LeanIn Cornering©

LeanIn Cornering© Concepts

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The objective of LeanIn Cornering©  Concepts is to provide rider training utilizing relevant information, how-to bike handling skills and drills that will make for a better and safer road rider.

Riding drills are a part of our ‘classroom’ for teaching the proper techniques to improve your bike handling abilities as well as riding into a corner and exiting out of a corner with accompanying lectures on techniques.

Rider training is possibly the most valuable aspect of riding, for any type of rider. For beginners and novices to seasoned riders. Our BST© (BrakeSteerTurn©) methods and coaching will help you to gain confidence by attaining more control over your machine.



#ridercoaching #ridertrainng #skillsanddrills

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Riding Skills: Aggregation and Attention

Welcome to another installment of the BST© (BrakeSteerTurn) riding skills series.

It is Paramount and in fact is the key skill to absorbing and processing information. And when you are riding a bike at any sort of moderate to fast speeds we are talking about absorbing and processing within fractions of a second. Given that velocity and stimuli trigger a visceral response, it is imperative that a rider remain deliberate in their focus.

At 16 mph, a rider and bike are covering 24 feet per second. At 22 mph, it is 32 feet per second, at 30 mph it is 44 feet per second AND at 40 mph, a rider and bike are traveling 59 feet per second! That’s like falling six stories in ONE second folks. BAM. You think you can react in time without 100% focus and concentration? It is very doubtful.

Keeping your concentration sharp should entail the Situational Awareness skill of ‘Anticipation’. This anticipating mode of thinking should also be accompanied by ‘Recognition’ and (pro) ‘Reaction’ rather than being an afterthought. It’s a term we at Leanin Cornering have coined; Anticipate, Recognize and React or “ARR

A rider should also be constantly anticipating what’s coming next rather than waiting for something to occur and THEN ‘over’ or ‘under’ reacting. In this state of heightened awareness, things are sometimes perceived almost as occurring in slow motion.

rider focus

A riders attention must be 100% focused on the task at hand. This includes the immediate and future path, not only directly in front of the wheel but the path beyond. The field of vision must extend as far up the road and-or pathway as possible. As well as taking advantage of the 170 degrees of peripheral vision to the left and right. Focusing on the background is more important than fixating on the foreground, but most important a riders eyes should be constantly scanning, never fixed.

Dealing with Distractions
There is a direct connection between the Mind and Body with regard to physical and mental fatigue. Once a riders physical state becomes fatigued, the brain also becomes fatigued, the two cannot be separated. Fatigue is often the main cause of riders lack of concentration, focus, the dropping of the head and consequently their vision. This bad habit can be dangerous and even fatal and it is thee cardinal sin of riding a bicycle. Head up, eyes up, always.

Fatigue and the resulting lapses of concentration along with the inability to focus at the required maximum level has consequences and they are not positive. ‘Spirited’ type riding and-or racing a bicycle is not a social activity folks, it is serious business and requires serious attention. Focus and concentration are a must and need to be continuous for the entire time that the bike is in motion.

Vision and where a rider is looking is obviously a critical part of riding. It enables better reaction time, increased control and helps to avoid panic situations. Good vision technique begets smooth transitions in braking effort, steering, corner entry speed and above all consistency.

Cornering bike handling-

Other aspects to think about are the simple things like breathing and the level of grip on the bars, doing it incorrectly can contribute to rider fatigue as well. So It is crucial to keep these practices in mind and be cognizant of all the ancillary contributors to being an efficient AND safe rider.

The Take Away
Unless you are by riding yourself wandering about, going very slow a riders focus and concentration should be the main thrust. It shouldn’t be worrying about pedal cadence and other inconsequential nonsense. If you are riding in a group, whether it’s 2 or 20 you have a responsibility, not only to yourself but especially to the others around you.

Now because we are all human and flawed it is not always possible to focus and concentrate 100% at every given moment. Therefore it is imperative that a rider refocus their attention often, and more so as the pace increases. Vision, Awareness and Concentration. Make it a priority today and make it a priority always.

He or she who focuses the mostes, will avoid the hocus pocus…
Now get out there and ride!  😉

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Riding Skills: Zen & the Art of becoming… der Rainmeister

The BST© (BrakeSteerTurn) Series presents… Wet Weather riding tips.

Oh rain foretold…so they say. Yup, it’s Spring time and that means we will get the obligatory spring showers. And at some point you will find yourself riding in wet conditions.

Maybe you rolled out and it was just drizzling, maybe the sky was overcast, but it wasn’t raining. Or perhaps you were out and the skies just opened up and down it came. Whichever scenario it might have been…you were probably none too happy about wheeling your machine in hap hazard conditions.


The first thing a rider needs to do when traction becomes limited is to relax and be smooth with their inputs to the bike…being rigid or tense will only exacerbate the problem of the reduced road/tire friction they are facing.

And it’s not only the falling water that potentially reduces traction, but it is also the porous pavement that has soaked up oils which are then brought to the surface when the rain pellets the tarmac. Add to the possibly treacherous conditions, painted lines and the always dreaded manhole covers! Eventually the oils get washed away, but this is just another unknown variable and obstacle in the equation for a rider. Just keep in mind that margins of error become less in the wet.

With less grip available in the ‘traction bank’ the machine is also less forgiving. To that end a rider needs to be mindful and steady with body position, steering input, pedaling stroke and braking applications. Obviously there should be less bike lean when cornering in the wet. Instead leaning the body a bit more while keeping the bike as upright as possible, this will serve to maximize the tires ‘footprint’ on the road. Also brake a bit earlier than normal as well, before corner entry. (especially if you ride on carbon rims- without disc brakes)

proper lean technique

When approaching a corner that requires braking,  squeeze the lever progressively, not abruptly. As we like to say; the method of “stab-and-grab” will surely put you on your ass… But rather progressive braking pressure using BOTH front and rear brakes when its wet will give a rider more grip and less slip potentiality. Generally, a rider should aim for a wider line through a corner, rather a tighter line. This will allow for a bit less lean angle and decrease the chances for ‘washing’ or sliding the front tire out from under the bike.

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One other tip is to lower your tire pressures. Now there is not an across the board psi decrease but in general, 5-10 psi less is a start. It will vary depending on rider weight and tire size. I.E., 23mm wide, 25mm wide 28mm and 32mm and up widths. The wider the tire, the less air pressure you can safely run. And please, if anyone is thinking that there is more rolling resistance… it’s time to check out this new fangled thing called the internet! Where there is a boat load of newer research and PoC about tires, widths and pressures. A good starting point is at Jan Heine’s blog.

Lowering tire pressures will provide a slightly larger contact patch and will also allow the tire to push down into the pavement a bit more, providing more potential grip. As for widths, why anyone would still be on 23mm’s is baffling…but then again most roadies tend to not truly embrace anything that isn’t typically rooted in some archaic narrative…
😀 😀 😀
Here’s your checklist for riding in the rain:
>Lower tire pressures
>Cover the brake levers (two fingers)
>Relax your body
>Be smooth

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In addition to having the necessary skills and certainty to be a safe and efficient rider…you must also have a safe bicycle to ride! Having a machine that is sound and dependable is a crucial component to a riders well-being and confidence.

With the Spring season comes the beginning of an increased amount of riding for most (usually). The last thing you want happening is a mechanical issue or a failure as you’re getting into the riding groove or about to go on that big group ride.

There are two very important, no actually critical aspects of your bike that should always be serviced/maintained. Brakes and Tires.  Now is the time to inspect and or replace those items that stop the bike and keep your butt upright! Pads, rotors and tires are the very foundation of stability and traction.

There are two main types of bike brakes; rim and discs. Within those two main types there are various differences. (see illustration below) But the idea and properties behind each one are relatively the same. In order to work properly, the brake pads and calipers must operate properly and efficiently. This means inspecting the appropriate parts to ensure all is in good working order.


bicycle-brake types

Rather than go over each individual step, I’ll refer you to some videos for that. But I will suggest a few tips and tricks. Even if you’re not comfortable replacing parts, the least you can do is inspect and clean the brakes frequently. There are too many variables to say specifically when to do this, because it is dependent on ride frequency, riding style and climate conditions. Perhaps at the very least, every other ride inspect pads/rims/rotors, calipers and clean the braking tracks on the wheel of rim style brakes. Using either brake cleaner or isopropyl alcohol.


With rim types, check the pads for debris or small metallic slivers stuck in the pads.  Inspect the braking tracks on the rim itself as well. If there any burs on the rim, lightly sand them down after having cleaned them. Also check for any deep grooves and cracks in the surface or on the edges, making sure the surface is relatively in tact.

For disc types, wipe or blow off with air pressure any (dried) muck or mud on and inside the calipers/discs. Inspect the disc for cracks or any unusual surface irregularities. Then clean the disc rotor using a solvent mentioned above. Being careful NOT to touch the disc with your bare hands/fingers. If there is still burnishing or a glaze on the rotor, you can use a very light grit sand paper or even a scotchbrite type pad on the disc to ‘de-glaze’ the rotor if necessary. You can do the same with the pads as long as there is sufficient ‘life’ left in them, usually 2mm-1.5mm of pad thickness. Less than that and it’s time for new pads!


There are several good videos on how to inspect, clean and replace braking parts. I recommend the Park Tool videos and instruction for (both disc and rim type) brakes. While it may seem a bit daunting to some, it’s really not too difficult as a step-by-step process, with only a few tools needed. Allen wrenches, needle nose pliers/pad spreader (for discs), sand paper and a solvent cleaner. (Isopropyl alcohol works fine if you don’t have brake cleaner. If a disc spreader is not in your tool box, a good plastic tire lever works just as well!

Almost as important as the brakes are to the stopping ability of your bike, so too are the tires. The very same frictional contact patch that allows you to peel off into a corner is also the same contact patch that creates the friction necessary to aid in halting the bike. Of course it goes without saying that your tires are the first line of defense or offense  [ depending on how you ride! 😀 ]   in having a good performing and safe bicycle!

Inspecting your tires should be a regular and almost religious practice before and after every single ride. Yes, every single ride. Bicycle tires are very susceptible to cuts and tears that may not first appear from a distance or if they do, seem highly important. And a small nick may not be that bad after all. But, getting up close and personal with your tires is very important.  -Sweet talk them…. gently rub your palms and fingers over their shapely surface, telling them how much you appreciate their hard, tireless work!  Give them a keen longing look… Uh hum, okay let’s not get carried away now!  😀


While you are checking for any irregularities you are also checking for wear. How do know when it’s time to change them? Well if you have cords coming through…it’s way past that time sunshine. If your tires have a ‘tread’ it will be obvious, as the tread wears down, the tire will appear more and more like a slick tire. Some tires have ‘wear indicators’ built in. So, once the indicator becomes nearly even with the surface of the tire, it’s time folks. For slick tires, check for the center of tire becoming less rounded, meaning the profile is flattening out. This will most likely occur on the rear tire first.


Next, check the sidewalls of the tires. Look for cracks and tears or anything that would affect the integrity of the tire. Also, checking the tire bead as you go along. Having tires that are in good condition are paramount to performance AND safety.


Setting aside a short time to inspect, clean and/or replace brakes and tires will yield dividends in your riding season. Not too mention keep you safe as well! If none of this appeals to you or seems too daunting, then by all means take your ride to the local LBS… either way, be mindful as to the importance of good brakes and tires.

Brakes and tires…tires and brakes, it’s a wise rider who has the time to make! 

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Riding Drills: Ridding the Winter Rust…

Welcome to the first article of 2018 in the BrakeSteerTurn (BST© Series)

“Ride safe, ride efficient.   Practice now, practice soon, practice every ride!”
That is our resolute mantra here at LeanIn Cornering…

Our motto of practice your “riding skills” does not refer to the ‘one-legged’ pedal drills, hill repeats or the intervals…  (at least not yet) Save those aerobic training drills for when you unquestionably nail down riding skills.

With Spring riding season only a 2 weeks away, most of are itching to just get on the bike and ride… but, taking an hour or so a week for the first couple of weeks on your own or in a very small group to practice riding drills and get the synapses firing again will pay dividends!

It’s been about 3-4 months since many of us have ridden the road on a consistent basis. Typically this time of year most riders scale back or hit the indoor trainer… This means that our ‘riding skills’ may have slightly diminished (usually only a temporary condition)  But as we get back to outdoor riding on the road, we tend to feel as they say, a bit ‘rusty’ not quite in our ‘groove’ yet.

If you have planned out a ‘route’  why not hit a few parking lots, office building complexes, schools, and parks, etc. Do this either before or at the end of the ride. (preferably prior!) These aforementioned spots are typically the best places to practice riding skills as most lots will have built-in concrete islands, circles, and round-a-bouts for implementing the basic road riding drills.

Practice not only to sharpen the skill-set, but to maintain safe riding habits. Maybe make a game of it, have a bit of fun while improving your skill set! Below are a few tips and drills for improving balance, steering and vision:

Skill Drills

>Slow to moderate-speed riding (ride tight slow circles & figure 8s with your head up and without letting your feet touch the ground inside a painted parking space.  Working towards a tighter and tighter circle)

>Steer to avoid obstacles (place a few small objects on the ground approx., 4′-5′ apart and steer to avoid them. Start out slow and steadily increase your speed- eyes up & forward)

2018-02-21 16.18.33

>Track stands (try to keep your balance for as long as you can- best practiced on
a slight incline)

>Straight-line braking  (smooth, gradual pressure to full on braking, also try “Threshold/Emergency Braking“)

>Braking in a turn (to adjust your line or to potentially avoid objects)

Body Position, Braking & Steering

1. As you approach a turn, get the majority of your braking done before turning in then initiate slight pressure on the bars (countersteering) along with leaning your  body. Tip
in to the corner with the brakes just slightly on and then gradually start trailing the brake(s) off.

2. Before trailing off, you should be keeping slight pressure on the brakes until you are satisfied with entry speed for radius/direction. Then reduce brake lever pressure as you add lean angle.

3. Always add brake pressure AND lean angle in a linear manner and then trail off the brakes smoothly.

This technique ensures a safe entry to a corner and helps to keep the bike stable while opposing forces are at work. Abrupt inputs to the brakes and the bars will usually result in a bad experience! (I.E. loss of traction and/or control, with a resulting crash or perhaps not, if you’re lucky…)

Employ quick definitive steering when confronted with an obstacle. What countersteering does first and foremost is assist in implementing an Avoidance Maneuver technique.
I often hear that countersteering isn’t necessary,  but the mistake or assumption made is that countersteering is only for the competing racer-types, for very aggressive riding or worse, not even needed or relevant →
( 😉  wink, wink ms. Emma…)

But on the contrary, countersteering is very relevant and a key aspect of good, efficient riding skills. Because inevitably, you will at some point encounter a situation that requires you to steer the bike quickly and safely to avoid something. If you think that relying on body steering alone will get the job the done… you may want to think again. Without having this skill become a ‘memory’ type reaction, chances are that you might not be able to take the appropriate action to avoid a potential object. It requires practice to reinforce the inputs and memory action from both brain and muscles.


Always keep the eyes and head up. Eyes continue scanning back and forth,
constantly scanning…background-foreground.

Vision- eyes torwards the exit

Skill Drills

  1. Reactions: Take an athletic stance and with an irregularly-shaped ‘reaction’ type ball, bounce it off a hard surface and try to catch it as the change in speed and direction challenge your visual tracking and hand-eye reaction skills. You can perform this alone or with others.



2. Background-Foreground: Focus on a distant object and quickly as possible adjust your focus to a very close object. Repeat this at a very fast pace for a minute or two at
a time.

So get out there and shake off that winter ‘rust’. Ride safe and have fun! 😀

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Crash Analysis – De Plus at Il Lombardia

LeanIn Cornering takes a look at the recent crash of pro cyclist Laurens De Plus.

In the clip below you will witness the alarming crash of Laurens De Plus during the Giro di Lombardia. As a result of rider error, he winds up as flipping straight over the bike bars and a road barrier then drops 30ft to the ground.  Thank goodness [ or god- depending on your beliefs 😉 ] he was not seriously injured, for it certainly could have been very serious or even fatal.

Now to deconstruct the crash. De Plus’s resulting loss of control actually began many, many meters prior to the actual crash. Even before the rear wheel skids out. The error was most likely committed at the exit of the prior corner. [ Yes, at the exit of the preceding corner ]  Which then put him ‘off line’ for the entry of the following BLIND and slightly decreasing radius – right-hand corner ( even though it appears to be a sweeping type of curve ) in which De Plus visually loses control and then flies over the barrier.

Unfortunately, De Plus made three critical errors that resulted in a terrifying looking crash, that could have had potentially disastrous consequences.

Mistake number one: Improper line in the previous corner, led to being ‘off’ line for the right-hander that was ever so costly for De Plus.
Mistake number two: The offending right-hand corner entry speed was too high for the radii, which typically results in a very wide exit and in this case it did. Also not identifying (or reading) the corner as a slightly decreasing radius. Analysis: Corner entry speed was too fast for the corner’s radius. This is where trail braking or just a slight scrub of the brakes as a rider turns in, comes into play. Critical skill: brake slightly to set corner entry speed for the given radii of a turn.

Remember, the idea is to always set the bike up for the EXIT. Carrying too much entry speed or ‘rushing’ the corner results in a wide exit- and when the corner is decreasing in its geographical nature, managing corner entry speed becomes even more crucial. The key to conquering problem corners is to break them down into individual parts and then assigning a priority and overall progression for each element of the turn.

Mistake number three:
Target Fixation. In a last gasp attempt to get the bike stopped, De Plus locks the rear wheel via braking, which only COMPOUNDS the problem. His vision is LOCKED or fixated on the barrier, he panics and then locks the rear brakes up. ( “it’s all over but the shouting” ) Locking the brakes FORSAKES control. ( say that fast three times! ) Once a rider has locked the bike up under threshold braking, a rider can no longer steer or control the bike.

The take away? It is imperative to be able to ‘read’ a corner or a series of corners at higher speeds. It ALL begins with good Vision/Line of Sight skills. Or as we like to say here… VisionForward. Eyes and head always up towards the exit and on blind corners, towards and past the Vanishing Point. Braking technique and countersteering skills are so very crucial for high-speed cornering, be it flat or downhill. That is why we constantly enforce the idea of practicing these skills on every ride, from the club rider to the pro’s, no one
( including myself ) is immune from making a mistake!

In closing, we are certainly glad that De Plus is relatively okay. For sure he is one lucky lad to be up and about AND still breathing… Hopefully he takes away this hard lesson learned and practices his panic braking, steering and line of sight/vision skills so he may fight and perhaps win another day!

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Riding Skills: Corner… stone

Welcome to another article in the BST© (BrakeSteerTurn) Series.

In this edition, we are going to focus on very aggressive riding and racing techniques, rather than our usual tact of club, avid and casual riding techniques.

If you have been following along with our program, you will already know of the three most key skill sets needed for riding on two wheels:
•Situational Awareness
•Spatial Judgement
•Visual Perception/Vision

So instead of re-hashing the critical elements of implementing each of those core skills, we will focus mainly on fast cornering technique.  One of just many aspects that will separate a good rider from a mediocre rider is being able to ‘Read‘ a corner. What does that mean? Well, each corner will always present a different challenge. Every corner will vary in radius, length and line of sight. So it is imperative that a rider be able to break down a corner in order to take advantage of what a particular corner has to offer.

The objective of getting through any corner, is taking the straightest line possible. The most efficient way through the corner, will usually wind up being the fastest and the most efficient line will have a rider maximizing the radius. Typically, a rider will spend more time in the deceleration mode rather than in the acceleration mode through a corner. So the objective is to either balance that time or reduce the amount of deceleration. Seconds count!  😀

Remember, radius determines speed. What? The more lean angle applied to a bike, the slower the corner speed will be. So maximizing the radii or radius MEANS, minimizing bike lean. Leaning the body along with light counter steering while leaning the bike as little as possible will typically ensure faster overall corner speed.

Reading a corner takes a lot of practice, it takes focus and patience. At speed, especially hard riding or racing a rider has only fractions of seconds to determine what type of corner he or she is approaching. Is it a constant radii? An increasing radii? A decreasing radii corner, a chicane or a hairpin? (this is where vision and spatial judgment are so very critical)

Racing line.svg
In the above Constant Radius single apex corner, of the three lines only two are acceptable for carrying sufficient speed through a corner. The light blue line suggests a wide arc approach also known as ‘squaring off’ a corner. The green line is more of a traditional racing line, which requires a precise entry, but will yield the most speed on corner exit. While the dark blue line is an example of turning in too early, which results in a very wide exit. This will almost always conclude in having to slow down and forsake corner speed in order to stay on the road.  #lostseconds

Along with assessing the geographical layout of a corner, a rider must be able to ‘read’ the entry, the apex and the exit of any specific corner in order to take the most efficient line. Then throw in the condition of the road surface, objects and any potential hazards. Again, all of this must happen and be processed in fractions of seconds. For aggressive, fast riding styles and/or racing 1 or 2 seconds is a luxury, it is an eternity. And it can be the difference between making a corner or not making a corner… #crashboombang

Implementing good cornering technique is vital to fast and safe cornering. Body Position. Vision. Execution. Riding on instinct is hands-down the incorrect and wrong way to ride. As humans, we are wired to ‘listen’ and/or ‘react’ to our fight or flight instincts. Otherwise known as (SRs) Survival Reactions. SRs are a riders WORST enemy. SRs include; Panicking, Tensing up, Target Fixation and using unnecessary Braking . So if riding fast or racing is the goal, then overcoming these SR instincts are absolutely necessary.

Body Position:
Fast riding or racing requires the use of both the upper and lower portions of the body. Counter Steering with the hands, as well as slightly pivoting the upper body and the hips to assist the lean of the bike into a corner. A simple trick I learned many moons ago and now  teach is ‘chin above the wrist’ when cornering. This can also aid a rider in performing any mid-corner corrections if necessary. AND don’t forget, eyes up, Head up- ALWAYS. The number 1 Cardinal Sin of riding… is dropping the head and the eyes.

By keeping the body inline with the bike, it will be necessary to apply more lean in a corner to match the radius, which will result in deceleration. In contrast, leaning the body just slightly more than the bike will keep more of a tire contact patch under the bike and therefore carry more exit speed out of the corner (This is a common and proven practice in mountain biking) Obviously, exhausting the edge grip of a tire will have negative results.

As far being in the ‘drops’ or in the ‘hoods’ it makes absolutely NO difference, it simply comes down to rider preference and choice. You may argue and think otherwise, (CoM, blah, blah blah. Going into the drops does NOT lower CoG. It slightly moves the CoP- Center of Pressure, but it is negligible) but this is one of those ‘narratives’ that has proven to be false. In fact, riding in the hoods will actually give a rider a bit more leverage on the bars, which means less effort to initiate countersteering.

Also key is being relaxed and ‘loose’ on the bike, this will allow a rider to be in sync with the machine as the Applied Forces are acting against both rider and bike. Being tense or stiff in the saddle with too much pressures on the bars will sacrifice control and invite instability. Set your entry speed with light smooth braking, then release as you pick a precise turn-in point. Advanced riding technique can also utilize trail braking, (as we talked about in a previous article) but for initial technique, this method works fine. (see video below)

Steer and lean the body in conjunction and the bike will follow the gyroscopic path of the corner. By using the upper and lower body together a rider will find that the bike steers more easily with less effort and increased stability.


 Notice at 7 seconds in how just a light and short pull on the (left side) brake lever ‘sets’ corner entry speed. This enables bike and rider to maximize mid-corner and exit speed. Also notice that the braking only lasts for 2 seconds. Minimizing ‘deceleration’ is a key component to efficient cornering.

Keeping the FOV (Field of Vision) operating at every second is paramount. Constantly scanning the foreground while intently focusing on the background. Now, some might say this seem counter-intuitive, but it really isn’t. Focusing on the foreground will lessen the amount of time a rider has to act and react to the road and changing conditions. By not focusing on the background, a rider may not see a potential problem before it is too late. Sacrificing just a tenth of a second at speed could be the difference of experiencing a crash or near miss or not. By keeping the vision as far up the road as possible, a rider has more time to act and react to all of the conditions.

The only way to become proficient at fast cornering is to practice it. Believe it or not, the best way isn’t to go out and go fast at first. The best way to implement efficient riding techniques is to steadily progress from slower speeds to faster speeds. Executing the techniques of proper visual skills, body position and situational awareness takes time and patience, as previously stated. Practicing and improving ‘race craft’ with specific riding drills and working on awareness is a learning tool that has no shortcut.

Now get out there and practice… 😉

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Riding Skills: Group Dynamics (utilizing Situational Awareness)

LeanIn Cornering presents another article in the BST© series.

One of the typical common tenets of group rides is relying on others to point out obstacles and inform riders whether the lead rider(s) are slowing or stopping.

Good idea? Perhaps. It depends on the group in question. Who are the riders in the group? Are they well known to each other? Are they consistent week in, week out participants. But most importantly, are they PREDICTABLE? If yes, yes and yes are the answers, then it’s probably a decent method to implement.

BUT…if some or many riders in a specific group are unknown quantities, perhaps only show up once in awhile and are unpredictable. Then follow that pied-piper scenario at your own PERIL…

I have learned many, many things over the course of 25 years of riding on two-wheels. If you can’t lead, then follow, BUT follow your own wheel…not the wheel in front. What this means is, utilize Situational Awareness. Be aware AND stay aware of what is going at every moment on the ride. When I am in a group ( and it’s not too often for some of these reasons) I remain at all times, ever vigilant. On a very recent group ride, with one particular rider highlighted, reminded me  why this issue of awareness is SO important.

When riding, I assess all physical surrounding and immediate conditions; Road conditions, Weather conditions and Speed of the group. Do (all or most of) the riders hold a consistent and safe line? Does their speed ebb and flow too erratically? These are key indicators to observe and then assess.

I am constantly scanning the foreground, but more importantly the background of the road and my entire Field of Vision (FOV). I make sure that I am AWARE of any obstacles, the presence of animals on the side of the road and what the other riders are doing, (or not doing). By the time someone calls out an obstacle, potential hazard or animal I have seen it. Rarely do I miss something. Now this isn’t something of an egotistical statement, this is just part of my riding protocol. Being aware, being present but also focusing on the future. I.E. (the road ahead, the intersection 200 yards up, the driveways, the bends, the blind corners, etc.)

I am in control ( as much I can control a given situation or moment) I am taking responsibility for my own actions and reactions. I do not rely on anyone else to dictate my outcomes (if and when at all possible) Heads up riding or more appropriately, having and utilizing situational awareness is critical to a safe and efficient ride. By implementing these practices (along with the others we have talked about in previous posts) a rider can be ready for most whatever comes at them. If others cannot be relied upon to be predictable, then you must ride predictable and be accountable for  your own actions, at ALL times.

Relying on others to make you aware of what is happening on the road or in a group is executing poor riding practices. Sure, having someone else do the thinking is easy just cruise along on ‘autopilot’… It is a lazy habit and a bad habit at that! 😉
One that could and will eventually cost you. Whether that is in the form of skin, blood, bones or machine. You will pay… 😀  The question is then, can you afford the bill?


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