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Newb here, fearing for my life.

Old 05-08-15, 08:50 AM
  #1  
valleyrider
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Newb here, fearing for my life.

I've been riding bike for about 4 months. I used to think myself a "bike rider" when I had a half mile commute to class in college 2 years ago. But now I am out of college and I have an 8 mile commute, and I ride for fun on weekends. Therefore I now "ride bike." Anyway, I am still learning a lot. The scariest thing I am learning is how to approach pedaling around corners. I clipped my pedal on the pavement once, but I was going pretty slow and turning really sharp.

Anyway, this morning I was biking to work and I approached my "fun decent." This is where I get to pedal as fast as I can and take a nice corner neatly and I feel like such a whiz. Usually I can hold the inside line very easily and pedal as hard as I can while taking this corner, but this morning I was having trouble holding that inside line. In fact, I thought to myself how good it was no cars were approaching, as I realized that I was suddenly on the other side of the road. I initially wrote this off to approaching the corner wrong and just bad technique, so I kept pedaling and fought for the inside corner. Suddenly, my right leg is jarred pretty good, and my back tire is up in the air, and I execute a textbook "drift" around the corner at full speed. My heart skipped 59 beats and then doubled its bpm. But I rode it out. Somehow.

I was confused, because usually I don't need to worry about the pedals clipping the pavement there, I thought about it but I never had a problem. It is also the spot I reach the top speed on my commute, generally 35mph. Well, I checked my computer after I got to work, and found the reason I had trouble keeping that inside line. I was going 45mph. 10mph faster than normal. And there is a nice barbed wire fence for the cow pasture right next to the road at that spot. So I almost died, or at least almost got super-barbed. I be more careful now.

TL;DR- Clipped my pedal on pavement whilst going 45mph, 10mph faster than I usually do in my "fun decent," and almost died.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:09 AM
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I'm a n00b myself, but isn't it standard technique NOT to pedal around corners because it's not safe, as you know by experience? Most cyclists lift up their leg on the inside of the corner when cornering.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:17 AM
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I have knee "sliders" on my leathers for dragging knee in corners at the track when on my motorcycles, but
on my bicycle, the outside pedal is down, the inside pedal is up when going thru corners in a lean....I have no desire to watch the sky and ground swap places.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by marimorimo View Post
I'm a n00b myself, but isn't it standard technique NOT to pedal around corners because it's not safe, as you know by experience? Most cyclists lift up their leg on the inside of the corner when cornering.
You see, this is the stuff I should know. And now I do.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:43 AM
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If you approach a tight corner at max speed for that corner then you should not be able to pedal through it. You will be leaned over very far, with your inside foot up as explained. If you approach that same corner at less than max speed for that corner then you will not be leaned over as far and can pedal through it. Learning where that magic leaning over spot is is just part of the learning curve.
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Old 05-08-15, 09:44 AM
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BTW that scenario is called "pedal strike" if you would like to Google more about it.
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Old 05-08-15, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
BTW that scenario is called "pedal strike" if you would like to Google more about it.
Thanks, shoota! Building my terminology, one word at a time...
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Old 05-08-15, 11:45 AM
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I've lifted the back end off the ground a few times at a much lower speed and quickly learned that bicycles don't handle as well as motorcycles.
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Old 05-08-15, 01:09 PM
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My Fargo can turn a lot more quickly than either my '70 Bonneville or my '81 BMW at similar speeds. Weighing 300 pounds less probably helps.
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Old 05-08-15, 01:15 PM
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you've shown that coasting through high speed corners with the inside pedal up is not intuitive for everyone . i would imagine that most children learn this at an early age, and after crashing a couple of times it becomes habitual. then we forgetaboutit, which may have been the case here. glad you didn't get hurt.
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Old 05-08-15, 01:18 PM
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Yep, inside pedal stays up if you are leaning over quite a bit. If you aren't sure, then just keep that pedal up just in case. Especially on a corner where an accident could send you into oncoming traffic.
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Old 05-08-15, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
If you approach a tight corner at max speed for that corner then you should not be able to pedal through it. You will be leaned over very far, with your inside foot up as explained. If you approach that same corner at less than max speed for that corner then you will not be leaned over as far and can pedal through it. Learning where that magic leaning over spot is is just part of the learning curve.
This is the first thing they teach you at "fixed gear school" (well, maybe the second, after the chant "Can't coast, don't want to").
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Old 05-08-15, 02:02 PM
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You'll hear some people talk about inside pedal up in turns so that you can 'put your weight to the outside." Which in MHO is BS. It's to avoid pedal strike, pure and simple. If you were actually trying to move your center of gravity, you'd want to move it to the inside, so that you could delay the point where lean took you onto your sidewalls.

As far as discovering the limits of your turning capabilities, it's best to learn while you're young and your skin heals more quickly, and also it's best to do when there are NO cars or trucks in the vicinity. Getting flattened hurts worse than losing some skin.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:12 PM
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I thought the OP must be on a fixed gear because I assumed it was intuitive to put your inside pedal up while turning. Apparently not. Anyway, here are some things I tell our Juniors and other new riders about cornering:

Stay loose. Everything that can bend or relax should be bent or relaxed: face, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, waist.
Get in the drops if you have them. Cover your brakes, feather them if necessary, back brake first to scrub speed before the turn.
Get your torso low. Imagine there's a string attaching your belly button to the top tube.
Inside pedal up.
Pick your line if possible: nice arc through the apex.
Look through the turn.
Be smooth.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I thought the OP must be on a fixed gear because I assumed it was intuitive to put your inside pedal up while turning. Apparently not. Anyway, here are some things I tell our Juniors and other new riders about cornering:

Stay loose. Everything that can bend or relax should be bent or relaxed: face, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, waist.
Get in the drops if you have them. Cover your brakes, feather them if necessary, back brake first to scrub speed before the turn.
Get your torso low. Imagine there's a string attaching your belly button to the top tube.
Inside pedal up.
Pick your line if possible: nice arc through the apex.
Look through the turn.
Be smooth.
Very nicely put. Cornering well is a real art.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Very nicely put. Cornering well is a real art.
It really is. Last week we put on a clinic for our new women racers where we spent 90 minutes just on corners.
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Old 05-08-15, 03:28 PM
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SWEEEEEEET!
That sounds crazy-fun, thrilling and adventurous! 10 out of 10 people die so you might as well do it again. And next time try to exceed that 45 mark. Dang, I wish I could experience this.
Originally Posted by valleyrider View Post
Suddenly, my right leg is jarred pretty good, and my back tire is up in the air, and I execute a textbook "drift" around the corner at full speed. My heart skipped 59 beats and then doubled its bpm. But I rode it out... Clipped my pedal on pavement whilst going 45mph... and almost died.
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Old 05-08-15, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Stay loose. Everything that can bend or relax should be bent or relaxed: face, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, waist.
Get in the drops if you have them. Cover your brakes, feather them if necessary, back brake first to scrub speed before the turn.
Get your torso low. Imagine there's a string attaching your belly button to the top tube.
Inside pedal up.
Pick your line if possible: nice arc through the apex.
Look through the turn.
Be smooth.
This is such good info. Cornering (at speed) has always been at the top of my list for "scariest activities on my bike." But I haven't ever really "learned" how, just kinda thought you had to get used to it. I definitely tense up into my corners, but I will now try to do that opposite.

On my way home from work today, I was coming to another turn I never have problems taking, but I froze up because of my morning issue, and ended up not turning sharp enough and went over the side of the path, down a nice embankment, and into a trucking companies parking lot. Again, I rode it out, and I didn't hit any semis, but I am definitely learning some stuff about not dying today.
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Old 05-08-15, 04:25 PM
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Dude. We should ride together. Fun is what it's all about.
Originally Posted by valleyrider View Post
On my way home from work today, I was coming to another turn I never have problems taking, but I froze up because of my morning issue, and ended up not turning sharp enough and went over the side of the path, down a nice embankment, and into a trucking companies parking lot. Again, I rode it out, and I didn't hit any semis, but I am definitely learning some stuff about not dying today.
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Old 05-08-15, 08:16 PM
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Slow down on the turns. Why kill yourself?
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Old 05-08-15, 08:23 PM
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And then you hit the loose gravel in the corner and the fun really starts
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Old 05-08-15, 08:33 PM
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You will quickly learn the limits of leaning in a corner while pedaling. It comes with time. But if there's any doubt your pedal might strike, then keep it up through the turn or at least the steep part. You won't lose speed coasting for a couple seconds.
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