Bike

3 Reasons To Have A Backup Bike

Elevate your race-day riding skills by adding a mountain or cyclocross bike to your stable.

Elevate your race-day riding skills by adding a mountain or cyclocross bike to your stable.

If you talk to pure cyclists, you probably know the stereotypes many have about triathletes. They don’t know how to handle a bike. They can’t ride in a group. Any sprint and they’re off the back. If you self-identify with any of these (no judgments), you don’t have to join a road cycling team to improve. Experimenting with different bikes and riding styles is all it takes and you’ll be rewarded with improved skills and faster bike splits.

Problem #1: Riding a straight line in the aerobars can improve aerobic fitness but doesn’t test bike-handling skills.

Backup plan: Ride off-road and you can’t help but learn to better control a bike.

Cycling without the comfortable predictability of pavement helps engrain the balance, skill and confidence needed to rip through a twisty road.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Practice Bike Handling Skills

Problem #2: A drop of precipitation means tri bikes are shunned from the roads.

Backup plan: Rely on knobby tires to ride outside in rough weather.

Rain, snow, wind and cold are no trouble for a proper backup bike. Fat and knobby tires can grip crummy surfaces—road or trail—and riding at slower speeds helps take the sting off low temps.

RELATED: Crossing Over To Cyclocross

Problem #3: Put a bunch of triathletes together and everyone wants to ride steady.

Backup plan: Ride trail for a no-stress interval workout.

Riding at a consistent effort is simply not possible on a trail. Every small hill or tight corner necessitates a burst of effort to stay at speed. These frequent mini sprints add up to a stellar interval workout that perfectly complements monotone tri-specific bike training.

RELATED: How To Shop For Your First Mountain Bike