By Rick Schultz
In response to Jim Langley’s article “A Simple Tip that Can Prevent a Crash – Road Bike Rider Cycling Site,” I have seen my share of “look-back” crashes as well. I would like to share some common teachings from the USAC BRP program. The BRP, or Beginner Racer Program that might help in understanding the Do’s and Don’ts of riding (racing).
I am a USAC certified SKILLS Instructor as well as BRP Instructor. BRP is a clinic that spans 5 races, giving those new to racing (Cat 5), the skills necessary to survive high speed criterium races.
These 5 clinics encompass the following skills. Practicing these will help every rider:
1. Basic Pack Skills (aka Basic Group Riding Skills)
- Position on the bike, hands in the drops, head up, arms / head / shoulders relaxed, cover the brakes. This is the safest position to ride your bike in. If you are riding on the hoods and someone bumps your elbow, your front wheel will move in the opposite direction
- Protecting Your Front Wheel. Don’t overlap wheels
- Protecting Your Front Wheel. Don’t ride in blind spot of rider in front
- Be Predictable. Be assertive
- Riding side-by-side (close order drills) skills
- Choosing and holding your line
- Maintain speed in corners
- When to pedal vs not pedal through corners
- Hitting the APEX: Outside-Inside-Outside
- Easy on the brakes
- Riding side-by-side in corners (skills)
3. Pack Awareness and Bike Handling Skills
- Field awareness
- LOOK and think forward (i.e., DO NOT LOOK BACK — EVER)
- Practice pulling bottle out, bottle back in
- Soft elbows and hips
4. Sprinting Basics
- Practice stand-up sprints
- Hold your line, be predictable
5. Bringing It all Together
- A refresher – go over all the above
These are the most important points during these skills clinics. There are others but those are geared mainly for racing. I hope these safety points help.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.