New rider: corner with confidence, part one

Published: 17 December 2009

Cornering with confidence is one of the great joys of riding a bike.

Setting yourself up for the bend, picking your moment to lean the bike into the turn, then powering out smoothly and progressively elevates riding to an art, but there’s good science behind it too.

We’ll look at cornering in the five sections that the Institute of Advanced Motorists breaks the physics down into: Information; Position: Speed: Gears; Accelelerate in their new book, “How To Be A Better Rider, the essential guide”.
 
STAGE ONE

Information: It’s all about observing what’s around you and using those all important visual cues to create a perfect plan to tackle the corner ahead.

The most important is the angle of the bend and you can read that by monitoring the vanishing point or “vision limit” in IAM-speak.

This is where the two sides of the road appear to meet, and if it is moving towards you, the bend is tightening up and you may need to slow down.

If it’s moving away from you then the road is opening up and you may be able to increase your speed.

You can get more advanced notice of the limit point by noting how the line of lampposts or trees curve away over the top of the roadside hedges or walls.

Other information you need to soak up is the condition of the road surface ahead, any potholes, manhole covers or lines of slippery mastic on your line?

Is there a car nosing out of a junction ahead? Are schoolkids running about? Feed these into the mix and you’ll be ready to move to stage two 

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