s okay to lean forward with a curved back as long as you don’t allow your pelvic area “slouch” on the saddle. This will prevent your cycling muscles from being fully activated. You should learn to “push the butt back” when riding, especially if you’re in the aero position. If you’ve ever done a front plank exercise at the gym, you’ll feel this pelvic “tuck.”
You won’t see any white knuckles here.
Holding your handlebars in a death grip isn’t necessary unless you’re going at top speed. This will help you conserve energy while riding and will also decrease your blood pressure and prevent you from feeling tense and worried while you’re on the bike. It’s a tiny change, but it may have a significant impact on your comfort and, as a result, your performance during lengthy rides and competitions.
Seize the Opportunity to Pay Attention
This is by far the most critical aspect of good riding technique. Swimming and running are similar in that you shouldn’t let your concentration to lapse when doing either of those activities (unless you don’t mind losing some of your efficiency and speed). However, don’t let the opportunity pass you by to mindlessly press the pedals. You’ll feel great about it when you see your time splits!
There are several elements of pedaling technique that may be improved to increase cycling efficiency. These include shifting at the correct moment and positioning yourself on the bike.
Become a more effective cyclist by following these 10 cycling technique recommendations, whether you want to get an advantage in your next cycling race or simply keep up with your speedier training partner.
1 COMFORTABLY ADJUST YOUR SADDLE
When saddle height is critical for efficiency and comfort while cycling, don’t forget about the saddle’s angle. In order to avoid sliding forward too much, your saddle’s nose should be either flat or slightly angled upwards. As an added benefit, it keeps your sit bones in the proper position on the saddle while also relieving pressure on your more delicate regions. The bulk of your body weight resting on your sit bones reduces the amount of strain on your arms and shoulders. If you’re traveling long distances, even little changes may have a significant impact on your comfort level, which in turn can increase your productivity.
TAKE TIME TO REST AND RELAX YOUR MIDDLE AND HIGH BODY.
In time, muscular tension leads to aches and pains, which makes it difficult to maintain a high speed when riding a bike. Learning how to remain loose on the bike is just as important as making adjustments to your position. You’ll have better bike control and fewer over-corrections if you let off of the handlebars and relax your hands, elbows, and shoulders.
3 BEFORE YOU NEED IT, CHANGE TO EASIER GEAR
Shifting is a cycling technique that takes practice to become proficient at. Another common error novice bikers make is waiting too long before shifting to a lower gear. You put more strain on the chain if you wait until you are halfway up the climb to make a change. As a result of the grinding, your chain may snap off or you may find yourself unable to shift. Shift early before the road begins ascending to retain greater speed and forward momentum.
4 TAKE YOUR TIME AND MOVE SLOWLY
Long, slower rides are required if you want to go farther and faster. You should still perform intervals once or twice a week, but try to stay out of the intermediate training zones as much as possible. To increase your endurance and avoid overuse of your muscles and tendons, go for long, leisurely rides instead of short ones. Use the slower rides to improve your cadence and power generation in the weak areas of your pedal stroke by riding slowly.
TRY OUT DIFFERENT HAND POINTS
When riding a bike, most people only use one hand position. While this is OK as long as you’re comfortable, it’s usually a good idea to vary up your hand placements every so often. This keeps your back and neck flexible, allowing you to exert more force as necessary. When ascending, use the bar tops to let your lungs expand and sit back in your seat. When riding on flat or rolling terrain, use the hoods and drops. When sprinting, descending, or in tactical circumstances, use the drops to become more aerodynamic.
6 EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT CADENCES
Cadence ranges from 80–100 revolutions per minute for a normal cyclist (rpm). Choosing a cadence to ride at is a personal decision based on comfort and efficiency. A varied cadence may help you be more efficient if you get tired quickly on lengthy hills or can’t sustain a decent pace on long rides. If your power output tends to be modest, try spinning at a faster cadence (about 90–100 rpm) to see if you can keep it up. It’s possible that after some practice, the adjustment may improve your results.
PUT YOUR AERODYNAMICS TO THE TEST
Because cycling is mainly a wind-powered sport, increasing your aerodynamic efficiency can help you perform better. Spending more time in the drops, using aerodynamic gear like helmets and wheelsets, and wearing tighter-fitting cycling clothes are all things you can do to better cut through the wind.
COMPLETE THIS LIST OF EIGHT PRACTICE PEDALING DRILLS
Most of your power will come from pedaling in a straight line from 12 to 5 o’clock, but learning to spin circles and get a few more power from the dead areas can make you faster and more efficient. Work on your shortcomings and improve your pedaling efficiency with single-leg exercises and high cadence intervals. To get started, go to this tutorial.
Keep an eye on your nutrition and hydration levels at all times.
For rides longer than two hours, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough nourishment and fluids to keep your body functioning properly. This involves consuming an energy snack or gel every hour after the first, as well as drinking one bottle per hour. Electrolyte drinks may be utilized in hot weather or on lengthy rides. It’s also a good practice to eat solid foods earlier in the ride and save energy gels for when the intensity picks up on climbs or during the last portion of the ride because they’re easier to digest and less likely to cause GI distress.
PACK UP AND HIT THE ROAD
Aerodynamic clothing and better body positioning both help you cut through the wind faster. However, if you want to go all out, try to ride in a group with other cyclists as much as possible. When compared to cycling alone or at the front of the group, pedaling behind another cyclist uses 30–40 percent less energy.
While it isn’t advised to annoy your training partners by never taking your turn riding at the front, sitting behind others helps you go further and faster than you can alone. In a race, sit in the group as long as possible, even if it’s a pace a little slower than you think you can ride. Opting to speed ahead of a group takes a huge amount of energy to maintain, and you’re better suited to wait until later stages when you’re sure you can reach the finish line with a solo effort.