Cornering is a critical skill in road cycling. It requires balance, control, and precision to navigate a turn successfully. When done correctly, it can improve your speed and efficiency while also reducing the risk of crashes. For amateurs, it can make a huge difference in being able to keep up on the group ride and those faster pace rides too. Here are some tips on how to improve your road cycling cornering technique.
The key to cornering is to look ahead to where you want to go, not at your front wheel. Your bike will naturally follow your line of sight, so it’s essential to focus on the exit of the turn. Look beyond the turn and try to anticipate any obstacles or changes in the road surface.
Approach the turn at the right speed
Before entering a corner, you need to adjust your speed to ensure that you can make it through safely. The optimal speed will depend on various factors, such as the radius of the turn, road conditions, and your level of skill. If you’re unsure of the appropriate speed, it’s better to err on the side of caution and slow down.
Position yourself correctly
As you approach the turn, position yourself on the outside of the lane. This will give you a better line of sight and allow you to take a smoother, wider arc through the turn. As you enter the turn, lean your body and bike slightly to the inside while keeping your outside foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Brake before the turn
Ideally, you want to reduce your speed before you enter the turn, not while you’re in it. Braking while cornering can cause your bike to skid or lose traction, which can lead to a crash. Instead, apply the brakes early and smoothly to reduce your speed before entering the turn.
Maintain a consistent line
Once you’re in the turn, try to maintain a consistent line. Don’t make sudden adjustments to your position or speed, as this can upset your balance and make it harder to control your bike. Focus on maintaining a smooth, fluid motion through the turn.
Lean into the turn
Leaning into the turn is a crucial part of cornering. As you enter the turn, lean your body and bike into it, shifting your weight to the inside. This will help to maintain traction on your tires and keep you stable. The amount of lean will depend on the speed and radius of the turn, as well as your level of skill.
Accelerate out of the turn
As you exit the turn, start to accelerate smoothly to regain your speed. Be careful not to accelerate too aggressively, as this can cause your rear tire to lose traction. Instead, build up your speed gradually as you exit the turn and return to your normal riding position.
Practice, practice, practice
Cornering is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Find a safe, quiet road or parking lot where you can practice your technique without traffic or distractions. Start by taking turns at a slow speed and gradually increase your speed as you gain confidence. Focus on the fundamentals, such as looking ahead, positioning yourself correctly, and leaning into the turn.
Improving your road cycling cornering technique requires a combination of skill, practice, and confidence. By focusing on the fundamentals, such as looking ahead, positioning yourself correctly, and leaning into the turn, you can increase your speed, efficiency, and safety on the road. Remember to always prioritize safety over speed and gradually build up your speed as you become more comfortable with your technique.