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Bike Handling for Better Racing

Bike Handling for Better Racing

Bike Handling for Better Racing


Want to get a leg up on the competition at your next non-drafting triathlon? Looking to get started in draft legal racing? Developing solid bike handling skills will give you a decisive advantage over your competition and make you a more confident, safer, and faster triathlete. 


Playtri has been working with triathletes and cyclists of all ages and experience levels for over 20+ years to be safer, faster, and more confident bike handlers. Our coaches regularly provide one-on-one bike handling sessions with athletes in the DFW area. Below are my favorite bike handling drills that can have an impact on race day.


Hold the Line: While in your aerobars, ride on the white line close to the shoulder. See how far you can ride without touching bare road. Try this at different speeds. As you gain confidence, try it one handed while you move your free hand to your water bottle, back of your jersey, back of your seat, helmet, etc. Make sure to practice with both hands.

Bottle Grabs: This is very race specific. Practice grabbing a water bottle from someone standing on the side of the road. Then practice filling your front hydration and/or placing the bottle in one of your bottle cages.

180 turns: In an empty parking lot, set up a cone to practice doing 180 turn going left and right. As you approach the turn, gear down into an easier gear. Apply the brakes as you come into the turn. Put your inside knee up, while pushing down on your outside foot, and use body lean to carry you around the turn. As you come out of the turn, spin your legs to get back up to speed. Practice this on your own and with friends.

Braking and Corners: In an empty parking lot, set up a set of cones that require you to make 4 left or 4 right turns. To keep from sliding out in the turn, place more of your weight on your front wheel by putting your hands on the bull horns of your tri bike or in the drops on your road bike. Don’t pedal while you corner. Instead put your inside foot up and outside foot down, lean the bike toward the direction you are turning, keep pressure on the outside foot. Release the brakes before you start the turn and lean your bike, not your body, into the turn. As you gain confidence, lean further into the corner. Remember to look where you want to go and not where you are or at the corner. Practice this on your own and with friends.

Drills like these not only help you gain more confidence but also make you a faster and safer cyclist. And if you are looking for specific guidance for ways you can improve as a cyclist, you can book a one-on-one session with one of our coaches here:


If you have questions about anything in this article or are interested in learning about different coaching options, please reach out to me at Happy training and racing this year!


Jim Rowe is a Playtri Level 4 Coach and Coach Education Lead, a USAT LI Certified Coach, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer who works with adult athletes of all abilities from beginners to IRONMAN World Championship qualifiers. Learn more about Jim at

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