TBT: Teaching off the Bike, Part 4: Dismounting Occasionally

Welcome to TBT: Throwback Thursday, where we bring you educational content from our archives. This is a five-part series on teaching off the bike, originally posted in 2011, newly updated.

You learned how to coach an entire class off the bike in parts 1–3. This article will provide tips on getting off the bike occasionally during a class and offer the when, why, how, and how often to get off the bike to correct form, offer encouragement, or to coach intervals. It also covers what not to do when getting off the bike.

Please leave your comments below with your experience of teaching off the bike occasionally.


  1. That’s some good coaching Shirin!

  2. I love that comment – “instructor’s throne”!

    You hit the nail on the head about listening to breathing and matching it with the number on the HR monitor. I will go into that a little more deeply in a future article.

    You have very lucky students, Shirin!

  3. Thanks Jennifer for bringing attention to this important coaching skill. Yes, teaching off the bike is an amazing tool.
    I come off the bike not only when something needs “immediate” attention, but also to get a feel for the group ride. I have a very strong bond with my riders so they know if I approach them it is not to make them feel negative about their ride, rather, it’s to give recommendations to make their ride even more successful.
    As their coach, I learn a lot by just going over and listening (and watching) to the way they breathe (or sweat). It tells me a lot about their effort level and whether or not it matches the work.
    I learn about my riders, and can catch things I would not observe from the “instructor’s throne!!”! A golden example is just from yesterday. I stayed with a rider after the class was over, because her heart rate and her breathing just did not make sense with the effort level throughout the ride. I guided her on a solo ride through another 15 minutes of target training to understand what was going on. Based on what I was observing, I asked her if she was ever diagnosed with “exercise induced asthma”. She stopped! and told me that yes, she was diagnosed 15 years ago, but had completely forgotten (she is making a come-back to fitness).We talked about, and mapped out a training guide based on PRE instead of her HR. How would I have ever known that, how would I have been able to help, if I had not walked off my mighty bike and “listened” to her as she rode????
    Yes, teaching off the bike is an amazing tool, at least for me!

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