If you are an experienced rider, this post is probably useless to you.
For me, a newbie rider, learning to ride aero was a BIG deal. Aerodynamic riding is free speed since it reduces drag that you get while riding upright. It is important the time trial bike (or aero bars on your road bike) be professionally fit for you. A good bike fit makes riding in aero position comfortable along with giving you the best position to be aerodynamic.
Since the week that I added aero bars to my road bike, I’d been working on it on the trainer. But aero bars on the safety of a trainer is very very different than going aero on the road. For weeks, I’d attempt to go aero on the road and couldn’t get more than one hand down. Marietta worked with me on the aero on a long ride on the flat Silver Comet trail and by the end of it, I was going aero with ease. I’m sharing a few things I’ve learnt along the way in the hopes that it helps someone else who is wondering how to ride aero.
Getting into aero position is a quick transition. Not a slow process.
The more I’d try to go aero in one hand and then add in the other, the more I’d be unstable. Until Marietta told me – one hand in and one hand out is an unstable position.
So I tried doing
- Quick realization that I’m going to go aero, so get momentum and coast for a couple of seconds if needed to maintain balance.
- First hand aero, Second hand aero. Done.
Speed/Momentum is your friend.
The more momentum you have, the more easy it is to get into aero. In fact, with the bike, momentum is your friend for every skill! I find it much easier to make movements on the bike (like going aero, drinking water, turn signals, …) when I’m coasting and not pedaling. Yes, not pedaling is killing your speed, but if you are a newbie trying to work on the skill, get a good speed going and use the momentum while coasting to get into aero.
Don’t have a death grip on the aero bars.
When I first went down in aero, I was scared stiff and I’d grip the aero bars hard. Natural reaction, considering that I used to have a death grip my normal bars. But gripping the aero bars hard would shift my center of gravity forward and that would make it hard to control the aero bike.
Being in aero is about your shoulders and hips.
When I’d try to change directions using the pressure of my hands (as I’d do on the normal bars), it was a very zig-zag outcome. Using shoulders and hips gave me more subtle movements on the aero bars.
I learnt to use my shoulders instead of hands by consciously not grabbing the aero bars. I’d let the bars rest in my palms with the thumb lightly over it, and open my palms very often – like I was holding a butterfly between my palm and aero bars and I’d open my palms to let it fly out.
I’m still not completely proficient with aero bars and have a long way to learn – like I tried to wipe the sweat away with my right hand while I was in aero and it was a wibbly wobbly ride.
If you don’t have a TimeTrial bike (Tri Bike) and have aero bars on your road bike, shifting gears in aero isn’t too bad. It just needs confidence to keep steady on one aero hand while the other hand is on the hood changing gears (the unstable position that I talked about earlier). And that’s when you use your hips to gain stability.
What are some of your tips for a newbie who is just learning to ride in aero position?
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