Club Tool Kit

Slow Speed Drills

Slow speed drills are terrific for teaching new riders about balance and movement on the bike, basic bike handling and even skills that may get them out of a dodgy situation on the road. Even the most experienced riders can benefit from these drills - they are a great refresher after a winter season spent on the trainer for both experienced racers and the most devoted club rider.  

In the next section you’ll find great activities for Club members to practice before the start of the group ride or racing season or with new riders looking to develop the skills to ride/ race safely in the pack.  Designed to be “coached” we’ve included both written descriptions of the skills as well as links to video examples of how these drills should work.  They are presented in a progression designed for the beginner rider/racer but for more experienced riders, feel free to mix them up. 

Straight Line Drills:

Set up:Position two lines of barriers (1/2 tennis balls, low profile cones, etc) approximately 1-2 feet from each other and approximately 1-2 feet across from each other (distance across from each other will depend on cyclist ability) and 20-30 ft long

Goal: teach riders the feel of the bike in each positions while maintaining a straight line

Execution: Ride a straight ling thought all the obstacles executing the following:

  • Hands in drops
  • Hands on hoods
  • Hands on tops
  • Hands tight to stem
  • One handed in all positions listed above
  • No handed
  • Looking back
  • Taking water bottle out and in
  • Eyes closed (so this in small increments)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSH_yog5yPFv7cVhnOukdHQ

Emergency Braking Drills:

Setup: Position four cones in the shape of a box approximately two bike lengths long

Goal: Teach riders the braking power of front only, rear only, and both breaks while controlling the bike in an emergency breaking situation

Execution: Have riders ride at a comfortable speed multiple times and breaking only once they enter the box. Goal is to have them come to stop while in the box maintaining control of the bike at all point. Teaching points should be:

  • Hips back as far behind saddle as possible
  • Heals down
  • Do not lock up either wheel
  • In the drops at all times
  • Progressive speed through each repetition as rider gets more comfortable
  • Difference in breaking power between front and rear

Video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSH_yog5yPFv7cVhnOukdHQ

Jumping Obstacles:

Setup: Open area with small obstacle (ie – Foam tubing wrapped in duct tape) placed on the ground in an open area

Goal: Teach riders how to individually lift only their front wheel, only rear well, then both wheels at the same time

Execution: Have riders off the bike and teach them to compress their legs and then jump with feet at 3 and 9 o’clock positions. As they do this have them transfer their body weight over rear foot, front foot, then evenly distributed over both feet. Explain this is the motion they will be doing on the bike.

Once on the bike have them practice, without any obstacle, all three positions keeping their upper body relaxed. After a few tries, then incorporate the obstacle with each rider riding in a straight line over the obstacle practicing the lifting sequence – Front wheel, rear wheel, both wheels.

  • Hips back to lift rear wheel
  • Hips forward to lift front wheel
  • Hips neutral to lift both wheels at same time
  • Speed is their friend
  • Front wheel and both wheels, time jump to when obstacle is in line with front tire
  • Rear wheels, time jump to when obstacle is under bottom bracket
  • Arms and upper body relaxed

Slow Speed Turns:

Cul de Sac drill

Setup:Position cones or ½ tennis balls in a circle approx. one bike length from center of circle

Goal: Teach athletes control of the bike while keeping pressure on the breaks and pedals

Execution: Have athletes, at a slow speed practice riding both inside and outside the circle of cones.

  • Ride outside cones, alternating directions
  • Ride inside cones, alternating directions
  • One handed alternating hands
  • Pressure on pedals, using rear brake to adjust speed
  • Looking through turn
  • Bending inside elbow

Video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSH_yog5yPFv7cVhnOukdHQ

Slalom

Setup: Position cones or ½ tennis balls at the opposite end of parking lines (if in an empty parking lot) or aprox 10-12’ apart on a diagonal line with aprox 6’ of perpendicular distance between.

Goal: Teach athletes control of the bike while keeping pressure on the breaks and pedals and setting up the following turn prior to the turn they are entering.

Execution: Have athletes, at a slow speed practice riding both directions around each cone in an a slalom fashion. Teaching points:

  • Start wider then athletes think necessary for each turn
  • Look through the turn towards the next cone
  • One handed alternating hands
  • Pressure on pedals, using rear brake to adjust speed
  • Not a race
  • Each turn should set up the following turn

Video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSH_yog5yPFv7cVhnOukdHQ

Clipping In

Essential for stop signs, stop lights and the start of races.  For the beginner clipping in can be a scary thing.  For the most experienced racers, getting clipped in quickly can make the difference between a great first lap in a race - or a lap spent chasing after a rough start. These drills are great for everybody!

Setup: Rider(s) facing open area start from a stopped position with one foot on the ground. This drill is best performed on grass for safety and for the riders to learn to keep more pressure on the pedals due to the increased resistance of the grass

Goal: Teach riders to start pedaling from a still position while not looking down and not “skateboarding”

Execution: Have riders start by straddling their bike with one foot clipped in. On coaches “go” the start pedaling, clip in (without looking down), and continue pedaling. Teach points:

  • Foot clipped in should be at the 10 or 11 o’clock position
  • Foot clipped in pushes down, non-clipped in foot can give a slight push but is not the power producing foot
  • Being most pedals will default to top side up, place non-clipped in foot on pedal and clip in. If foot does not clip in, keep pedaling and try again when pedal returns to the top of the pedal stroke
  • >
  • Eyes remain looking at where you want to go, not at the pedals
  • You can have athletes practice just the power producing clipped in foot multiple times prior to executing the clipping in of the other foot
  • Have athletes practice alternating the starting clipped in foot

Bumping/Leaning:

Another key skill for both the most experienced racer and riders new to pack riding.  These skills are KEY to teaching riders how to safely navigate contact in the group without panicking and hopefully the skills to keep everybody upright when bumping does happen.

Setup: In an open grass field, create a box aprox 30+ meters on all sides

Goal: Teach riders to be comfortable with other athletes in close proximity and “touching” while in tight riding quarters

Execution: Start with riders paired up with others of similar size.  As they ride around the outside of the box have then touch/bump shoulders. Teaching points:

  • Contact should be gradual and light to start
  • As riders get comfortable, have them remain connected at the shoulder, top of arms, for longer periods of time
  • Learn how to lean on each other and balance opposite forces to ride straight and around corners
  • To remove contact, athletes gradually push off each other with arms
  • Rotate directions and have athletes switch from inside to outside riders
  • Progression: ride with 3 riders, 4 riders, etc
  • Understand control and speed around corners, inside athletes must slow, outside athletes must speed up
  • Riders can also progress to having hands on each other’s shoulders

Obstacle pick up:

These drills teach balance, counter balance and control. They also teach riders to understand how the bike works, leans under different weight distribution.

Setup: In an open grass field, riders line up facing same direction across field. Coaches place objects (ie – water bottles) in the open area of field

Goal: Teach riders bike control while leaning down to pick up an object on the ground

Execution: On coaches “go” riders pedal to object and pick up with one hand, while maintaining speed to end of skill area then return to start area, replacing object on the ground on their way back. Teaching points:

  • Moderate gear and maintain a steady speed
  • Leg on side athlete is picking up the object should be straight (ie – foot in the 6 o’clock position)
  • Using your core, reach down
  • Eyes on the target/object

Wheel Overlap:

Setup: In an open grass field, create a box aprox 30+ meters on all sides

Goal: Teach riders how to correct in the situation when their front wheel overlaps and touches rear wheel of rider in front of them

Execution: Riders pair up and slowly ride single file around outside of grass box with the rear rider trying to overlap and touch their front wheel on the side of their partner’s rear wheel who is riding directly in front of them. Teaching points:

  • As wheels touch/overlap, turn into the wheel the rear rider is overlapping
  • Prior to riding, coaches should take riders individually and have them place their front wheel between coaches knees/thighs. With athlete sitting on bike, feet clipped in, coach holds handle bars and allows athletes front wheel to lean against the inside of one leg. Keeping legs tight and stiff, instruct rider to turn into the leg the wheel is resting against. This will straighten up the bike and give athletes the feeling of what is taking place before they try while riding.
  • Have riders rotate front and back riding positions as well as the side they are overlapping on.