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Cycle Oregon Tips: Corners/Descents


Going around a nice, gentle bend is easy, you really don’t need to think about it. But when you’re in a large group ride, you have a little more to consider. Add to that multiple days of riding, fatigued legs and perhaps a steep descent, and you could have a recipe for destruction.

If you’re riding in a multi-day ride like Cycle Oregon, being well prepped for these simple scenarios will go a long way.

So we thought we’d cover some top tips for two topics that often aren’t as straightforward as one might think: Corners and Descents.

How to Ride Through Corners

Whether you’re turning sharply on a flat road or making a swooping arc on a steep descent, here are the best ways to approach a corner:

  • Look ahead – always know what’s coming.
  • Slow down before the bend, then release your brakes to a comfortable level at the apex of the curve.
  • Watch for the riders around you – if you don’t know their riding style intimately well, don’t assume you know how they’ll handle the corner. Give plenty of space.
  • Lower your opposite pedal straight to the ground and push down for maximum stability. If you are turning toward the left, your right leg should be down.
  • Shift your weight slightly to the outside. If you’re turning toward the left, move your butt cheeks slightly off the saddle and to the right to maintain a rigid line of stability. Do so only as much as feels comfortable.
  • Never lean more or go faster than your comfort level. Being in control of the bike is always your number one priority.

How to Ride Fast Descents

Fast descents can be a thrilling way to experience a ride, but the increased speed means an increased risk of damage if you crash. Chances are you’ve worked hard to earn that descent, and we want you to enjoy it.

  • Always ride at a speed that’s comfortable for you. Being in control of your bike is always your number one priority.
  • Pass others with caution. Give wide berth. While it’s nice to ring a bell, sometimes making your presence known with bold words can be startling to someone who is nervously deep in concentration on a steep descent. Use a gentle alert such as a bell or words spoken loudly far in advance “Coming up on your left.” Never pass on the right.
  • Be mindful of wind gusts, they can be brutal on a descent. Lean into the gust for the best resistance.
  • Use your front break sparingly – you definitely don’t want to pitch forward on a descent. If you hit a bump your hand could accidentally grip harder, so be mindful of that.
  • Check your hands periodically. It’s not uncommon for hands to start to go numb on a multi-mile whizzing descent. When it’s time to grab your brakes, you need to know that your hands will have all the dexterity you need. Periodically roll your shoulders, wiggle your fingers and move your hands as much as you feel comfortable doing.
  • Loosen up on those brakes as much as you feel comfortable doing. You’re probably more stable than you realize.
  • Pull your legs together, knees in. This will give you a better center of gravity and prevent any sort of speed wobble.
  • You earned this descent – enjoy it!

We’re running a series of Cycle Oregon Training Tips all season long. Cycle Oregon’s week-long ride is September 12-19 and the weekend ride is July 10-12. Sign up today at CycleOregon.com.

Read more tips on preparing for a multi-day ride here >>

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