For a safer and more enjoyable bike ride, learn and master the following essential biking skills:
1. Bunny Hop
Biking Skills Purpose: This basic biking skill allows the rider to jump his bicycle over road potholes, debris, and over curbs, if necessary. This skill is handy when you need to avoid potential hazards on the road.
How to Master This Skill: You can bunny hop your bicycle in two ways: (1) jumping both wheels at the same time, or (2 ) lifting the front wheel followed by the back wheel. Practice this technique on the grass, at an empty parking lot, or a quiet street. At first, you have to clean your bicycle of any excess gear and panniers. Start by setting a small and low object on the ground and then ride toward it at a medium speed. As you approach the object, keep your legs and arms loose and your bicycle light. Place your feet in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, and crouch down immediately above your saddle. Then, in just one rapid, fluid motion, lift your body weight upward, pulling your bicycle upwards. This biking skill takes enough practice.
2. Track Stand
Biking Skills Purpose: This biking skill allows the rider to stop at a red stop without his feet ever touching the ground. Not only will this technique gives you an advantage over other urban cyclists, but it will also give you a quicker and more stable escape should another vehicle encroach on your space.
How to Master This Skill: Practice this biking skills on a slight incline. Choose flat pedals, as they can help you avoid tipping over. Start by pedaling up and braking gradually until you come to a standstill. Slightly turn your front wheel to one sife and stand up. Do so while maintaining the 3 and 9 o’clock pedal position. Feather your front brake while slightly rolling back and putting just enough pressure on your pedals to roll back uphill in case you start to lose balance. The secret if to rock very slightly back and forth as you keep your bicycle upright.
3. Looking Behind Without Swerving
Biking Skills Purpose: Every time you abruptly turn your head to scan the road for potential hazard or check if the bike lane is clear, your bicycle veers in the same direction. To avoid collision, you should straighten your line while looking behind.
How to Master This Skill:
Just before you turn your head, check the road in front of your for any possible risks. If you are looking over your right shoulder, drop your left arm as you turn your head. Maintain a loose grip on your handlebar while your elbow bends. You could also move your left hand to the center of your handlebar. Doing this will help you turn your torso a little bit more and get a clearer view of what’s behind you. Practice this biking skill in both directions until you become more confident at it.
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