Mastering a Wheelie!

Peter Sagan is a favourite amongst the Pro Peloton. Not only is the 26 year old World Champion, but he has a flare. Amongst a fairly conservative bunch, Sagan is known for his joking around, and famous for pulling wheelies in races. One of the basic skills of a cyclist is knowing how to wheelie. (anecdote when you started doing the wheelie and how long it took you to do it). But it’s a skill that I’ve never been able to do on a road bike.

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As one of my New Year’s Goals (note, I don’t call them resolutions), is to attempt to learn ‘how to do a wheelie’. Instantly my analytical mind kicked into gear, and have been reading all the techniques. But this week starts the ‘practical’.

It might seem hard to do, but if you follow these steps, you can also be a master of the wheelie.

  1. Check your brakes. First important thing is to make sure your back brakes are working well. Your rear brakes will help prevent you from falling backwards.
  2. Adjust your seat to medium height. This keeps your center of gravity lower, and help you balance yourself better.
  3. Shift to low gear. You should be able to pedal yourself forward slowly and steadily.
  4. Start slow. Start pedaling and get enough speed so you can just barely balance.
  5. Whip yourself up. This is when you try to lift yourself up to the wheelie. There are two components to this:

First is transferring your weight forward onto the handlebars. Push your weight down, creating an almost 90 degree angle with your arms.

Second is where you shift your weight from the front backward, pulling the handlebar, and extending your arms almost straight.

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By whipping yourself backward, you should remember that the effort shouldn’t come from your arms, instead, you should use your body weight to lift up the front of your bike.

  1. Turn pedal to 2 o’clock. Figure out which one is your dominant foot and use that to help yourself lift the front of the bike up. Turn pedal to 2 o’clock, push down the pedal and then whip yourself up. Find the balance of your weight in the back while pedaling forward.
  2. Try to keep yourself upright. Use your rear brakes whenever you feel like you’re falling backwards. In this way, your bike will launch a bit forward and prevent you from falling. Another way to keep yourself from falling is removing your feet from your pedal and place them on the ground behind you.
  3. Don’t rush. It will take some time for everyone to master the wheelie. Keep on practicing and finding the right balance, until you can keep yourself up high for longer.

See! Like any other activity, all you have to do is break it down to pieces and you can master it! For me my first attempts this morning were shaky. It’s going to be baby steps for a while. But if anyone in Singapore isa master at it, please share your thoughts. And maybe grab me on the road to teach me a few points.

Share with me below how you did on your first wheelie try. Or is anyone else up for learning how to do a wheelie this year?

 

References:

Wheelies for Dummies

How to wheelie – Step-by-step beginners’ guide

WikiHow – Do a Wheelie

How To Wheelie A Bicycle

 

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