Or at least look like it
By Mon Garcia | Photo by Brina Blum/Unsplash
Now that you’ve fixed your gear, it’s time to look at how you’re carrying all of that. That is, how you’re actually riding your bike. And in which we mean your pedaling form.
There is a mythical quality called “souplesse” I discussed in a previous article that outlines a bit of what we’re talking about. What makes you look pro while you’re riding? Let us count the ways.
Pedal Faster Not Harder
This one tip could immediately alter not just how good you look while riding but how well you ride. Unless you’re going uphill, try to keep your cadence (the speed of your legs while you pedal, measured in revolutions per minute) between 80 to 100rpm. Shift gears as needed to maintain this. You know that inexperienced driver who’s stuck in first gear a minute into his acceleration? Or stuck in fourth as he slows in traffic and kills the engine? That could be you, but in bike form, if you don’t follow this and shift accordingly.
Learn to Pedal in Circles
Part of looking better on the bike is to stop mashing down on your pedals like a newbie. This isn’t your BMX from childhood. Heck, even the BMX pros pedal in circles. Super fast too, apparently. Visualize being able to power through the whole pedal stroke, not just the downswing. And use a trainer or rollers to help you get there.
Know and Use Different Hand Positions
On the bar tops for extended climbing, on the drops for descents and anytime you go beyond 30kph (at which point you’re spending more than half your energy overcoming wind resistance, so get down there), and on the hoods for traffic and when you’re standing to accelerate. Road bike handlebars were made for multiple positions and have evolved to make all these positions easier to access and maintain. Learn how and when to use them, and you’ll be looking pro in no time. Only amateurs are locked on to the hoods.
Learn when to use these different hand positions and don’t be locked in like a newbie. Photo from Bicycling.com
Keep Your Elbows Bent
Nothing says newbie and poorly-fitted-to-their-bike like locked elbows. Aside from putting you in a relaxed, more pro-looking position, they also have the added benefit of keeping you safe and in control should you need to avoid an obstacle like a pothole or fall into said pothole.
If you’d like to visualize what all this could look like for your next coming bike split, check this out: