Cycling is the easiest sport to train on longer distances, because it doesn’t cause as much stress on the body as running. It involves several skills that are unique to triathlon. The bike is interconnected with transitions as you are required to move your bike in and out of the transitions area without riding it; this introduces new skills such as mounting and dismounting into your repertoire of cycling abilities.
Below are some skills to practice while bike training.
– Cycling after swimming.
– Cycling before running.
– Travelling with the bike(walking or running) in and out of transitions.
– Mounting and dismounting the bike(usually at high speeds).
Cycling is arguable the riskiest sport because of the speed athletes travel on a bike, and the possible challenges of riding on roads with vehicles. Practising safe techniques is extremely important for your own safety and the safety of others participating in the race.
Helmets are absolutely essential when training on the bike. Helmets protect the head in case of an accident. A well-fitting helmet should be snug on your head and not slide around or tip back and forth. You should only be able to get two fingers (vertically) between the chin strap and your chin. The two side straps should meet just beneath the ear.
Bike fit is an extremely important but often overlooked issue for all athletes, regardless of experience level. A properly fit bike will prevent injury, make the bike easier to handle, allow you to progress more quickly in skill-development, and increase your comfort level while riding. Your skeletal structure will ultimately decide what bike is best for you; someone with a short torso and long legs will need a shorted but higher bike set-up.
Below are some general guidelines for bike fitting:
-When the front pedal is paralleled to the ground, a plum bob or weight hung from the knee should fall in line with the pedal and the ball of the foot.
– Arms should be comfortable . with a slight elbow bend. If they are stretched too far forward. the bike might be too large.
-When your hands are on the brake hoods, your back angle should be approximately 35 degrees from the ground.
-When the pedals are in the 12 o’clock position, the lower leg should have a slight bend of 20 to 30 degrees.
– Your hips should not rock while cycling. Have someone watch you from behind; if your hips are swaying. the seat is too high.
– Your head should be in as neutral a position as possible to avoid hyper-extension or bending the neck backwards.
Before every ride, athletes should perform a bike check including:
– Brakes (Do they work? are they clamping the rim, not the tire?)
– Stem and handlebar (are they tight?)
– Seal (Ensure it doesn’t turn or tilt)
– Chain, gears, and pedals
– Wheels (Are they spinning freely?)
– Tires (Do they have enough air?)