Basic Cycling Technique

The bike segment is the longest section of the triathlon no matter which distance you choose to race in the multisport world. Some basic concepts of cycling when practiced regularly will help you to become a faster, more efficient athlete. Instead of just going out for a ride, logging mileage and getting in your time, become aware of what you are doing out there. The goal of the triathlete is to go as fast as possible over the distance raced while still being able to run as fast as possible. Learning not to mash gears and learning how to achieve a higher cadence (RPMs) will allow you to cycle and race faster and more efficiently.

Pedaling should be envisioned as pedaling in circles. Another helpful image is that of scraping mud off your shoes at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Again, these are just visualizations and should help you translate the idea to the pedal stroke.

During the recovery period of a pedal stroke, you should be continuing the cicular motion of pedaling, while pulling up on the pedal at the same time. One of the most common mistakes in cycling is only pushing down on the pedals and not pulling up.

  • Try hard to avoid bouncing while riding
  • Try hard to avoid any rocking motion while riding.
  • Stay focused on keeping your upper body motionless and not allowing your hips to rock from side to side. You will get more force to the pedals and more forward momentum if you can become fluid in getting the power from the pedal stroke to your legs.

Higher Cadences: these are defined as RPM’s of 90-110. This is definitely a learned skill and requires much practice. The use of higher cadences produces more efficient cycling, with less fatigue to your legs because you will be using less Type 2 muscle fibers (fast twitch muscles) that fatigue more easily. By minimizing the use of your fast twitch fibers you will:

  • Decrease glycogen use (burn less fuel)
  • Decrease lactate production (which is when you start to feel the burning sensation during the workout)
  • As a result, you will experience to less muscle fatigue


  • Warm up with 10 minutes
  • Find a flat path, large safe parking lot works best.
  • Unclip your shoe from one pedal and pedal with only one leg.
  • Go for one minute and choose an easier gear and a high RPM
  • Alternate legs for one minute each, start with 2 reps on each leg and build to 4-6 reps per leg, trying to keep those RPM’s at 90 or above.