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How to Descend during a Bike Race

Learn how to descend during a bike race from racer Alexander Barouh in this Howcast road cycling video.


Descending is also a really important skill to learn in competitive cycling. It makes a lot of people nervous. As you get more comfortable descending you're going to find that you can descend as quick as possible and very safely as well.

Proper form for descending is tucking yourself into the smallest possible position. You want to make yourself as aerodynamic as possible. There's two ways of doing that. Either sitting on the saddle and putting your chest and chin as close to the bars as possible without hitting them. Or secondly, which is even more aerodynamic, is resting on your top tube. You want to position your feet in a three, nine o'clock position, which is the most aerodynamic, and you want to hold a very steady position. You don't want to be gripping the bars. You want to keep your body very loose. You want your legs to act as shock absorbers.

Vision is incredibly important in descending. Anticipation is very important in descending. You want to look down the road and imagine what you need to be doing in the next ten seconds.

And this is what it looks like. So the first position, hands in the drops, butt in the saddle, and as close to the stem and bars as possible making your body as small as possible to the wind. The second position, which is even more aerodynamic, is sitting on the top tube and tucking in, and becoming even more aerodynamic. To position your feet you want to position your feet in the three and nine o'clock position, and you always want to be conscious of having your body as loose and comfortable as possible. You do not want to be nervous. You don't want to grip your bars too much. You want to be nice and smooth.

As you're going down the hill you want to deal with the bounces. Deal with any sort of shocks. Don't be rigid and bounce all over the place. You want to be nice and easy.

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