Drills – Stage 1: Circles
This is the easiest way to get used to turning the bike and a great way of fine tuning body position circle by circle.
What do you need?
Bike, bike gear, paved / tarmac area free of obstructions in approximately 10m x 10m space (or larger).
Other useful things?
Phone, chalk, tape measure, camping chair, water, snack, traffic cone.
What do you do?
Pick a paved area that doesn’t have any obstacles, minimal gravel and no things to hit
If you are a beginner just start going round in large circles. Putting a traffic cone in the middle of the area may help as a reference point to turn round.
Once you get the hang of going round in both directions it is time to get a bit more disciplined with the circles.
We like to use a 4m radius circle chalked on the ground, with a second circle around 4.3m (30cm, or 1 foot) in radius. Get a piece of string and measure 4m. Get someone to hold one end and keep still (or get a weight and tie one end to it), and then use that as your guide to mark the circle. Keep your head up looking around the circle where you want to go.
Try to keep the front wheel inside the two lines, try to use constant throttle to stay in the lines, use your body to alter where the bike is going rather than modulating throttle. Complete around 10 circles.
Some pointers on what to do are:
Keep at least one bum cheek on the seat,
keep hands relaxed (you should be able to take the outside hand off the bar)
Light grip – imagine holding your Grandmas budgie – just enough pressure so the bird doesn’t escape but not enough to squash it.
Head forward and towards the direction of the turn
Elbow out and ahead of the knee
Knee out but not too far so it is passed 90 degrees from bike
Constant throttle - use your body to modulate lean angle versus throttle
if you go outside the circle keep going, try to gather the bike back into the circle using your body position
Video the drill and review!
Watch the video, review (see where you need to improve), then repeat.
Repeat the drill the other way. If it is harder one side than the other, do extra circles on the harder side. Don’t stop even if you start to go outside the lines – complete about 10 circles.
Simple ! But also not simple...
Ready for Figure 8s now?