Simple Skills for Faster and Safer Riding
Cornering is one of the most important skills to master on bike. Get it right and you will see your times plummet and your confidence soar. When it is done right you will be able to flow through sweeping descents with out having to scrub your speed or have to pedal hard to catch back up with the pack. Yet it is the often the skill that riders find the hardest to master. This technique sheet is designed to break cornering up into a few keys points to focus on which in turn should make your riding smoother and by default faster.
Break The Corner Down
As you approach a corner think about it in a de-constructed manner focusing on each key part.
Entrance: This is the green line in the diagram. This is the point of no return when entering a corner. Once you pass this point you commit to the corner, follow the points we are about to go over and trust your bike and ability. Remember smooth riding equals faster riding!
Apex: This is the centre of the curve. If you get your cornering right you should pass this in a smooth sweeping arc.
Exit Point: As the name suggests this is where the corner ends and the trail either straightens out or the next corners entrance starts. This is the red line on the diagram.
Control Your Speed!
Don’t slam on the brakes in the corner!!!
This will cause your tires to lock up and loose traction as well as scrubbing your speed undoing all that hard work you have just put in. Instead control your speed before you cross the entrance line. Slowing to a controlled speed will still get you a quicker time than slamming a brake on mid way through a corner and is a lot safer. Once you cross that entrance line you do not want to be adjusting your speed, just maintaining it, until you exit the corner.
As soon as you cross the Entrance line look at your exit point.
To start with over exaggerate this movement and before you know it the move becomes second nature. Throughout the corner focus on that exit point, your bike will go in the direction your looking. On the photo this is represented with the blue arrow.
Before crossing the entrance line you should be in the attack position with level pedals (if you are unsure what this is don't worry we will cover this in future blog posts). This will keep both tyres gripping the road surface and give you clearance when going round the corner. If you are handling the corner at speed you can drop your outside foot in order get your bike lower whilst maintaining traction.
If you feel the bike is running away with you, once you cross the exit line this is where you should brake to reduce speed. For the more confident rider try getting out of the saddle and putting a short sprint in once you cross the exit line, this is a great way to open up the gap if your in a race situation or out on a group ride and want to put the hurt on that riding buddy who always seems to have far too much energy at the end of the ride.