Lucy Owen also wanted to know about Bike handling such as cornering & defending. I will do a coaches session in the early season to practically address this area but here are some basic pointers.
Cornering: the secret to cornering comes down to three main areas
1) speed into the corner: if you come into a corner with TOO MUCH speed, then you will struggle to hold a line. Line a car you will under steer and slowly drift outwards due to basic physics. Look to lightly reduce your speed with light feathering of the brakes so you can make small adjustments to your speed as you approach the corner. Not enough speed and even Miss Daisy will corner better than you.
2) line into the corner: if you watch Moto GP, F1 or even Go cart, you will see that their line into a corner is wide. They are looking to smooth the curvature of the line out to make the corner straighter – hence you can carry more speed into the corner. As you approach a corner, check over your shoulder that you are not pulling in front of a car or someone else. Look to steer towards the top of the corner known as the apex and then follow steps 3 & 5. Never peddle into the corner as you increase the risk of your peddle catching the floor.
3) weight placement: as you go into the corner ensure the outer peddle is down. If you have the inside peddle down you increase the risk of clipping this on the floor and you may go down as a result. Press down with as much weight as possible on the outer peddle to transfer your centre of mass to the outside of the bike. If you have this on the inside then you will increase the risk of falling over.
4) body position: stay low to reduce the height of your centre of mass. You will should look around the corner with your eyes and look to apex and then exit point. You are not a Moto GP rider so keep than knee in. A knee out will move the centre of mass inside the body which could be dangerous
5) line out of the corner: as mentioned as you hit the apex you should be looking to your exit point. Smoothing the line out you can judge your speed so you can look now to start to peddle as you’ve exit the corner.
The more you practise the more confident you get.
In the wet you should naturally be more cautious as their will be less grip provided by the road.
Descending: going down hill can be exciting and scary. Carrying too much speed and the thought of not being able to break in time can stop people from gaining time.
1) Resist touching the brakes: Let the bike fly, cover the brakes with your fingers. If you need to brake, then lightly feather the break to reduce speed slowly.
2) sit up: if you are going too quick behind someone’s wheel (slipstream) then pull off to the side from their wheel and sit up. Your body will act as a wind break first.
3) stay low: hold the bars, tuck your elbows in and reduce your frontal cross section aka resistance.
4) look ahead: look down the road as you would driving your car. Spot any potential hazards or causes to break. This will give you more time to react and reduce your speed.
5) cornering at speed: see above
6) learn the course: drive the course, make notes of a sharp corner or decent at a certain distance. You can then prepare ahead in the race so you can pick your line or speed according to the terrain / profile.