Jun 152010

Question: “I just got my first bike with aerobars. However, I am a bit hesitant to ride on the bars. What can I do to get over this fear?”

There is no secret to learning to ride a triathlon bike over any other type of bike. Getting over the initial feeling of awkwardness that is experienced when riding for the first time in the aero position is a simple matter of practice makes perfect.

If you are new to road cycling and are not accustomed to riding a bike with thin tires then this will take you a little longer to get used to. Another factor could be that you are not familiar with having clipless pedals on your bike.

So depending on where you are coming from, here are a few pointers to help make things a little easier for you.

  1. Practice clipping in and out of your pedals. You don’t even need to leave the house for this one. Put your bike up against the wall, sit on it, and practice clipping in and out with both pedals.
  2. Practice your handling skills using the normal handlebars with the brake levers. Once you are comfortable riding on the bike then you should find somewhere where there is no traffic and no pot holes/road hazards. Practice riding holding on with just one hand while the other hovers slightly above the handlebar. You can then switch to the other side and let the other hand hover. When you let go with one hand you will notice a shift in weight, practicing will make this less uncomfortable.
  3. Now that you have mastered clipping in and out of the bike, riding around with the thin tires, and shifting your weight from one hand to the other on the handlebars you should feel much more at home on the bike and with how it maneuvers. Again, find somewhere safe to ride without the bothers of traffic and road hazards, and practice getting into and out of the aero position. This will be similar to riding with one hand as the other arm makes its way down to the aero bars.
  4. Finally once you are comfortable with getting into and out of the aero position, it is simply a matter of putting in some mileage and building up some confidence.

Good luck and enjoy the new bike!

Chris Pickering
Triatlhon Coaching – Transiton Myself Training
Progressive Cycling Program – Indoor Rider