How to change on the move
Retired pro Dean Downing fills us in on how to add – and remove – kit on the go…
The first thing to do is ensure that you are comfortable riding no-handed. “Just practise pedalling on a flat, quiet, straight stretch of road with your hands off the bars, keeping your body still,” says Downing. Keep your hands near the bar to start with, but as you gain confidence sit back with your arms at your sides – you’ll find it easier to balance with your weight set back.
“Once you’re comfortable riding no-handed, put on and remove your gilet,” says Downing. “It’s the easiest piece of clothing to practise with because it’s unrestrictive – there’s no twisting or pulling through sleeves.” It’s easier to remove arm warmers from your wrists once you’ve rolled them down, but practise rolling them up and down before you try to take them off.
As you get increasingly adventurous, ensure the (un)dressing never distracts you from the act of riding. “Above all else,” says Downing, “don’t let your concentration drop. Keep your head up and maintain awareness of what’s going on around you.” You should be looking down the road, not at your front wheel or at the piece of clothing you might be struggling with.
“You see the pros making some incredible kit changes,” says Downing. “I remember Mark Cavendish at the 2013 Tour de France changing a broken shoe without stopping.” But this ability only comes through practice, and unless you have pro-level skills, you should practise alone or, if you’re with a group, at the back of a group where you’ll have time and space and will only endanger yourself.
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