Cornering tips for road bike riders (especially women)
It’s been a while since I’ve written an article about tips and while I’m certainly not an expert in riding skills I’ve learnt a lot in the past three and a half years that I feel I’m qualified to share.
My own first lessons on fundamentals like cornering came from my very patient partner Phillip. This was followed by lots of tips from more experienced riders on the LACC bunch rides around Sydney Olympic Park. Some of them were a little patronising but most were very welcome.
I also learnt a lot when I attended a bike skills workshop last year and have tried to put the skills I learned into practice. That said, I’m still not great at cornering. I brake more than I should and go slower than I potentially could because I’m scared of crashing.
Women are generally more cautious than men when it comes to anything that involves physical activity and we need lots of a encouragement before we become proficient at something.
So here’s my tips learnt from various people and a bit of research.
- Look ahead to where you want to go rather than at the road or the bike immediately in front of you. You will automatically head in the direction where you are looking.
- Wash off speed before the corner by braking lightly with both brakes (this is called feathering) and don’t brake while you are going around the actual corner.
- Slow down around corners when the road is wet or there is debris like leaves or gravel. It is also important not to turn on any white road markings particularly when it’s wet because they become very slippery.
- As you approach the corner your inside pedal should be up and your outside one down. You should also put your weight on your outside foot which is down.
- Lean the bike over rather than yourself. The centrifugal force will ensure that you won’t fall off.
- For the ultimate in fast cornering you should put you hands down on the drops of you handlebars.
- Approach the corner wide, cut the apex and finish wide making sure you don’t cross onto the other side of the road if the road is open to traffic. My friend Greg refers to this as straightening out the corner.
- Accelerate out of the corner and if necessary stand up on the pedals to get maximum power.
- Practice on your own over and over again until you feel comfortable.
- Watch the professional riders on TV or better still live and see how they tackle corners.
I now need to read my own tips and put them into practice. It takes years to master these fundamentals so don’t be too hard on yourself if you suffer from the same issues I do. Happy riding.