Recommendations for a defensive cycling coach/class?


I’m wondering if anyone can recommend a coach or classes on defensive cycling? (Even better if they’ve dealt with neurodivergent folks.)

I’ve had my first two crashes past 30 days because I’m a novice but I’m riding more frequently and probably more aggressively. One was a minor loose gravel wipe out, the other was at a triathlon where the route funneled the last 2 km (I couldn’t see the sign) and the person in front slowed right down at the merge and I full send over the handlebars from the curb. Basically, I need to learn how fall and assess the situation better (e.g. recognizing more signs of a slowdown).

Also, psychologically, what do you do to get riding again? (I have pretty bad anxiety and this seems like a healthy dose of trauma.)

Thanks and hope to ride with y’all again soon. Cheers!


Hi Janette!

I would say practicing emergency maneuvers and bike handling skills is important. My favourite way to do this is on grass, at least to start :slight_smile: This helps with your ability to handle situations and also your confidence.

Some examples might be: braking hard (learn at what point the back wheel comes off the ground), cornering (balance speed and smooth line with traction risk), holding a straight line, holding a straight line while standing, smoothly transitioning to and from standing, drinking/eating while pedaling, standing over rough terrain, jumping/lifting the bike over rough terrain, riding the grassy CX practice courses the club runs in the fall, riding up to a wall and bumping your front tire off it and then riding away.

I think MarkW ran a cornering workshop in the past. Maybe that’s something that club members would consider doing more of?

Crazy braking and swerving happens sometimes. I prefer to ride at an acceptable offset from the rider in front so I can better see what’s coming. In a smooth experienced group, you can ride closer; with unknown or erratic riders you must leave extra space. I’ve also heard it said that when evading something, look where you want to go…

– Tim :slight_smile:


Hey Janette. I am so sorry to hear this.
How do you feel on our Rec rides? If you need us to tone them down at all, let us know. You’re a strong ridder so maybe joining our rides more might help you get back on your bike?

Take care and don’t give up.


I think one thing that is often overlooked in cycling is where you are looking when you ride.

It sounds obvious at first, but when you pay attention to what you’re focused on during a ride, you’ll see a difference in how you react.

If your eyes tend to look down at the road, just a few metres in front of you, you’ll be very reactionary when obstacles ‘suddenly’ appear. You have much less time to react, and your reactions will be over exaggerated, sometimes hard to recover from.

Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re out on the road and a small patch of gavel is coming up. If you’re looking downwards, you might not notice a bit of gravel until the last second. You react with a hard sudden turn on your handle bars to avoid one or two big rocks. You throw off your balance. If there’s even more big rocks to avoid you’re really in for it as you now need to crank the steering back and forth to avoid the rest of the hazards. One missed off balance manoeuvre and out goes your front wheel. (I had this happen my first time on a fancy road bike)

Same situation, but now looking up and ahead. You can see the bits of gravel coming up. You have time to pick out the best line through the patch before you reach it. You have time to slow down, to maybe shoulder check behind you for cars and find a path around the whole problem. Point is, you have time to read the situation, decide your course of action, and react with plenty of margin for error.

If you get into any kind of paceline/peloton, looking ahead is essential. You’re not looking at the wheel/derailleur in front of you, rather at the person two or three riders up. When they change pace, or move left/right, you can anticipate the group’s movement and ride smoothly, rather than reacting only when the rider directly in front of you suddenly moves over to avoid a pot hole, leaving you with half a second to decide how not to bash your rim, nor your fellow riders beside you. Riders who can follow the wheel in front to within an inch or two are really good at looking past that rider and focusing on what’s coming up ahead.

You’ll also be able to corner much smoother at speed when you’re looking ‘through’ the corner as well. I find actually turning my head helps reinforce this, especially on MTB trails.

Something to think about on your next ride. Start out by being intentional and aware about where you look, it will eventually become second nature.

Overtake Mr Bean GIF by Working Title


@tcauduro sums it up well as always.

Riding MTB really helps, if you have one the Thursday night skill session is really good and some of the basic skills translate well on to the road.

The Wednesday Crit practice is much less intimidating then it sounds, for anyone that wants to work on their cornering it is a really good location. The road is closed and we work on cornering more effectively and safely, we managed to try 2 up cornering last week. Riding with experience riders at a comfortable pace will help with confidence and let you learn as the provide feedback.