Cornering Like a Pro

Tour de France. Photo ©CorVos 2014

1. Before the corner
If you need to brake do it before the corner, slowing steadily so that you enter the corner with momentum that you can take all the way through and out the other side. Rely on the front brake mostly but use the rear too if you need to slow down in a hurry. Make sure that you’ve changed into the gear that you’ll need to accelerate out of the corner.

2. The racing line
On tight corners use as much of your side of the road as possible to minimise the braking and turning you’ll have to do and maintain speed through the bend. Enter wide and aim for the apex of the corner, and exit wide in order to lengthen the bend. Only do this if you’re 100% sure that it’s safe and don’t cross the centre line into the path of oncoming traffic.

3. In the corner
Stop pedaling as soon as you enter the bend and lean your body and bike to minimise the amount you have to turn the handlebars. Turn the outside pedal to the lowest position and press hard through it with your foot, keeping your inner pedal high so it doesn’t touch the road. Ideally, you won’t brake in the corner, but keep your hands on the levers just in case. Keep your upper body low to add stability and focus to the exit.

4. Out of the corner
The bike will follow your line of sight – if you look to where you think you may crash, you will. Rather look 5- 10m ahead of you to where you want to exit. Exit the corner smoothly, straighten up and tilt the bike upright.Once there’s no danger of grounding a pedal, spin the cranks again and get back into your rhythm. By carrying momentum through the bend, you’ll find this easier than riders who’ve braked in the corner.

5. A bunched corner
When training in a group, either line yourself up completely in front of or behind your riding partners or side-by-side. Don’t let your front wheel partially overlap another rider’s rear wheel (half-wheeling). The rider in front probably isn’t aware of your position and can take you down with even a soft knock against your front wheel.

Adapted from Perfect cornering by Team Raleigh-GAC pro Simon Holt.