Q: Over the winter I’ve spent countless hours on my indoor trainer, but now I’m ready to ride outdoors. I think my fitness is good, but what about more of the basic real-world riding tips and tricks.


A: In recent years, we’ve have noticed a lot more riders hitting the streets after discovering cycling through indoor riding, and it does offer up some unique difficulties. Often fitness, as you stated, is not an issue, so riders can hang with the fast crew on the local rides. However, the real issue is that they don’t have the requisite level of elbow-to-elbow experience that can cause even the slightest miscue, which in a group ride can have disastrous results. The other common habit indoor riders often bring outside is what could be called the “total shutdown.” It’s when the rider puts out a massive, explosive effort and gives it their all, maybe to the top of a hill or the city-limit sign, and then just stops all forward progress as if the bike and people around them are not affected. This is actually dangerous and over the years we’ve seen it cause many massive pile-ups.

This is a habit that the high-intensity and “only a few more seconds” of an indoor workout have cultivated. Once outside, this sort of “go until you fall over” approach should be left to the pros who understand the ill effects of a rider suddenly decelerating within a group of charging riders.

The easiest way to learn is to find a local group or a few experienced riders to ride with. Be honest and let them know you are looking for constructive feedback to improve your safety and skill as you start your cycling journey outdoors. Listen to the feedback and work to practice when you are alone.

A last tip for beginner riders is to lift your eyes and look down the road. Don’t let obstacles (or other riders) sneak up on you because you were too focused on the small stuff just in front of your wheel.

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