5 PRO TIPS FOR TACKLING COBBLES

3/11/2024 – Alex Filippov

5 PRO TIPS FOR TACKLING COBBLES

You have your bike ready for an adventure á la Spring Classics, with chunky tires on and the fragile carbon bottle cage removed. You've put some electrical tape on your seatpost to prevent slippage (yes, it’s a thing) and you’re ready to take off. Now let’s talk about riding position when you ride cobbles.

HARDER GEAR, LOWER CADENCE

The last thing you want on slippery cobbles is your body jumping up and down as you pedal. You are unlikely to overtake or sprint on cobbles. What you’re after is stability and momentum. That’s why pro riders opt for bigger chainrings for Spring Classics and use them as often as possible. So gear up!

SPEED UP

As counterintuitive as it seems, higher speed makes riding on cobbled roads safer and more comfortable (except if you crash). By building more horizontal momentum your bike will fly over small dips and go over obstacles way easier.

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STAY RELAXED

At 40+ km/h, riding on wet cobbles is anything but relaxing. So what do we mean by staying relaxed? The trick is to not tense your muscles and joints when you’re getting hit by cobbles. Gain momentum and let your bike float under you. Have you ever watched jockeys during a horse race? Riding on cobbles is very similar. Relax your fingers, elbows, and hips, and let the bike do the hard work.

STEER WITH YOUR WHOLE BODY

It takes one overreaction to cause your front wheel to lose traction on grimy cobbles. Remember, you should let your bike float under you. Instead of arms, try steering your bike gently with your hips and core. Don’t fight your bike when things get dicey. The more you trust your bike and treat it gently, the more forgiving it will be.

LOOK UP

There is a very popular saying among motorbike riders: look where you want to go. Over-focusing on objects and obstacles can lead to overreactions or complete freeze-ups. If you concentrate on every cobble that sticks out, your mental power will be consumed and you will make costly mistakes. Instead, lift your head up and look where you want to go. All the immediate small obstacles will be handled by your bike and muscle memory, keeping your brain calm and focused.

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