Bike Handling & Cornering
Athletes are always looking to improve race day performances. Bike handling skills are key to how well you can corner, descend, ascend & complete seemingly simple tasks such as taking on fuel whilst not losing too much speed.
For example, cornering safely & quickly takes great skill and improvements come over time with practise. When trying to improve this skill much can be learnt from motor cyclists.
Have you ever found yourself braking into a corner and losing too much speed because you thought it was sharper than it actually was?
If that’s the case then you may want to consider how to go about assessing the severity of corners, because apart from losing too much speed, or not enough, the consequences have the potential to hurt. Braking on a corner is not good practice; you should have assessed the road before you reach the corner and adjusted your speed accordingly.
Advanced motorcyclists use a technique called ‘limit point analysis’ to assess a corner which can also be used by cyclists. The limit point is the farthest point along the road where both sides of the road appear to meet together in a point.
To use this technique, as you approach each corner ask yourself if the limit point is getting closer. If so, it normally indicates the bend is getting tighter and you may need to lose some speed. However, if the limit point begins to move away from you and your view opens up, it indicates the bend is opening up and so the need to slow down lessens.
Tips on improving your cornering performance:
- Enter the corner wide, cut across the apex of the corner and exit it wide. This straightens out the corner as much as possible.
- Keep your hands on the drops or hoods, covering your brakes.
- If required, apply your brakes to adjust speed before entering the corner.
- Adjust your gearing before the corner. Select the appropriate gear which allows you to accelerate out of the corner.
- Keep your inside leg up – knee pointing into corner.
- Put your weight through your outside leg into the pedal.
- Keep your speed constant – do not brake whilst cornering.
- Cross the apex narrowly, ensuring that if you are on open roads you obey the rules of the road. Stay on your side of the road and don’t risk collisions with other vehicles.
- Cycling Cornering Tips Video from British Triathlon.