Are you an active or passive rider?

Road bike, cycling
Downhill, enduro, cross-country biking, mountain biking

Riding a bike should be an enjoyable, fun activity but for many who perhaps do not ride regularly, it can be a stressful experience!

Usually, this is due to the relationship between your body and your bike.

The Passive Rider

Most bike riders especially those who ride road bikes (sharp intake of breath) are passive riders. Now, that’s a statement I need to backup! 😂

What do I mean by a passive rider?

A passive rider is someone who rides their bike 95% of the time, if not always, seated on the saddle.

Most of us learned to ride our bikes on smooth surfaces. School clubs, Cycling Proficiency, Bikeability, generally, use smooth surfaces. It’s sensible to do so while learning to control the bike.

In these circumstances, riders learn to balance their bikes using a combination of steering and movement of hips aided by the gyroscopic effect of the wheels turning.

Ultimately, this technique limits the progression of riding skills and prevents many riders from enjoying other forms of riding.

The active rider

Most off-road bike riders tend to be active riders. Some road riders too tend to be active around their bike and they usually demonstrate a level of control and fluidity that seems effortless.

What do I mean by an active rider?

An active rider is someone who is comfortable riding their bike out of the saddle. While most of us learned to ride on smooth surfaces, some learned to ride their bikes across the park or into the local woods and quickly learned that riding seated had the potential to cause a loss of control and injury.

What are the benefits of being an active rider?

This could be a long list but I’ll keep it focussed:

  • You control the bike rather than the bike controls you;
  • Faster reaction to changes in riding surface;
  • Lower centre of gravity;
  • Easier to maintain balance;
  • Enabling momentum.

We’ll visit each of these benefits and others in subsequent articles.

And, just to emphasise, active riding, controlling the bike is essential whatever the surface or terrain – it applies to both road and off-road riders.


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