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Balancing your cycle is one of the most important skills – whether you are a newbie or veteran cyclist. This skill could be developed over time similar to any other skill. But it requires regular training with good coordination, reaction time, power, speed, and agility. In fact, when you have a good balance, you will be able to maneuver your bike more skillfully and respond to challenging environments such as changes in direction and uneven ground surfaces.
On the other hand, a good balance will help you when you are slowing down in traffic or climbing a hilly surface. The right balance can improve your overall riding skills by allowing you to lean the cycle underneath you in order to take the sharpest corners. This article provides information on three drills to improve your balance on the bike.
The Importance Of Developing A Strong Ready Position
A strong ready-position is very important when developing the right balance on your bike. In fact, you will be best out of the saddle most of the time when you need to balance the bike. This position is achieved by getting the pedals of the bike at a level of 3 and 9 o’clock, raise your hips above the saddle and place your nose over the handle. Once you get the hang of this ready position and you practice it on a regular basis, it will be easier for you to balance the bike over time.
One way to improve your balance is to get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. This may not be safe on the road or in a traffic environment. On the other hand, the weather may also preclude this training. That is why you should be doing some important drills to improve your balance on the bike. There are many drills that you can perform in this regard.
3 Effective Drills To Improve Balance On Bike
1. Putting A Foot Out Or The Outrigger
Many new riders don’t like to take a foot off the pedal in order to improve their balance when riding the bike. Most riders use clipless pedals early on – which will stifle the ability to put a foot out while riding the bike. That is where flat pedals come in handy. In fact, using flat pedals when learning to balance the bike is very important. Flat pedals will help you to put the foot down instead of falling over and becoming timid about your balance. Good riders are used to putting their foot out as an outrigger when they are navigating tricky corners – where there is a possibility of sliding out. This is done whether they use clipped or unclipped pedals. In fact, working on taking your foot out when navigating corners is a great drill that will help to improve your overall balance in the long run. You should first try this drill while being seated and progress to taking the foot out while you are standing on the saddle. This is one of the best drills that will help improve your balance on the bike.
Ratcheting is when the rider settles in the ready position and perform partial pedal strokes in order to move the bike forward. In case you prefer to put your right foot forward, you should move the right pedal back and forth from 2 o’clock to 3 o’clock positions in order to push yourself forward. You should enjoy the forward momentum as you accelerate the bike. Now you should return to the ready position and wait for the speed to drop enough so that you can catch the chain with the pedals and push forward – with another ratchet pedal stroke. When you ratchet too quickly, you will miss the sensation of slowing down as well as the ability to grab the chain tension. Make sure that you do only half pedal strokes where your preferred front foot should be staying at the front pedal.
3. The Track-Stand Or Bump And Run
This drill will use all your ratcheting practice in order to progress in your slow-speed balance such as track-stands. This will help the rider understand how to use the tension in the drivetrain to balance the bike. It will also help you to apply pressure to the handlebars and pedals in order to improve your balance. The best way to practice this drill is to use an obstacle such as a picnic table and approach it slowly in the ready position. Use the brakes to slow down just ahead of the picnic table. As you are coming to a gradual stop, you should use a tiny ratchet in order to gently move the wheel forward. Now tap the picnic table and take off the pressure on the front foot in order to bring the pedals backward. This will also allow the wheels to move backward slightly. Now turn the front wheel a little bit and ride away to the side of the picnic table.
The aforementioned are three of the most effective drills that will help improve your balance on the bike.
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