As a cyclist you are going to have to stop fast, really fast. This could be due to a car pulling out in front of you, a distracted pedestrian or dog running out to “greet” you. This of course isn’t an everyday occurrence for most cyclists but you should be prepared to deal with a panic stop.
Like all things it takes practice to develop skills. Practicing Panic Stops isn’t something you need to do every week or even once a month but you do need to practice bike handling skills once or twice a season so as to remind your body how to react to it when it does eventually occur.
Hands on experience is the best method over reading a how to article so if you are interested in developing bike handling skills reach out to a local coach, team or cycling club and schedule a bike handling clinic. Can’t find hands on skill clinics? I will be more than happy to help. I offer 1×1 skill camps with individuals and groups at reasonable rates. Click here to learn more.
Can’t make the trip to train with me? Then try to use the following guidelines.
Panic stops are actually one of the easier skills to practice at home or at your favorite park.
- Start in an open grass field
- Ride the field before stating to ensure there are no hidden problems in the grass
- Start off riding slow
- Push your but to the back of the saddle
- Gently pull both front and rear breaks until the bike slows or stops
- Quickly pop back to the middle of the saddle and unclip form your pedals turn around and do it again at faster speeds
- Have more than set of wheel? Practice with all your wheels!
- You can practice with friends just do not ride to closely to one another.
- When you throw your but to the back of the saddle you may be tempted to actually lay your stomach across the saddle. DON’T! It’s a great way to loose control of your bike. Men also stand a greater chance of getting wracked!
- While practicing if you skid you will need to let off the breaks quickly and sit up right. Do not panic if you skid in the grass just recognize it for what it is.
- It is not recommended that you practice this on open roads or parking lots.
I hope you enjoyed this basic bike-handling tip. I will be posting several of these in the coming weeks to promote my new 1-on-1 Skills Camps. The next tip will be on steering.
Until next tip have a great ride,