Want to be a better cyclist? Just ride. Every time you turn the pedals, you naturally improve a little. Of course, one well-placed tip, trick, or nugget of wisdom can help you achieve something you might otherwise not learn for years. Drawn from my Bicyclingbook, 1,100 Best All-Time Tips, here is a generous helping of wisdom from the most skilled and knowledgeable coaches, physiologists, and cyclists in the world.
1. To avoid muscle soreness and fatigue, don’t hunch your shoulders. Tilt your head every few minutes to stave off tight neck muscles. Better yet: Stop to admire the scenery.
2. By sliding rearward or forward on the saddle, you can emphasize different muscle groups. This is useful on a long climb as a way to give various muscles a rest while others take over the work. Moving forward accentuates the quadriceps, while moving back emphasizes the hamstrings and glutes.
3. If you’re not comfortable taking both hands off the bar, after pulling an arm warmer down with the opposite hand, use your teeth to pull the bundled fabric the rest of the way over your wrist and off.
4. Don’t move your upper body too much. Let your back serve as a fulcrum, with your bike swaying from side to side beneath it.5 Keep your shoulders behind the front wheel axle. Too much weight forward makes the bike hard to handle and could cause the rear wheel to skip up into the air.
6. Pull on the bar with a rowing motion to counter the power of your legs. This helps transfer your energy to the pedals rather than into wasted movement.
7. If you don’t have a chance to slow for an obstacle such as railroad tracks or a pothole, quickly pull upward on the handlebar to lift your front wheel. You may still damage the rear wheel, or it might suffer a pinch flat, but you’ll prevent an impact on the front that could cause a crash.