Ride Faster, Better, and Safer… Fast!

Skills can be on different levels—beginner, intermediate and advanced. It’s important to learn each level of ability in the correct order, instead of trying to fast-track skill acquisition. You can’t ride down a technical course, or tackle an advanced skills course, when you haven’t grasped the basics. Even the skill of reaching down to get your water bottle is a huge problem for a lot of riders.

To master cycling skills means to be in full control of your pedal stroke, wax every single corner, and feel confident every time you swing your leg over the tube. Below, you will learn how to boost your cycling skills, regardless of your cycling level.

Do it if…
…you’re not on a strider bike. All cyclists should learn beginner skills, then more event-specific abilities. Skills training will not only make you faster—it’ll make you a safer rider, too.

All you need is…
…your bike, and the environment you most like to ride in.

Commit to…
…five to six sessions of skills training as a start. This’ll be enough time to consolidate a couple of skills. It’s important to practice your skills after an actual lesson, so committing to six sessions means committing to additional rides afterwards to ensure you practice.

Spend…
…two to three hour-long sessions a week on skills if you’re a beginner, until you feel confident with basics like cornering, braking and descending.

In a session…
…work on the following:

MTB: Pedal stroke (which will result in better efficiency, better climbing, less fatigue, and fewer injuries), cornering, super-fast dismounting and remounting, braking, body positioning on the bike, and pacing.

Road: learn group handling skills, balance, braking, pacing, cornering, and group etiquette.

Progress by…
…ensuring that you have the basics down before moving on. Skills such as mounting, braking, cornering, descending and pedal strike go a long way toward mastering more advanced skills. Riding in a group, or getting someone to film you over a particularly tough obstacle, can help you learn more efficiently.

You’re overtraining if..
…you’re not having fun. Remember, skills take time to master—the more you ride your bike, the better you will become.

Maintain your skills by…
…practicing as much as possible, and incorporating specific drills as you get closer to an event.