The lost art of riding slow!
How many times during a ride do you lose balance trying to ride a slow section of trail? It might only be a dab of a foot but it really throws off your rhythm and can create a hard uphill start or track stand into an intimidating drop.
Riding slow can be massively useful, especially on janky North Shore trails
Riding slow is an important skill that's been somewhat lost recently with the changes in the way bike trails are built - more speed, more flow. That's not a bad thing in itself, but it means less opportunity to practice the skill of riding slow, and less opportunity to use it. Thankfully, here on the North Shore, there are plenty of opportunities to use and practice this skill.
The reason I teach this fundamental skill a lot is to help reprogram the brain thought patterns of panicking about not being in control and balance when you actually are. Most people get to a point of speed and want to squeeze the brakes, put their foot out and feel safe which in most cases is the worst thing to do. If they let go of the brakes and regained momentum all of those fears will settle creating a more enjoyable ride.These exercises are something you can easily practice in a parking lot
3 key carpark skill drills you can practice to help prevent this are:
Easy - slow straight riding.
- In your easiest gear, ride in a straight line as slow as you can continuing to slow till you get to the point of track standing and wanting to put your foot on the ground.
- At this point let go of your brakes and pedal away to regain balance. Remember to look ahead down the line you are riding, be gentle and consistent with your brake pressure, sit tall on your saddle not slumped.
Riding slow in a straight line might look easy but it's harder than you think!
Harder - slow tight turns.
- In your easiest gear, start in an open area try to turn as tight as you can. Try with an 180 degree turn then progress to a full 360.
- Once you have this mastered you can make the space a lot smaller and try to stay with in the lines of a carpark spot. Remember sit tall and to look through the turn over your shoulder, gently squeeze the back brake with out pulsing so it creates a consistent resistance for you to push against and be ready to pedal out straight if you start to loose balance.
- Don’t forget to try both ways.
Hardest - B.A.W Bars Against Walls.
- While standing, ride as close and slowly parallel to a wall, come to a stop where you can rest your bars against the wall.
- Try to do this gently with your bars being the only thing touching the wall, no elbows or hands.
- Once you master that lean away from the wall to return to the track stand and ride away.
Enjoy your slow riding!!
Jarrad - Sales Supervisor