By ALP Cycles Coach, Brianna Walle

What better way to embrace the recent snowfall here in Boulder….snow calls for skills and drills! For our monthly ALP Cycles Coaching Ride, Coaches Alison, Paddy and Brie took the opportunity to cover essential bike handling skills that can be applied across all disciplines in cycling . The importance of skill work includes: better balance on the bike and in the peloton, maneuvering through a pack of riders during a race, managing obstacles/ avoiding crashing and how to pick up speed quickly in a mass start situation (applies to: MTB, Cyclocross and Road situations).

We started our ride with our friends at the Specialized Retül Experience Center for some delicious espresso, activation stretches and warm-up….and drooled over the 2019 Specialized bike fleets.

After a solid warm-up, we rolled out to Stazio ballpark to have some fun! Most everyone had Cyclocross and Mountain Bikes to fit the occasion- a winning combination with Cyclocross Nationals around the corner. We covered the below skills:

  • Bumping and balance: On the field (used cones to square off a designated space) rode 2-3 abreast, around the square, whilst bumping into each other along the way. Focus being : keeping center of gravity, shifting the bike underneath for stability and aiming to bump without going down. Elbows and knees bowed out to help with balance.

  • Starts: Lined up across the field (sprinting for about 15 seconds) in the smallest gearing combination, moving to the biggest gear combo and lastly gearing of choice. Focus being: fastest lines, pedal and crank position, and accelerations.

  • Cornering: Weaving around a section of lined posts, spaced 3 feet apart, practicing maneuvering around 1-2 and then every post.

  • Wheelies and riding over obstacles: (see below video): shifting weight, pedal power transfer and core activation.

Incorporating skill work into your weekly training routine is as essential as interval training. Mistakes will be made, falls could happen, but you get up, have a good laugh and take away valuable lessons.

Ask your ALP Cycles coach if you need or want help improving your bike handling skills.