Cornering and steering
Break before the corner, not at it.
Cycle slower on a wet road due to
Coefficient of friction
both between your tyres and the wet road but also
the break pads and wheel rims because as explained below the
laws of physics dictate that
you will enjoy less
grip/adhesion/traction on a wet road.
Look ahead as far through the corner
To turn a bicycle, you must lean
inward toward the direction of the turn. The faster you are going, and the
sharper the corner, the more you must lean as decreed by the laws of physics.
You have no choice about this, for a given speed and turn radius, the centre of
gravity of the bike/rider must be moved sideways a particular amount or
the bicycle will continue ahead more than you need it to, whereupon you will
spin away from the corner which is not a nice feeling and
needs to be
avoided at all cost.
The closer your centre of gravity is
to terra firma the better, so drop your hands down into the 'handle bar drops' (if
riding a road bike) and try and get your chest down close to the top bar.
It is your choice whether you lean
your bicycle more than, less than, or the same amount that you lean your body,
to get your centre of gravity. But the sensible method is shown in the LH sketch
Leaning the inside knee into the
corner (similar to a motor bike racer), while keeping the bicycle more
upright, is popular, particular amongst new cyclists who are concerned not
to strike the inside pedal on the road. This enables the bike to
remain 'more upright' and therefore less likely to skid out from under you,
particularly on a wet road. Some cyclists believe that
sticking out their knee or leaning their body into the corner (away from the bike)
improves cornering which may be reassuring. Care that on uneven roads,
it can work against you, as any body weight that is not centred over the
bicycle puts a side load on the bicycle. It may also restrict dropping
your body weight further back on the seat. The more experience at
cornering, the better you become in fine tuning these variables.
Some very experienced cyclists
prefer to lean the upper body and the
bicycle equally. Keeping body and
bicycle on the same angle has the advantage of keeping the steering axis, tyres
and centre of gravity in the same plane. But not recommended for
rookies, particularly on a wet road whereupon diminished
Coefficient of friction.
To avoid the bottom of
your pedal catching the road surface when you are leaning into a sharp corner,
make sure that the -
(i) pedal on the side of
the corner - the inside pedal - is a 12 o'clock (ie. your foot is up high); and
(ii) other peddle
- the outside pedal - is
at 6 o'clock (ie. your foot is down low).
Pushing down on the outside
pedal which is at 6 o'clock will assist your bike hold the corner.
By positioning the outside foot at 6 o'clock
and the inside foot at 12 o'clock and leaning the inside knee in twds
the corner the cyclist is able to hold the bicycle more vertical which
is a comforting feeling. Body weight is low, thereby closer to the
centre of gravity.
Outside foot is at 6 'o'clock and pressing
on the outside pedal which increases torque on the outside of each tyre,
particularly the rear tyre.
Inside foot is at 12 o'clock. Inside knee is leaning into the
corner which enables the rider to keep the bike more vertical to counter
Back is bent down for lower centre of gravity. Hands are not
by Coach Carl
How to Steer and Corner on