Ace the bottle grab and other essential one-armed riding skills with these balance and bike handling drills. By Mike Yozell
One On, One Off
Build confidence riding with one hand so you can use the other to eat, drink, and signal.
Start by holding the handlebar with just your right hand near the bend (or on the grip on a flat bar). Pedal in a straight line for three to 15m. Switch hands and repeat. Practise the same amount with each hand.
Line Up, Look Back
Learn to glance behind you with ease. Get into the same starting position as in the drill above.
Let your left arm hang by your side. Shift your weight slightly onto your right hand. Rotate at the waist to look back over your left shoulder, keeping your pelvis, knees, and front wheel facing forward. Move your left arm slightly behind you until your wrist rests on your tailbone (shown). Do the sequence up to 10 times, pedalling in a straight line. Repeat on the other side.
Perform these drills in an empty parking lot or on a quiet road a few times a week until the motions feel easy.
>> To Get Your Drink
It’s easier (and safer) to reach to the same place every time. If you have two bottles, empty the one in the front cage first, then replace with your back-up. Stop riding if you need to.
>> To See Traffic Behind You
Deploy the Line Up, Look Back drill. Important: Relax your elbow to avoid yanking your handlebar.
>> To Find Stuff In Your Jersey Pockets
Fill them strategically. Put phone and food in side pockets. Tools go in the middle – you won’t use them while pedalling. Always load pockets the same way to avoid fumbling.
>> It’s OK to…
• practise your skills on grass at first.
• stop riding to answer a phone call, to text, or to take a picture. (In fact, please do.)
• put an extra bag on your frame or handlebar to keep items close at hand.