Free Speed

Practice these cornering skills to preserve momentum in your next race or sportive.

As you work to pass the other riders or competitors, these manoeuvres can often become tense. Most cyclists slow in the corners, and turns must be taken slowly for safety’s sake. Mistakes occur when corners are not approached in a relaxed state and with a plan.

To get through corners fast and safely, you need to practice these fundamentals.

Work Your Plan

Before you commit to the corner, set the gears in a ratio that will allow you to accelerate fast and easily once you’re through the turn.

Relax

Tap the brakes on the approach, rear brake first, and squeeze enough to slowly decelerate to a safe speed. Release the brakes and enter the corner as wide as possible to increase the efficiency of the curve by reducing its sharpness.

Steer with Your Body

Turn your bike by leaning your body, not by turning the handlebars. How much you lean will depend on the sharpness of the corner. Allow your centre of gravity to guide the bike into the turn as you keep your weight in the middle of the bike. To steer with your body, extend the outside leg and press the pedal for stability and bend the inside leg with the pedal

Sit back on the saddle and lower your upper body and lean your torso outward. Simultaneously press your inside hand into the handle bar. Once you’re in the turn, hold your line and try not to brake.

Shift Your Weight for Control

It’s likely that other racers will be in your vicinity as you turn, so you must approach your turn around them. To take control when you need to slow, move your hips to the outside so that your centre of gravity follows. This will set the bike upright, stop it from cornering and bring your weight back on top. Once your weight is on top, hit the brakes lightly to slow the bike though the curve.

Exit the Curve Fast

To maintain momentum through the curve and make a fast exit, look and plan ahead. Look as far ahead as you can for other riders and obstructions, then take the straightest line possible through the curve. Upon exiting, since you set the gears in a workable ratio before entering the turn, resume pedalling without shifting again to bring your bike upright quickly and accelerate.

Practice

Do a short ride with many turns once a week to refine these skills for handling curves. But keep in mind that, on open roads, you’re sharing space not with fellow racers but with cars!

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