bike handling skills????

johnboy183 Posts: 832
edited July 2009 in Road beginners
Hi Folks.
Decided that today was the day and registered after having dipped in and out over the months. Always enjoyed checking the entire site out and have spent many a happy hour killing time at work poring over the forum, I don't ride my bike as often as I like, or more probably should, but isn't that all of us?
Anyway my first query is this...How many times have I heard the phrase "...his/her bike handling skills are excellent/average etc" when watching televised races? What exactly does this mean when talking about road racers particularly? A fine example yesterday was the difference between Thor Hushold and Dennis Menchov on the same bendin the TdF. Both are regularly held up as examples of good/not so good handlers.
I am going to send a similar query to both eurosport and itv4 to see if they discuss this on air and see what if any differences there are between answers.
Look forward to any replies.


  • bobtbuilder
    bobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    Bike-handling skills is essentially a rider's control over the bike, and his ability to get the most from the machine without crashing. This may be anything from the degree of lean a rider can achieve when cornering, to an ability to avoid crashing in poor conditions, or in unexpected circumstances such as the 2004 Paris-Roubaix when a supporter's flag got caught in Leif Hoste's rear wheel, but he managed not to crash.

    It can appear that most pros will appear to have similar abilities in bike-handling, but that is really because they are so much better than leisure cyclists.

    IMO the best bike-handlers just seem more natural on their bike - almost as if it is an extension of their bodies. They trust what it can do and don't let doubt hamper their abilities. If you get a chance to watch any Gent-Wevelgem races when they still descended of the Kemmelberg on the cobbled road, some riders descend beautifully, whilst some are too heavy on their brakes and seem to hit every cobble like they are going down a set of stairs.

    Another example is Paolo Savoldelli and his ability to descend way better than the majority of the peloton.

    Finally, probably the most famous example of good bike-handling was Lance Armstrong's excursion accross that Alpine field in the 2003 Tour after avoiding Joseba Beloki's crash.
  • Simon Notley
    Simon Notley Posts: 1,263
    Bike handling can be a number of things, but generally the skill that makes the difference is how quckly a rider can take bends.

    if you jump on your bike and ride really quickly toward a corner, you wil find that you have an awful lot of decisions to make as you approach it: do I need to brake? How much? When? Where should I be in the road? When should I turn in? How far can I lean the bike?

    A rider that can find the optimum answer to all these questions AND has the physical ability to follow through caould be said to have good bike handling skills. they'll get round the corners much faster and therefore gain time without expending any extra effort.
  • johnboy183
    johnboy183 Posts: 832
    Cheers guys. Just watching repeat of yesterdays stage on Eurosport and guess what? Stephen Roche talking about bikehandling. Showed footage of Cancellara earlier in race compared to Kim kirchen (I think) on same decent last year. Fab was much smoother and relaxed and I guess therefore faster. Maybe the tour or the UCI introduce a downhill TT next year!