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Watch Your Line (Second Edition): Techniques to Improve Road Cycling Skills Paperback – June 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 94 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463517629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463517625
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Preface to the First Edition

This book is provided as a collection of recommendations to improve road bike handling skills.  If you are reading this, I thank you for interest and appreciate your desire to improve your cycling skills.
By improving our skills we make cycling more enjoyable, comfortable, and safe.  While this book is generally targeted to the intermediate cyclist, I hope that the principles, techniques, recommendations and drills will resonate with cyclists of all levels.
I believe a smooth cyclist is a more efficient and safer cyclist.  A more efficient cyclist may be able to ride tempo and climb more efficiently, saving valuable energy and time.  A safer cyclist will pose less risk to themselves and other cyclists in a group or fast paceline.  I also believe a smooth cyclist is better received by the non-cycling public, which might possibly reduce motorist-on-cyclist aggression.  By demonstrating smooth, confident, and predictable pace and handling, we show other cyclists, motorists, and creatures that we belong sharing the road.
This book consolidates many of the ideas, principles, and observations I have developed over several decades of riding.  By writing down these lessons learned, I hope to provide objective and constructive recommendations for us all to review, contemplate, and implement, at our leisure and convenience.
When I started researching road bike handling skills, many references I found were focused on off-road riding.  I decided to provide some of my lessons-learned for the road cyclist. Most of the points presented in this text were conceived, refined, and tested during solo and group rides.  I rejected and consolidated numerous concepts in an attempt to strengthen the content, and reduce repetition.
I also hope to reach more cyclists through this book, since I unfortunately can not ride with each of you.  I hope you gain a measure of the satisfaction and payback reviewing this text, and applying the principles, that I have had in writing and revising it.  It is my sincere desire that the principles and practices contained here will improve your cycling. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

This book presents a systematic approach to improving road cycling skills, efficiency, and safety.   The author presents the "Four P'sfor PositionPedalPrecisionand Practice to orient, organize, reinforce, and remind the rider of the principles presented.
Position:  Provides an overview of proper fit and positioning on the bicycle.
Pedal :  Provides recommendations for developing and maintaining a smooth and consistent pedal stroke.
Precision:  Discusses issues affecting bicycle control and techniques to reduce rider influence on the bicycle.
Practice:  Provides drills to develop, refine, and maintain road bike handling skills.

More About the Author

Alan Canfield is a licensed professional engineer residing in Panama City, Florida. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri, and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. He is also a certified USA Cycling coach.

Canfield has been a recreational cyclist and amateur racer for twenty years. He provides coaching, bike fit, and dynamic video analysis services to friends and clients. His client base includes road riders, mountain bikers, and triathletes. Canfield uses the Kinovea software suite for dynamic bike fit and spin analysis, both on stationary trainers and open road riding. He is active in local road and mountain bike clubs and attends rides, tours, and races across the southeastern United States.

Customer Reviews

That I want to learn how to do it and will practice for the first time.
Morrie
In summary, this is a good book to read for any beginner through intermediate cyclist.
L. Stephen Fikar
This is a must for beginners and a great reminder for advanced cyclcist.
THERESA BLUME

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Stephen Fikar on August 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
In summary, this is a good book to read for any beginner through intermediate cyclist.

The book is 77 pages long, takes maybe an hour to read, and is broken down into four parts but I really digested it into just two parts:

1) How to achieve a good bike fit without going to a bike fit specialist
2) How to improve your riding efficiency and riding skills

Bike fit -
There are lots of reasons why this is important, primarily for new cyclists who don't necessarily know if their bike is fitted properly to them. Proper bike fit not obvious to a new rider as the whole road cycling experience is pretty intimidating and foreign, including bike fit.

I am happy that half of this book covers all important aspects of how to make sure you have the proper fit on your bike. I really like that the author offers multiple ways to check for the same thing. For example, there are six methods offered on how to adjust saddle height. Some are simpler than others, some are more complex. But the author gives you options so something will make sense for you.

The pictures in this section are very beneficial since the written descriptions are sometimes hard to visualize. Some pictures even have annotations on the picture to add clarity. I wish a few of the pictures could have been a little clearer but they still served their purpose.

Overall, I'd say that 80-90% of the people reading this section can get a good bike fit and save the $100-$200 it might cost to get a professional fit. Another benefit is you will know how to tweak your fit without getting in too much trouble.

Improving your riding efficiency and skills -
The three smaller sections on this general topic all have the same general message on how to improve your riding.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian Keller on November 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book in an effort to improve my riding skills. I hadn't been on a bike in over 30 years and, after buying a used road bike and riding for a few months, I decided I could use a little "coaching." That's when I found Hold Your Line as a Kindle book.

The book is really useful to someone who hasn't ridden in many years and who never really "learned" how to ride other than by just riding. That is most of us, of course.

The book is divided into reasonable sections that are laid out in a very systematic way, which one would expect from an engineer. (The author claims that as his vocation.) You learn about bike fit, position, bike size, methodology for increasing speed, and bike handling skills.

I found great use in some of the drills that Canfield recommends, to build better pedaling skills. The results were an increase in average speed of about one and a half miles per hour, moving up to a B class rider. I've also experienced improved abilities in length of rides.

In short, this book is worth it if you don't have a lot of riding experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book about a year ago and it helped me out a lot in regards to improving basic road bike riding skills. I have been riding for less than two years and this book pointed out a lot of things that most of us would think are common sense but usually overlook or ignore. I would recommend this book to someone who is a beginner. It helps break down some things in the simplest terms and explains the basics of fitting and with this book and a friend you might be able to achieve a proper fit for you.

What I didn't like about this book is that it was too short and I wish it would have covered more topics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Morrie on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With over 25 years of road riding experience I was surprised at how useful the material was for refreshing and reinforcing riding techniques I have learned over the years. May have to apply some of the bike fitting techniques described that I was not aware of for possible improvement. The one training routine in Chapter 5 Practice that especially got my attention is doing a track stand; always wondered how cyclists performed that, could come in handy often. That I want to learn how to do it and will practice for the first time. The next practice the author describes is touching wheels. No thank you Mr. Canfield, I know the consequences too well and will continue just being extra vigilant while in the line to prevent it. Just practicing may result in a pavement bounce, even if gentle, I've had enough of those. :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By THERESA BLUME on November 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a must for beginners and a great reminder for advanced cyclcist. I've been racing for 28 years and still picked up some great tips. Passed the book on to a friend just getting into cycling. All new info to her. She especially like how specifically the book explains "bike fit". She bought her first bike and was set up but didn't understand the reasoning. Now that she does she has changed her bike to be proper fit as she is riding, not just on a bike stand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen J. Hacker on August 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OUTSTANDING book! The "Four Ps", have helped IMMENSELY, immediately from the VERY FIRST WORKOUT, after reading the book! I could go on and on, but just by becoming consciously aware of, for example, "Smooth Circles", "Heel Sweeps", and ESPECIALLY, "Lifts", and "Knee Sweeps", I increased my overall speed for 50 miles by a full MPH on the FIRST workout, and went from taking MULTIPLE BREAKS during those 50 miles, to having to take NO breaks for 50 miles, which means, not only my SPEED went up, but my EFFICIENCY went WAY up. This 1 mph change on the first day, and elimination of need for a rest stop became obviously beneficial in the VERY FIRST MOMENTS OF THE FIRST workout after reading the material in the book. I was "WONDERING" about some of this stuff, and naturally thinking that maybe I should be doing some of these things, but I wasn't sure if it was "right", and then this book provided CONFIRMATION that it was "ok to do it". "Knee Sweeps", providing proper leg alignment for me (because I tend toward bow-legged-ness if not careful - not just in cycling, but also in running), were EXTREMELY HELPFUL, and just by keeping my KNEES INWARD, I was SHOCKED at how explosive my acceleration became, how fast I could go WITHOUT necessarily going down a hill, and just how much tighter and efficient ALL of my movements became and how much more efficient my energy transfer to the pedals became. I found the first chapter on the technical aspects of bike setup less helpful FOR ME, but only because I had already gotten a professional fitting. That information too, is VERY detailed and thorough. MUST READ for any cyclist!
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