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Ask the Coach: Bike Skills

Dear Coach,

I find myself timid cornering and not confident in my biking. I’m always worried about crashing.  Are there ways to improve your confidence on the bike?



–By LifeSport Coach Carolyn Murray

Improving your confidence starts with improving your skills.  There are several ways to work on improving cycling skill level, I would suggest approaching it in a progression of five stages.

Learn a skill under low pressure: this means you are either by yourself or in a clinic with your peers and the skills are practiced at low to moderate speeds. For instance;
– “180’s” – set up 2 water bottles in a quiet parking lot, practice circling both directions. Added challenge- pick-up and set down water bottles while riding.
– “90 degree turns” – locate a quiet neighborhood with a series of cull de sacs, ride in and out every turn (practicing right and left turns).

Practice skill at speed: progress as above by increasing your speed in and out of turns at a faster pace.  You can try it with a few training partners and take turns leading though the turns.

Practice skill under fatigue: join a group ride that will challenge your skill level, incorporate a technical section in your interval training.

Challenge your skills in competition: if you really want to challenge yourself, sign up with your region with a cycling license and race the local criteriums.  This is a great workout and excellent to challenge your skills!

You can sign up for a clinic where a qualified instructor will provide feedback and instruction; check into these on your regional websites for cycling or triathlon.

Another great way to improve bike handling is to ride the trails with a cyclocross or mountain bike. (This is also a nice change for your offseason training).  Start with flatter, smoother trails and gradually progress to hillier and more technical terrain.

If you progressively develop your skills on the bike you will absolutely be more comfortable and confident, especially in more technical triathlons.

Happy training!


LifeSport Coach and Former Olympian Carolyn Murray has coached Triathlon Canada’s Regional Triathlon Center, and is Canada’s Paralympic Coach for Rio 2016. She enjoys coaching athletes of all skill levels, in any community around the world.  Contact Carolyn to tackle your first triathlon or to perform at a higher level. Find more tips @LifeSportCoach.