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Going down long, steep descents at high speeds is one of the most frightening things about cycling for me. Though I love speed, knowing that my wheels are only a centimeter or so in width makes the experience quite unnerving. Next to this, is cornering. But after practicing, I’ve quieted my fear of possibly skidding out onto the pavement.

Learning how to take rightly corners allows you to go through them at higher speeds. Since it can be dangerous practicing the following techniques on open roads, I suggest you find an empty parking lot where you can set up some cones to train with.

Now, there are 3 ways to corner: steering, leaning, and counter-steering. Leaning is the most common method and comprises of both the rider and bike rolling into the turn together. It is best suited for wider roads and terrain where you can see the road ahead of the turn. Counter-steering involves the rider tilting the bike while remaining upright. This allows for the sharpest turns and is best for descents. Steering is where the rider and bike remain straight, turning the handlebars slightly. This method is safer on wet or loose surfaces and permits pedaling when trying to advance in a tight group.

Leaning

One of the most important things to remember when completing any turn is to keep your hands in the drops. If your bike seems to be going out from underneath you, you may be able to use the extra gripping power to correct the situation. When approaching a corner, slow down before the entry. Then enter widely, cutting to the apex of the turn, and exiting on the far side.

For leaning, move back in the saddle and make sure your inside pedal is up, and the outside down. Lock your outside leg and put the majority of your weight on it. This may cause you to rise slightly out of the saddle which is okay. Know that bending your inside leg toward the apex can help shift your weight inside the tire line, increasing the sharpness of the turn.

Counter-steering

Straighten your inside arm and tilt the bike into the turn. The more pressure you apply to the inside hand, the sharper the turn. Remember to always keep your body vertical and that you can rest your inside knee against the top tube to assist the process.

Steering

This method involves doing just the opposite. Straighten your outside arm and shift your butt more to the inside of the saddle.

Besides perfecting each of these techniques, you also need to be aware of other factors before heading into a corner:

• Avoid things like sand and rocks that have made their way onto the road’s shoulder.

• Never look down at the road. Always have your eyes ahead of the turn if possible.

• Surfaces like painted lines and manhole covers become especially slippery when wet. Remember that just like with cars, the roadway is slipperiest right as it starts to rain because of residual grease on the road. As more rain falls, you can gradually decrease your braking distance.
 
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