Manouvering in tight spaces at slow speed, part 1

Many people have trouble when it comes to getting their bike around sharp corners or through gates. Unfortunately it can also be a cause of accidents, either where a person falls off due to being unbalanced, or another person falls off because another rider suddenly stops in front of them. There are a few techniques you can learn that can make this process easier!

Last month’s issue talked about gear selection – making sure you engage a low gear for tight manouvering. While you are in a low gear, another technique you can use is ‘ratcheting’ the pedals. Similar to a ratchet handle for a socket or spanner, this allows you to use a number of small movements/rotations to create motion, rather than a full revolution. On a bike, this means that you can have your cranks level (pedals at forward/back, or 3 and 9 o’clock), and just pedal forward a little bit, and then back – keeping your feet around that central position, which keeps your weight centred and balanced on the bike.

As always, practice makes perfect! Many of us just get out and ride our bikes, without considering the need to brush up or practice our skills occasionally. Try to make some time each week to get some skills practice in – whether it is just in your driveway or a quiet street or a carpark nearby, or turning up to the ride 15min early so you can do a quick practice beforehand. Pick a few marks on the ground to practice your slow riding and manouvering and you will improve!