Approaching a corner on the cycling route can cause one much anxiety and dread, and being able to perfect good cornering techniques would save a lot of energy and time.
Good cornering techniques enable cyclists to tackle corners safely and at speed, which is highly important for cyclists, particularly during group races.
The flatter the curve, the more quickly you will be able to go around it safely. Use the following tips to help you out:
General cornering tips
: The higher your cycling speed, the further you will have to lean in order to lower your centre of gravity. This helps you maintain your balance and grip while cornering – which is more important than steering your handlebars!
: If you manage to lean well and keep yourself centred over your bike, only minimal braking is required. Apply the brakes smoothly and sparingly to maintain your speed and prevent coming to a stop.
Don’t brake during a turn
: Braking while turning is a rookie mistake. Applying brakes while turning, especially in a leaning position, could cause you to go off-balance. It’s best to slow down before approaching a corner.
Look ahead: Watch how the cyclists ahead of you have pedalled through the corner and adjust your own strategy accordingly. Likewise, look ahead so that you remain aware of the road situation ahead of you. You also naturally pull towards wherever your eyes are focused on.
Cornering in a group
Cycling in a group is already stressful as it is, with cyclists tightly packed in a cluster. Trying to keep ahead while in a group makes tackling a corner efficiently an even more critical skill. Here are some important tips for cornering in a group:
: Take responsibility of your front wheel and refrain from overlapping wheels with other cyclists to prevent accidents from happening. This can be particularly disastrous when in a group!
Don’t “come underneath”: “Coming underneath” occurs when a cyclist passes the whole group on the inside of the corner while going through it. This reflects poor cycling etiquette, as well as poor regard for safety, and may result in an accident. A successful attempt at “coming underneath” may put you in the way of other cyclists, as you are likely to have swung wide through the corner.
Get to the front: When riding in a group, you might notice an accordion effect when the group approaches a corner. This happens when the riders in front reduce their speeds, packing the group even tighter and causing those at the back to slow down even more. By the time the ones in front have cleared the corner and begin to accelerate, the ones at the back will end up with a longer catch-up distance.
Hence, with the accordion effect, riders at the back are pushed back further after going through a corner. To avoid this from happening, position yourself in the front section of the group before approaching a bend in order to get further ahead of the group, as well as to see what’s coming up on the road.
Nevertheless, being in front of the group comes with its responsibilities, as you have to keep a lookout on the road ahead and alert the rest of the group of any obstacles or safety hazards.
Keep to speed and ride safely with these cornering tips. Have fun!