Four steps for changing on the move
Former Great Britain World Track Championships rider and retired pro Dean Downing fills us in on how to take off and put on kit while on the go.
Getting your arms caught in your jacket is the last thing you want, so read on to learn how to speed up the process on your next ride.
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 bar, 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 – it’s easier to balance with your weight set back.
Use a gilet first
“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 more confident, make sure that dressing or undressing never distracts you from 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 the piece of clothing you might be struggling with.
Practise at the back
“You see the pros making some incredible kit changes,” says Downing. “I remember Mark Cavendish changing a broken shoe without stopping at last year’s Tour de France.” 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 where you have time and space and will only endanger yourself.