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Triathlon Transitions: How To Prep The Bike

How To Prep The Bike

Put some thought into your transition

It’s All About Speed

The transition area is a back hole of speed.   It begs you to slow down and take a rest before that nasty long run.  It’s Siren call draws you in to the comfort of a warm towel after a cold swim and invites you to sit down to take off the wetsuit or put on the shoes.

If you want a fast race time, you have to train yourself to ignore the temptation to slow down in transition.   One way to do that is to prep the bike before the race with all your bike gear.

Put It On The Bike

In a previous post, I went on and on about having a clean space next to the bike.  That’s because everything for the bike ride goes ON THE BIKE.


Clip the shoes into the bike and hang the heels with rubber bands on the rear quick release and on the front derailleur.  The down side of this is running barefoot through transition but you’ve probably already been running barefoot from the swim.   The upside to this is that you can run barefoot through transition and avoid your bike cleats slipping on the pavement or concrete.  Here’s a video to help describe how to prep the bike with the shoes:

Helmet, Gloves, Glasses, …

The rest of your gear goes on the bike too.  Hang all of it on the handle bars or aero bars.  Here’s another video:

If you think you might use arm warmers, roll them up so they can easily slide onto your wrist,  then put them on the aero bars.  When you are ready to use them, put them on like a bracelet and unroll them up your arms (one at a time, of course).

For most athletes, the bike computer is already on the bike.  And that’s actually faster than what I do.  I have problems seeing the computer so I wear the computer on my wrist like a watch.  If you’re interested in doing that, here’s a link to another video of a bike computer hack that I made:

push button - play video

Be Careful

With everything hanging on the bike, your transition area should like like this…

keep the mat tidy by hanging all bike related stuff on the bike

Only the absolute essentials should be placed on the transition mat.

You don’t have to do this next step, but I’m a big believer in it.

Put on all your bike equipment after you’ve mounted the bike and are riding down the road.The only thing you put on before mounting the bike is the helmet.

WARNING: This is really dangerous if you haven’t practiced it.  Even if there were no other cars or athletes on the road, you could easily lose your balance trying to put on the gloves at 16+mph.  Add the cars and cyclists to the mix and you’ve got to be steady.

If you practice many times in a safe environment, it will become habit and save you seconds, possibly minutes, in T1.

Put A Little Thought Into Your Transition

The advice here is just suggestion.  Your situation could differ.  For example, you might not need gloves or you might use running shoes and cages on the bike.  Whatever your situation is, analyze the entire process of moving through transition.  If you breakdown the process in this way you will see all the critical points where you could save time.  Then you can decide what is best for your race.

And if speed isn’t your thing,  I hope some of what’s written here will help you realize greater enjoyment from your triathlon experience.

See you at the races.

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