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Struggling with cornering turns

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Struggling with cornering turns

Old 03-14-21, 10:05 AM
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Cassopher
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Struggling with cornering turns

I started riding in 2015 and rode for about 2 years then started riding again last April during the pandemic. I mostly rode indoors on a trainer in 2020 but since January or so most of my rides have been outdoors and I did my second ever group ride since returning to cycling. I rode with a really strong group and we held almost a 22 average over 50+ miles. My problem with riding with this group is cornering, and to be frank Iím just not good at it at this point. Maybe itís being stationary for so long, but I honestly was never really good at it. I always lose contact of the wheel of the guy in front of me because I am being overly cautious. I end up expending a lot of watts trying to make contact after the turn. Needless to say the guys behind me in the group didnít seem too thrilled that they had to burn extra watts catching up to the pack either. I am a strong rider on straightaways and can pedal through and close gaps but I want to conserve my energy and tighten up my turns and not piss off anyone behind me. Any tips for a new group rider?? Should I hold off riding with the group until I get more confident in my turns? I appreciate any input you may share.
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Old 03-14-21, 10:21 AM
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Excellent question. Since it is Pi Day, perhaps you need to tighten up your radius.
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Old 03-14-21, 10:23 AM
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As long as you're not putting your inside pedal down in a turn or hitting the brakes hard mid corner then with a good tire you have a lot more grip than you think especially on dry roads. You might just want to practice on your own on a few turns. Often doing it a bunch on your own is a good way to master it. No pressure. Leaning the bike over is a weird feeling. I think the most dangerous thing about cornering hard is brand new tires and poor road conditions. There can sometimes be a manufacturing residue and the little rubber hairs left behind can cause a loss of traction, but once these wear off there shouldn't really be any real reason to fear leaning the bike over. It's easier said than done though.

If it's a good group of people have a chat with them for any of their own tips as well. But don't avoid the issue otherwise you'll never improve.
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Old 03-14-21, 11:06 AM
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Stop riding with a group. Or ride in the rear. You are not safe.
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Old 03-14-21, 11:37 AM
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I have a similar problem. Best advice is drop your PSI a smidge to give you more confidence, put more weight on outside pedal and inside handlebar, and practice.
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Old 03-14-21, 12:00 PM
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Practice Practice Practice. Find an empty parking lot and mark off your corners with chalk or those little orange sports cones.

Corning is all about leaning your bike and body toward the center of the turn.

Inside leg: It is essential that your inside leg be up. Let your inside knee point toward the exit of the turn.
Outside leg: Use your outside leg to create stability on the bike by thinking about weighting your outside pedal so that you feel some pressure on the in outside pedal.
Bod: Push your butt back in the saddle to weight the rear wheel. I like to put pressure the saddle with my thigh against the direction of the bike lean for a little bit of extra control and stability. Go low over the top tube and lower your center of gravity. Head up and look to the part of the road where you'll exit the turn.
Arms: You can't countersteer a bike exactly same way you can a motercycle, but you can add a little bit of coutersteer to tighten the turn. I usually bend and relax the outside elbow and straighten the inside elbow to push the front wheel toward the outside of the turn. This will cause the bike to lean further and turn tighter, especially useful for mountain switchbacks that keep turning and turning. Like JayKay3000 says you can lean our bike more than you think in good weather and road conditions. Anyway, it's better to slide out in a turn then to fly over the handlebars from hitting a curb or flying off the mountain.

Anyway, this is skill. So practice a lot. I'm sure after the winter months everyone can practice some bike handling skills.
Also, if you aren't confident in your turns try to be near front of the pack because the turning is always much smoother at the front.
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Old 03-14-21, 12:02 PM
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If you are riding in a group that is doing rotations, then you just aren't quite at the experience they are riding at. You need to ask them what they'd like you to do when with them.

I'd find a group that just rides as a group and isn't going for the speed thing. Then once you get some experience and confidence riding close to others, re-join the other group.
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Old 03-14-21, 01:00 PM
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In addition to getting more experience and or asking for advice from the group, I would also investigate alignhment of the wheels. My bike when new would pull slightly to one side so that it felt risky to ride no hands. I eventually tracked down the problem to misaligned wheels. After being corrected it is now possible to ride no hands but the bike now corners very smoothly.
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Old 03-14-21, 01:02 PM
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I used to do a lot of motorcycle riding/racing. And I wanted to get my knee to the ground. (Which I know you don't want to do on a bicycle). How I practiced was I would find a traffic circle and I would go around and around gradually speeding up each turn. And just like that one day my knee touched the ground without thinking about it. What I was doing was building up muscle memory. With cycling it's the same as you need to build up that muscle memory for leaning into corners. You need to go out alone and find some curvy downhill roads and simply practice. Time yourself and learn the best line and you will start speeding up.

Riding in a group does make it more difficult.

When cornering the big thing is you need to look where you are going which is the exit of the turn. It's a easy mistake to hyper focus on the rear tire of the guy in front of you so you don't hit him. But where you look the body follows and not focusing on the bigger picture is going to throw your balance off and you will start needing to hit the brake more as you feel like you are losing control.

There's lots of other things like having your pedals in the right position. 6 o'clock for the outer leg in the turn, and 12 o'clock for the leg on the inside of the turn. Being relaxed especially the upper body as turning at high speed is more about shifting your weight then steering. People who are nervous tend to tighten up and white knuckle it which slows them down. Practicing counter steering can really sharpen up a turn. And lastly keeping your center of gravity low and spread across the bike. One mistake you often see is people sitting up for a turn like on a motorcycle. So keep your hands on the drop bars.

Lastly is how advanced is your group? If your Captain knows there will be a few high speed corners there's nothing wrong with having you drop position to the rear before the corners and then having you catch up and regain position again on the straights.
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Old 03-14-21, 01:12 PM
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In turns, look ahead to where you want to go. Donít look at your wheel or the wheel in front of you.

Edit -oops, guy before me said it.

Last edited by Mojo31; 03-14-21 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 03-14-21, 01:43 PM
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You are riding on gyroscopes.
All input to a gyroscope is output 90 degrees later.
Skill: Push your gyroscopes around.

Philosophy change:
Stop moving yourself around the bike.
Start making the bike move under you.

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Old 03-14-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I have a similar problem. Best advice is drop your PSI a smidge to give you more confidence, put more weight on outside pedal and inside handlebar, and practice.
How can you possibly advise this when you have no idea what the OP's tire size, inflation, and body weight are?
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Old 03-14-21, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
How can you possibly advise this when you have no idea what the OP's tire size, inflation, and body weight are?
Reasonable point. Most newbies over-inflate their tires to the ďmaxĒ printed on the sidewall. So I guessed. I could be wrong...
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Old 03-14-21, 02:16 PM
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I wouldn't spend too much time "looking where you want to go" if you're riding in a group. The way you go around the corner is defined by the group...you don't go where you want to go, you go where they go. You need to know exactly where the rider in front of you is at all times. I was a mentor at the NCNCA Early Bird series here in the Bay Area. We taught new racers to watch the rear end of the rider in front. You can see their rear brake as well, so if they hit the brakes you'll likely see it and be able to react. We also tried to teach them to never hit the brakes in a corner, but you know how that works. If the guy in front of you can go XX mph so can you. Don't be afraid to pedal around corners. Don't be afraid of Bots dots, just ride over them. If you don't want to get gapped off you'll have to do what the guy in front of you is doing. If he's coasting, you coast or soft pedal. If he's pedaling, you have to pedal. Just relax and sit on the wheels. Might be best for you to just hang at the back. If you get gapped, you'll burn a match. After a burning a bunch you'll figure it out. If there's a velodrome near you try that. Riding on the road will never make you nervous again.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:53 AM
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As mentioned, just need more practice. I would focus on holding your line and speed through curves while riding solo, and in groups stay at the back until you are more comfortable holding your line/position in the group.

I had similar experiences when I first started riding, I was an ultra runner before getting on the bike, so brought a good aerobic engine and was able to ride in A+ groups pretty much from the start, but it def took some time to get comfortable with riding safely in a fast group. Staying smooth/predictable and holding your line/position are very important in a fast group.
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Old 03-15-21, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
As mentioned, just need more practice. I would focus on holding your line and speed through curves while riding solo, and in groups stay at the back until you are more comfortable holding your line/position in the group.

I had similar experiences when I first started riding, I was an ultra runner before getting on the bike, so brought a good aerobic engine and was able to ride in A+ groups pretty much from the start, but it def took some time to get comfortable with riding safely in a fast group. Staying smooth/predictable and holding your line/position are very important in a fast group.
Yes thatís exactly where Iím at physically. I also have a running background and almost a year of training inside on a trainer with Sufferfest, zwift, and peloton. I have the aerobic engine and anaerobic power to stay with almost anyone locally and even pull for long stretches if needed but I just have to get more comfortable leaning over in the turns. Iím determined to get better at it and will practice!!
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Old 03-15-21, 09:53 AM
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Also realize that when following someone real close, if your front wheel is three or four inches left or right of the track of the rear wheel in front of you, then you'll have more time and space to slowdown or stop if they suddenly have to slowdown or stop.

That extra 28 inches or more overlap you can now have will be a big help in avoiding a big conclusion to your ride.
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Old 03-15-21, 11:32 AM
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If you look at any Professional race team / Cyclist the majority of them will have their chin up and looking through the turn. They are not looking down at the road, or the other guys rear tire. There might be the one who is.

Pics borrowed from google.





You use your peripheral vision to gauge distance of your teammate. To avoid road hazards etc.
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Old 03-15-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Stop riding with a group. Or ride in the rear. You are not safe.
Well, of course this, thing is ... and I wouldn't now anything about it ... a group that could do 22mph avg for 50 miles. I don't know, don't you think they MUST be rotating riders? Could you just hang off the back of a group like that? Is this even a *cough* real post is what I am getting at. You either can hang with a group like that or you can't. There isn't any 'practicing'. I've been riding (continuously) since 1967 and I can't ride like that. I don't think anyone claiming to have less than 3 years total riding experience has any business being near a peleton. Or maybe they should look at some YouTube videos of what can happen when things go sideways because someone isn't having the best day ever ...
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Old 03-15-21, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Well, of course this, thing is ... and I wouldn't now anything about it ... a group that could do 22mph avg for 50 miles. I don't know, don't you think they MUST be rotating riders? Could you just hang off the back of a group like that? Is this even a *cough* real post is what I am getting at. You either can hang with a group like that or you can't. There isn't any 'practicing'. I've been riding (continuously) since 1967 and I can't ride like that. I don't think anyone claiming to have less than 3 years total riding experience has any business being near a peleton. Or maybe they should look at some YouTube videos of what can happen when things go sideways because someone isn't having the best day ever ...
Young person who is already an athlete in another sport?
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Old 03-15-21, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Well, of course this, thing is ... and I wouldn't now anything about it ... a group that could do 22mph avg for 50 miles. I don't know, don't you think they MUST be rotating riders? Could you just hang off the back of a group like that? Is this even a *cough* real post is what I am getting at. You either can hang with a group like that or you can't. There isn't any 'practicing'. I've been riding (continuously) since 1967 and I can't ride like that. I don't think anyone claiming to have less than 3 years total riding experience has any business being near a peleton. Or maybe they should look at some YouTube videos of what can happen when things go sideways because someone isn't having the best day ever ...
Not sure what you mean by ďreal postĒ. I did a 41 miler solo effort 8 days ago with a 21 average. Speed and endurance wise I can hang with anyone in my area but I am just still uncomfortable with the handling of my bike and leaning into turns. Yes I was a runner previously so I do have a good deal of fitness ability. I was just hopping onto a group ride for the social aspect but like I admitted I still have a lot to learn and will ďpractice ď accordingly to get better at the skills that I lack.
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Old 03-15-21, 02:59 PM
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You're faster than I am. Maybe I should join your group.
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Old 03-17-21, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Well, of course this, thing is ... and I wouldn't now anything about it ... a group that could do 22mph avg for 50 miles. I don't know, don't you think they MUST be rotating riders? Could you just hang off the back of a group like that? Is this even a *cough* real post is what I am getting at. You either can hang with a group like that or you can't. There isn't any 'practicing'. I've been riding (continuously) since 1967 and I can't ride like that. I don't think anyone claiming to have less than 3 years total riding experience has any business being near a peleton. Or maybe they should look at some YouTube videos of what can happen when things go sideways because someone isn't having the best day ever ...
​​​​​ Sure, you take someone who's already pretty highly conditioned, and stick them on Zwift, where they learn how to climb and sprint, and really put the power down, but they don't develop any bike handling skills because they haven't spent much time on the bike under actual conditions. Some people pick it up faster than others, but riding in a tight, fast group is really doing it the hard way.

Last edited by Ironfish653; 03-18-21 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 03-17-21, 05:33 AM
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Stay out of groups until you master corners and are more comfortable. There is something called the "racer's line" that you should learn about. It is the fastest and safest way through a corner. Example: if you are approaching a right hand corner, approach it at the left side of the lane/road you are on. Then come down on the apex of the curve and look ahead to the left most lane/road as you hit the apex. This will "flatten" the curve. You will lean less and lose less speed through the corner. This is sometimes called "outside-inside-outside." I learned about the racer's line way back in the day when I taught motorcycle safety for the MSF in CT. The dynamics are different between motorcycle and bicycle but the line itself is the same. Be aware that this works best in a group that understands the concept. If you do this with someone who does not understand you may find them coming "under" you in a corner. For this reason I do not like riding in recreational groups. In any event, it is a good skill to have.

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Old 03-17-21, 11:49 AM
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Lots of good advice already in this thread. Lots of people I've ridden with don't realize this is a skill and something they need to get better at, so you're already ahead of the game.

This is something you can learn quickly, just do some solo practice. To bolster some of the points above:
1. Drop and weight the outside pedal. Keep your center of gravity low through a corner.
2. Lean the bike, not your body. Learn "bike/body separation". Keep your body slightly more upright than the bike.
3. Brake before a corner and accelerate exiting the corner. DO NOT brake in a corner, instead hit the corner at the right speed to take you through it.
4. Look ahead of you to where you want to go, don't focus on the road right in front of your wheels. Keep your head up.
5. If possible, consider taking up mountain biking. Singletrack will teach you how to corner.
6. Learn to ride the "racing line": the fastest, widest radiused line that clips the apex.
7. After you've practiced and mastered all of the above, consider trying different tires. Some tires just corner better.
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