Cornering a bike is in theory a fairly simple task, doing it in reality and safely is much a different matter. A lot has to do with what type of bike you ride but in general the more upright and wide your position the easier it is to turn. As an example think about the difference in cornering a standard road bike and a time trial bike. Your body position determines where your weight will be spread. The more your weight is spread out, the easier it is to manipulate thus making balancing easier. Once you can balance your weight throughout the corner you pretty much have it sussed. There are however a few more practical tips you could use.
Depending on where you are will dictate how you approach a corner. In all instances it is important to know where the corner leads and what obstacles might be in your way especially if you are on the road. So keep your head up and eyes forward keep looking ahead and towards the exit of the corner. You should aim to enter the corner as wide as possible depending on traffic. If you go in to tight you run the risk of over steering and running off the road.
Throughout the turn you should keep your hands as wide as possible and covering the brakes. This makes it easier to balance the bike and turn. You will be able to manipulate your weight better on the bike thus meaning you can control your lean more. If you are riding a time trial bike you may want to come up off of the aero bars for tight corners. The most important thing is to remain relaxed. If you tense up you won’t be able to move your weight around freely. This could then cause you to overrun the corner.
It is very important to adjust your speed before the corner. If you try to apply your brakes during the corner you run the risk of losing control. If you must apply the brakes use the rear only. Once you reach the corner you should stop pedalling. Get your weight on the outside pedal so you inside pedal is upright. This will reduce the risk of the pedal making contact with the floor and also gives you more control.
At the corner you should start to lean your bike into the inside of the corner. For beginners this can be quite daunting but practice makes perfect! Depending on where you are you should aim for the apex of the corner, or the most inside and middle part of the corner. This is not only the quickest route through a corner but means you have the most room to adjust should you have entered the corner too fast. You should then aim to exit the corner wide, much like how you entered.
We should all know how to signal that you are going around a corner, for example at a junction on the road. It is simply holding your arm out in the direction you are about to corner or turn in. You need to be aware of your surroundings so look behind you before signalling. Ensure you leave yourself enough time to do look and signal before making the turn. You might also want to take a quick glance just before beginning to turn to make sure you aren’t being passed by a motorist, something that happens to me on a weekly basis.
Cornering can be more difficult in a group. Just remember the correct techniques and focus on what you are doing, don’t worry about others. And when riding in a group you can use hand signals to advise the other riders of the route you are taking and if all else fails you can always shout warnings. Any sort of communication is better than no communication.