3.           Bike handling skills

Before riding in traffic, a cyclist should be comfortable on their bike, even under emergency conditions.  A large empty car park, local church or school grounds is an ideal place to practice.


Initially learn to

(a)          ride while looking ahead, to the sides and over your shoulder (needed to check behind for traffic before turning or changing lanes) - bike control enhances confidence, so practice pedalling slowly and be sure you can take a drink (tilt the base of the bottle twds the sky so you are effectively pouring the contents down your throat), and replace your bottle in the cage whilst riding in a straight line - you will soon realise the need not to take your eyes off the path ahead for more than a few seconds, because even momentarily putting a bidon back can cause a cyclist to materially veer off a straight line which is something you don't want to happen;

(b)             shift gears - changing the gear ratio by rotating the front crank and associated rear wheel revs;

(c)             mount and dismount in various circumstances (especially at a traffic light or stop sign);

(d)             avoid stones, potholes, or glass on the road;

(e)             look back while cycling straight ahead (particularly necessary when cycling on a toll road where motorists enter and exit via "on" and "off" ramps);

(f)              climb out-of-the-saddle on steep hills to use different muscles and 'tap into an extra low gear'; and

(g)             descend step hills faster, with more confidence, by leaning into the corner with lots of practice to build up confidence through experience.