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Help! Im a Danger out there(14 posts)

Help! Im a Danger out therehungry
Jan 24, 2004 12:34 PM
I have a predicament: my ability to ride a bike fast far exceeds my bike handling skills, specifically cornering; I get myself in with the fastest people, but I can't corner so hot, which is obviously a bad situation. I'd really appreciate any advice or tips on taking both flat, 90 degree corners and winding descents effectively, so I can avoid hurting others or myself. thanks.
re: Help! Im a Danger out thereCARBON110
Jan 24, 2004 1:23 PM
There are generally two types of cornering. Dry and wet. Dry is when you lean the bike and your body together at angles of approach. Wet is when you lean only the bike. I find leaning the bike is much better most of the time except really fast downhills at 40+mph and some really tight crit corners. Also, make sure you adjust your body and have the correct bike fit. This is enormously important. Keep your hands and elbos somewhat relaxed but not locked or even close.

A trick I have been shown is if someone bumps your arm it shouldnt knock you off your bike or even move you so much depending on how hard the knock is of course. Your arms should be relaxed to the point even when your climbing, cruising, in a pace line etc. You should be able to take a good punch in the arm without moving your bike alot

I often go to empty parking lots and use one arm to corner around the light posts increasing my speed so I can build my confidence in both techniques. Put one hand on your bar and leave the other free. So if your going around a left hand corner just put pressure on the right side of your handle bar ( in the drops ) and FEEL out the corner. Then try both forms of leaning and practice by sprinting into and out of corners in an empty parking lot. It gives you enormous confidence. I do it about 2-3 times a month
Great pointsspluti
Jan 24, 2004 1:35 PM
The operative idea being "practice"!!!
countersteering questionsWoof the dog
Jan 24, 2004 11:21 PM
1. If it's a left hand corner, how would you feel it out by pushing with your right hand? I may be not imagining this correctly, but isn't leaning into the left corner you gotta push down with your left hand and push up with your right basically?

2. Also, wouldn't I be right in saying that the whole point of countersteering is to induce a lean by steering the opposite direction until the moment when you and your bike change the position of center of gravity thus carrying you to the left (in this case)?

3. I can't really imagine how one is still countersteering while already cornering. If anything, the front wheel is in parallel with the frame, centripetal force is pushing you out while tire traction keeps you turning.

4. Is it true that countersteering is used to induce a turn but not to come out of one?

5. I donno about you Carbon110, but around here, parking lots are full of oil puddles.

If anyone would like to address any of the above points and point out whether I am wrong, I'd appreciate it.

Woof the dog.
Need a good place to practice your cornering skills???GeoCyclist
Jan 25, 2004 4:51 AM
I agree with Woof, I don't know of any parking lots where I'd want to practice my cornering skills. Spluti needs to find a good stretch of road with some nice corners and light traffic. I find that having a bit of elevation to climb back up makes for better concentration while practicing; as you have plenty of time to think about how to improve. My favorite place to practice cornering is called Daniwa road; about three kms of twists and turns with 400 metres drop in elevation, mirrors to see around the corners, and very little traffic. Check out my playground!!!
countersteering questionslemonlime
Jan 25, 2004 6:47 PM
"1. If it's a left hand corner, how would you feel it out by pushing with your right hand? I may be not imagining this correctly, but isn't leaning into the left corner you gotta push down with your left hand and push up with your right basically?

2. Also, wouldn't I be right in saying that the whole point of countersteering is to induce a lean by steering the opposite direction until the moment when you and your bike change the position of center of gravity thus carrying you to the left (in this case)?

3. I can't really imagine how one is still countersteering while already cornering. If anything, the front wheel is in parallel with the frame, centripetal force is pushing you out while tire traction keeps you turning.

4. Is it true that countersteering is used to induce a turn but not to come out of one?

5. I donno about you Carbon110, but around here, parking lots are full of oil puddles.

If anyone would like to address any of the above points and point out whether I am wrong, I'd appreciate it.

Woof the dog."

1. Ideally there should be no pushing down. The best leverage will be had pushing forward and pulling back.

2. Yes, you're right. But, you can continue to countersteer to lean further.

3. See 2 above. Once leaned over, you won't countersteer again until you either lean further or it's time to right the bike.

4. No. The fastest way to get out of the lean, such as hitting the second apex of a chicane, it to countersteer in the opposite direction.

I've been riding sport bikes for years on every twisty road I can find, and while I'm not the fastest guy around, nearly everything I've learned about cornering quickly applies to bicycles.

As a general rule, if you have the whole lane, its best to set up on the outside edge from the direction of the turn. So, if the turn is to the left, you set up on the right side of the lane, and vice versa.

Scrub off what speed you want to before you lean over. Once leaned over, touching the brakes normally makes the bike want to stand up.

Hold your turn until you have a straight shot through the apex. This does two things: 1) It enables you to see further through the turn for your safety, and 2) it decreases the time spend at lean; in other words, you'll be able to get upright more quickly and get back on the gas (or pedals) sooner.

While in the turn, try to keep your body in line with the bike. Yes, you want some pressure on the outside, but not so much that that the bike is more upright than your body. Keep in mind that this varies a lot with the surface conditions and your comfort factor in lean. On a good surface where the contact patch (tires to road) is confident, get heeled over, through the turn and upright. Keep your eyes level with the horizon at all times. It's much easier to begin drifiting around the lane, double apexing, etc, with your head tilted from horizontal.

There is lot going on with a turn at speed. The best way to get faster is practice. In time, you will overcome whatever your apprehensions are, and then fall over until you learn the limits. :) Good luck!
countersteering questionsWoof the dog
Jan 25, 2004 11:00 PM
yeah, yeah! thats what I actually should have written - pushin forward/back, that sounds uhm... righter. (point 1).

The biggest problem with turning and speed through the corners is that a lot of times when you ride the course you never ridden, you don't know how fast you can go through the blind turns. You set up to go through it fast, and you end up almost going off the road because the turn just keeps on turning and you run out of room to lean. So things like that cause you to really take all the turns that you can't see clearly slower than you should. Motorcyclists for some reason don't seem to have that problem.

thank you

woof.
re: Help! Im a Danger out therebimini
Jan 25, 2004 5:22 AM
On dry clean pavement try putting all or most of your weight on the outside foot. Lean the bike and your body together in the turn. Look for long fluid motions, not abrupt actions. I also like being down in the drops. Keeps the CG lower. Bleed off speed before you start the turn. Once your in the turn put the power back on and power your way out of the turn.

I like riding on a local MUT which has lots of turns and hills. Allows me to take and keep the bike at the edge of things and work on turns. (Just bleed off some speed before blind corners and around others, you don't want to hurt anyone else or yourself). No cars to worry about and if you do slide down you won't go skidding across the intersection and under a car. I also have a rural route with several large rollers with wide turns at the bottom of hills. I can get up to 45 on these hills and like to take the turns without bleeding off any speed.

In other words find a place to practice in a setting without a lot of cars. (less embarassing when you go down also)
if you're anything like me,Frith
Jan 25, 2004 9:59 AM
It probably isn't your bike handling skills but rather your confidence that keeps you from taking turns well. Gradually I've been teaching myself to lean further and further but I still have the overwhelming feeling that I'm gonna go down if I commit a little bit more (meanwhile I'm pretty sure I could safely commit quite a bit more). Once you have the mechanics of the turn down it all comes down to committing yourself to it and finding that balance point.
Absolutely.........confidence is everythingCARBON110
Jan 25, 2004 12:11 PM
First of all try it out WooF so you can see the point.If you have any questions I will be around. definitely put pressure on the outside foot and use your knee on the inside if you need to counter balance...like if there is cross winds etc.

It is no different then say riding with no hands. Once you do it and practice it all of a sudden your changing and rolling up rain jackets,arm warmers, answering your phone, eating with ease, stretching on the bike, drinking, removing your sun glasses....uphill, downhill, flat in a group or a race.

I can stay in a paceline going 25-35 mph and remove my jacket, wrap it up and return to my drops with ease AFTER practicing it alone. That took me about 2-3 weeks to learn well. Never upsetting the flow and controlling my bike with only my legs. It is the same with cornering. The more you do push yourself in a safe place and get used to it so when your out with the group or friends or racing you already feel confident.

After I was hit by a car I had to relearn everything, especially cornering on descents. Because I was runover while coming around a really wide safe corner with a huge bike lane. So I went to an empty parkinglot ( that DIDNT have oil slicks LOL )at the local University every Sunday and spent 45 minutes making up drills to corner better. Making sure I breathe, relax, and try the two techniques until I had the confidence to go down the 6 mimle decent I was run over on at the same speeds I used to.

The first time I did it my hands shook uncontrollably to the point where I had to slow down on the final corner to 15 mph where before I had been going easily 35+ It took me 4 weeks to conquer my boogie man on that road and it is one of if not my favorite descent

By all means though you are ahead of others who don't even think about practicing it and it is admirable for you to ask others. Good luck!
Absolutely.........confidence is everythingBrokenSpoke
Jan 25, 2004 1:11 PM
An extreme example of waht CARBON110 is advocating would be what a motorycle road racer does while cornering. If you notice, the outside handlebar is being used to initiate, and control, the turn while at the same time downward pressue is exerted to help keep the motorcycle upright and increase the tire contact patch with the road. At the same time the rider counterbalances the bike by dropping a knoee to the pavement.

On a bicycle the motion is the same though less pronounced. Weight the outside pedal, pressure the outside handlebar, get your chest over the inside bar to maintain weighting on the front wheel, and extend the inside knee. Once you get proficient with this motion (it does feel awkward and takes some practice) it will also allow you to sprint out of corners faster by allowing you to get back on the pedals sooner. Reason being that since the bike is more upriget to begin with the pedal clearance to the ground increases sooner allowing a pedal stroke without hitting the pavement.

This is probably a poor description but watch a video of a Pro crit and play it in super slow or frame by frame and you will see what I am speaking of.
Absolutely.........confidence is everythingWoof the dog
Jan 25, 2004 4:28 PM
As far as I know, motorcyclists try to keep their bike as upright as possible. On a motorcycle you can lean further than on a bike where your tires have 45 degrees room, anything past that and you are hitting a guardrail. It doesn't make sense to lean just the bike unless its a shallow corner. At a max lean, you want to be leaning with the bike, not just by yourself... its just not how it works.

Then the knee out thing. I have read that it is useless and that it is better to stick your inside knee to the top tube. There are a few coaches that advocate that technique. It takes practice though, and even more - it takes a lot of confidence IMO. I've been trying it out and it seems to be working at least just as well (and maybe even better). AND you can always say its more aero, lol.

Also, you don't, like, HAVE TO have your outside foot down. Flatpedalin' like on a mtn. bike works too, though it surely takes away a lot of confidence. Example: sometimes, the road turns so fast that you barely have enough time to lean yourself over and put the outside pedal down = essentially you ride through those turns flatpedalin' it. If any of you ride in northern GA, they have some awesome descends there where you pass trucks on the way down, all the while leaning at like 45+ mph. feels great but look out for oil.

Another important thing is to lean toward your bars, arms bent as you enter a corner. It feels a lot more stable, highly recommend it.

woof the dog.
Do it in the dirt...TFerguson
Jan 25, 2004 12:36 PM
Ride the local non-paved bike paths or non-technical double track with some good curves. On dirt, if you go a little past your traction limit, you get a little wheel slide. Scary, but you probably won't go down and if you do, it hurts and costs less. (Pavement isn't very forgiving and if you loose traction and you will most likely go down.) This also teaches you how to balance the front to back traction. If your front wheel looses traction first (really scary), get a little more weight on it. (Lean into the drops or, maybe increase your stem length.) Ideally, they should both let loose at the same time, but I am much more comfortable on a bike (or car) where the back wheel lets loose first. Put on as much tire as your road bike can handle and go out and let it slide around a bit.

TF
I second the dirt thingTNRyder
Jan 25, 2004 2:19 PM
If you have a MTN bike, take it out and ride some twisty singletrack on a regular basis. Somebody described the technique used by motorcycle road racers, and that is a the heart of the technique. You will find that most ppls nerve gives out long before there traction does.