Friday, March 10th, 2017
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just coming to the bike, good technique makes bike events so much safer and less stressful.
In this Cycling Fundamentals post, we focus on getting through the bends….
Heading into the cycling season after the winter training, it can sometimes be a shock to the system when you find yourself in a big group of riders.
Different colours, sounds, unfamiliar roads. It can all be a bit of an assault to the senses and it’s at times like this that proper technique will really pay dividends.
Being comfortable riding your bike through the corners will help make you relax, expend less energy and enjoy the experience. You’ll also be better placed to make adjustments to take account of other riders’ movements in the group.
In any sport or pastime from golf to guitar playing, work on the fundamentals will pay off in the long run and cycling is no exception.
Look for and avoid gravel or lose chippings that could cause you to slip. After you know what the riding conditions are in a particular corner, you can slowly increase your speed each time.
If it’s a fast and challenging corner, make sure your weight is distributed properly and you have full control of the bike by putting your hands on the handlebar drops so you can apply the right amount of force on the brake lever.
Do all your braking before the turn. Three-time world motor racing champion Jackie Stewart says that the key to good cornering is in the braking and the principal applies to bike riding, too.
As you brake most of the weight is focused on the front of the bike so it makes sense you’ll apply more force on the front brake lever but the back brake is key, too, so don’t neglect it.
Release the brakes and start the turn by leaning the bike.
As you lean into the corner lift the inside foot so that it doesn’t strike the ground on the turn
Look in the direction you want to go. Your bike will follow where your eyes are looking so look at the exit of the corner
As you come out of the turn, gradually straighten the bike until it’s upright, then start to pedal again.
Painted lines, manhole covers and oily pavement become slippery in wet conditions. Wet roads exaggerate everything you do: Braking while the bike is leaning will cause you to skid more easily, and sudden turning can make your wheels slip. So slow down.
The key is that all movements should be smooth and natural. And make sure you are within your personal ‘envelope’. Don’t push too hard, too soon.
The right technique will become second nature in time but don’t rush it.