Corner smoother and safer by making the right move at the right time
Author of Pass the Bike Test (And be a great rider too!) available on Amazon Find a quiet country road with a bend in it. A 45mph, 90-degree turn is ideal – it keeps things simple. Now find safe places to U-turn, so you can go round the corner several times. Warm yourself up with a couple of passes, and then notice how you’re getting round.
Let’s say it’s a left-hander (see graphic, point 1). As you approach, the vanishing point (the furthest point on the road that you can see, where the two kerbs meet) will be fairly static. That tells you it’s a fairly tight corner. And as it’s a left-hander, you will probably be making your approach on the right side of your lane, near the central white lines, so that you can get a better view.
There will come a point in your approach where you begin changing direction – in other words, to choose a turning-in point. Notice where that spot is, and next time try turning in before that. It’s important that you aren’t going very quickly here, because you will rapidly notice that an early turn-in throws you wide as you get further round the corner. If you were going quickly, you would drift into the path of oncoming traffic, but as you’re pottering you can just steer a bit more and sort yourself out. The same thing happens on righthanders, except that you generally ride into the ditch, rather than a coachload of nuns.
Now try the opposite: delay your turn-in as late as you can (point 2 on the graphic). This time it’s almost impossible to run wide. You may even discover that you have taken a safer, more controlled line than the first one, because you are gathering more information about the corner before you commit to getting round it.
Try delaying your turn-in on a few more corners. It’s really hard to crash, isn’t it? Almost all the people who bale out on a bend on a country road turn in too early. They might be tired, or riding beyond their ability, or carried away riding in a group. But their actual mistake is not paying attention to the turn-in point.
2. Practise turning in and notice how it effects your corner exit. A later turn-in means you are less likely to run wide 1. Approach a quiet left-hander at slow speed and near to the central white line