Every summer that goes past, I see a slight improvement in my bike handling skills. A few summers ago, it was all about just being able to drink a bottle of water while on my bike, especially getting it out of the cage and putting it back again. Last summer was about descending. I started the year in the spring with a wonderful cycling holiday in the twisty turny hills of Andalucia, Spain. I was awful at going downhill, hands clenched on the brakes, inching through the turns.
But bit by bit I started to improve, watching videos about it and practicing on my favourite cycle route in Madrid. There’s definitely still room for improvement but I am SO much better now.
This summer, I started to see a bit of an improvement in two slightly surprising areas… no-hands cycling and track-standing! Obviously, this is all relative. But it is a HUUUUGE step forward for me! I was able to cycle no-handed for at least ten seconds, admittedly with my hands nervously hovering above the handlebars just in case! But it is a start, and I keep trying so I know I’ll get better. The other thing that has happened is track standing. What with cycling to and from work, I spend a lot of time stopping at traffic lights. My usual approach is to unclip both feet well in advance but recently I have been slowing down well in advance of the lights and then practicing trying to stay still. I still have my feet unclipped just in case, and I am by no means staying still in the way I have seem some people do it, my front wheel going from side to side as I inch forward. But I am still enjoying not having to put my feet on the ground at every light!
It’s all just coming gradually as I get more comfortable and balanced on the bike. I am still a long way away from taking layers on/off while riding like the pros do but hey, getting there!
And on that note I thought I’d share a video I took ages ago. Please forgive the shakiness and slight rubbishness of the video – it was my first go at filming me cycling! This is part of the route I cycle at weekends. I do two laps of Richmond Park, the video is one lap. You can see just how busy it is with cars and other cyclists at the weekend! This particular day was particularly bad, I think a result of turning up to the park on the first summery day of the year, around lunch time!