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Coaching E-Zine - Pedalling in a Straight Line for Beginners - By Kelvin Batey

By:  Kelvin Batey
Date:  01st September 2014

Pedalling in a Straight Line for Beginners

Pedalling a bike in a straight line may sound simple and straight forward but even when attempted by some of the World's best riders when the pressure is on in a big race they even sometimes lose this technique when they are focusing on putting as much power through the pedals as possible with 7 other riders around them and preparing to take off on some big 40 feet gap jumps.
This skill is an extremely important part of the sport as it will enable riders to travel a shorter distance when going from point A to point B as well as enabling them to be as efficient as possible in their pedalling technique. If a rider has their bike going from side to side a moving in a snake style action their bike will be travelling a further distance, there will be greater resistance in the form of friction on their front wheel and also the effort they are putting into their pedalling won’t be as economical as it could be as they will be moving from side to side with their body instead of keeping it straight which is the direction their efforts need to be going.
Riders must aim to keep their body central on the bike and just relax. If they move from side to side when pedalling their bike will follow so the aim is to stay relaxed without having too much upper body movement and keeping the head looking forward at all times. Ensure both feet are on the pedals in exactly the same place (on the balls of the feet with toes just sticking over the front of the pedal if on flat pedals) and try to pedal smoothly by getting a full smooth rotation rather than "chopping" which could cause a rider to lose balance.


1) Coaches can mark out a gap of around half a metre wide for a rider to ride down on a hard piece of ground. This can be done using marking or cones. Have the rider build up speed before the gap to then get comfortable staying between the cones by gliding through them. Once they are happy have them start to pedal through the gap, aiming to keep their wheels inside.
2) When riders are comfortable with this drill they can then move onto aiming to keep their wheels on a marked out line often seen on tennis courts or football pitches to then follow the same routine as above. They will begin to build up speed and then glide down the line, keeping their wheel on it before going into the marked line slow and then pedalling through it once they feel happy.
3) When riders look comfortable pedalling through the line straight, coaches can then make it a competitive drill by having riders race individually or in relay team backwards and forwards on the line, giving timed penalties if they were to veer off it. 

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