Fast bends lead to faster times when you’re on two wheels
Bike handling skills are often overlooked when it comes to triathlon. So preoccupied are we with our fitness, stamina and strength that the technique of riding a bike is rarely a factor in our thinking.
One of the most important skills to learn on a bike, which will save you valuable seconds as well as keep you safe, is the ability to corner efficiently. The skill of going from the far side of a road, across the apex (the point where you meet the inside for the fastest racing line) of a corner and over to the other side of the road on exiting is a cornerstone of fast bike riding.
Done correctly, good cornering technique means you need to brake less into corners and therefore accelerate less to get back up to speed after the corner, conserving energy for more challenging aspects of the bike course or your run leg.
Follow these tips from Bath Amphibians coach Ben Matthews to develop your cornering technique.
1. In practice you want to be as stable as possible, so whenever you go out on the bike, keep your outside leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke as you turn into a corner.
This will keep the bike balanced as you lean into the corner, helping the tyres bite into the tarmac.
2. Enter a few fourth category bike races. These are the “bottom level” races supported by British Cycling and are held on closed road circuits.
Thrust into the rush of competition you will quickly learn cornering at speed in groups by following the wheel of more experienced riders and trusting their skills on the road. This will be a huge benefit when it comes to triathlon race situations with tight corners and hairpins. It’s a case of going out of your comfort zone and pushing the limits of what you think feels safe.
3. If you’re relatively new to cycling in general, see if you can get access to private lanes or an open space that you
know won’t have traffic on it.
Then, simply practise turning at increasing speed until you develop confidence in your ability and feel ready to try new roads.
4. Lots of people corner while looking down at their front wheel, which means they’re not aware of what’s around
them or what’s coming.
This leads to more accidents. Be sure to keep your eyes at least 10 metres ahead of you for slow corners and even further ahead for fast ones.
Looking to try our your new techniques on a new bike? We tested the BMC TMR01 Ultegra Di2