Turning a bicyle can be scary – especially if you’re trying to maximise speed at the same time. But with proper technique, you can go faster and tilt your bike farther than you think is possible. Alex Stieda, the first North american to wear the yellow jersey, claims he once leaned so far his glove got a burn mark from rubbing against the top of someone’s rear wheel. Here’s what he has to say about changing directions :
« As a pro cylclist, i worked to improve my cornering skills. During a stage of the Tour of Britain, i remmebered threre was a turn 400 meters before the line. I attacked early, railed the corner and opened a gap. I raise my arms in vitctory at the finish, only to be told that this gesture was against the rules. I was relegated at last in the break, but relished the fact that my strategy had worked.
Once you feel the power and control of a properly carved trun, there is nothing better. It takes practise, so be patient. Find an empty parking lot and mark off a corner with water bottles or cones. Here are some techniques that helped me. »
1 Mind the terrain
Look for and avoid sand, rocks or cracks that could cause you to slip. After you know what the riding conditions are in a particular corner, you can slowly increase you speed each time.
2 . Apply pressure
Do all your braking before the trun. Weight distribution is critical ; To keep from sliding out, weight the front wheel by putting your hands in the drops of the handlebar with your elbows bent. Next, exert pressure with your outside hand and foot, creating angulation like you would in a ski turn. Don’t try to pedal in a corner.
3. Lean the marchine
Release thebrakes and start the turn by leaning the bike – not your body- into the turn. This can be accomplished by pushing lightly with you inside hand; some call this counter-steering. If the turn is tight of your speed increases, lean the bike farther in, and vice versa;
4. Aim for the inside
Carve a sooth arc through the apex of the turn : start at teh outside corner, near the center line. Aim toward the inside of the turn, then exit as far to the outide as possible. Do not cross the double yellow line.
5. Keep looking…
in the direction you want to go. This will help you maitain a smooth line.
6. Make your exit
As you come out of the turn, gradually straighten the bike until it’s upright, the start to pedal again.
7. Mind the rain
Painted linele covers and oily pavement become slippery in wet conditions. Wet roads exaggerate everything you do : braking while the bike is leaning will cause you to skid more easil, and sudden turning can make your wheels slip. So slow down.