Club Tool Kit

Choosing and holding your line.
Choosing and holding your line.

This section is designed for getting your beginning racers comfortable with cornering in a group and going through corners at speed safely. This is best taught in a large parking lot where you can set up a course with corners for riders to go through without having to worry about traffic.

Cornering: Part 1

Reminders from Protecting Your Front Wheel Clinic:

  • Protect your front wheel
  • Predictable movements
  • Ride in the drops
  • Heads up and relax
  • Rotating pace lines are good drills for close quarters riding
  • Passive, assertive, and aggressive racing/riding

Not covered in part one:

  • Counter-steering
  • Big lean

Introduction to cornering

  • The suspension on your bicycle
  • Pedaling thru corners, good to cover your brakes
  • Inside foot up/outside foot down
  • "Classic" Outside-Inside-Outside Line
  • Demos:
    • Leaders head onto course and ride two abreast together through corner one (outside-inside-outside)
    • Two times through the corner/ parking lot – 1st time is sloppy (wide, not on a wheel, shouting, braking, playing), 2nd time is perfect.
  • Breakdown what you are looking for in the riders
    • Heads up – look where you want to go
    • Hands In drops, close to your brakes
    • Subtle & predictable movements
    • Increased spatial awareness
      • Looking right does not mean your bike goes right
      • Elbows set the tone
    • Corner a consistent line

Cornering: Part 2

Combine Protecting Front Wheel learning with Cornering Part 1

  • Relaxed
  • Assertive, not aggressive or passive
  • Protect your front wheel

Break down what we are looking for in the riders

  • Heads up - look where you want to go
    • This is key for riders filling in gaps
  • Hands in drops, close to your brakes
    • use what was learned in protect your front wheel
  • Subtle & predictable movements
    • Again, key for riders filling gaps


  • Break into large groups (8-12) with “coaches” or rider leaders evenly distributed among them
  • Warm up with tight rotating paceline. Exchange as soon as the wheel is cleared. Take the best (race) line possible.
  • “One bike length” gaps in rotating paceline - forward line should be filled by the returning line. This helps prepare riders that leave gaps to become more assertive.
  • Briefly mention any good observations and/or encourage the group to do better. Positive feedback should be specific yet to a wider audience (“you look relaxed because you’re smiling and taking a good line through those corners”) while critical feedback should be less specific and not to the whole group (rarely is the whole group that bad).

Cornering Skills Drills

  • Single file/Follow the leader drills:
    • Three “coaches” stand to create human pylons in the ‘outside-inside-outside model whereby the participants pass outside the first coach at the top of the corner, inside the coach at the apex of the corner, and outside the coach on the exit of the corner at the main corner used in the drill.
    • Leaser brings the group through their designated corner in a single file motion with remaining coaches interspersed in group.
    • Focus on speed on the course - regroup when not on course. Riders must be able to corner at speed solo if they are to ever to corner in a group in a race.
    • Coaches should encourage riders that can do this and help those that cannot stay on the wheel. If fitness is the issue, applaud their efforts and encourage them to keep working it. If a rider is struggling because of skills or fear of being too close to riders around them show them that they have an out on the right and the left and show them how to take it if needed.
    • Three (proficient) or four times (not yet proficient) through should be enough for single file.
  • Two abreast cornering skills
    • Start drill riding side by side for repeated laps of our corners, using the outside-inside-outside line introduced in the first drill. The riders will complete the corner side by side, but each lap the coaches will challenge the riders to narrow the gap from wide and easily navigable, to narrower by the end of 6 - 8 laps.
    • Focus on speed on course and allow them to regroup slowly after. Riders must be able to corner comfortable at speed solo if they are to ever to corner in a group in a race!
    • Coaches should encourage riders who can do this and help those who cannot stay on the wheel. Stop the group and help them if needed. Slow the speed if the majority cannot go through a corner at speed.
    • Key talking point: lead rider on the inside dictates the line the pack will probably take
    • Mix up the riders, not just right and left but leaders and followers. Encourage every position and ONE BIG PACK
    • Six to eight laps before moving to three abreast paceline
  • Three abreast cornering skills:
    • Three abreast means the human pylons are moving into new positions. They also have the critical job of providing immediate feedback to the riders
    • Important! Mix up the riders, not just right and left but leaders and followers. Encourage every position and ONE BIG PACK
    • Coach possible feedback – lead rider lays down the line the pack will take; inside rider has control; middle of field riders are at the whim of the inside and lead riders BUT need to continuously assert their position; fill the gaps so that you don’t have to do an interval after the corner; and find a safe “out” if needed.
    • Coach Notes: Similar to two-abreast, focus on proximity and predictability. Speed is NOT the focus, but does change reaction time, comfort level, and maneuverability.
Two Abreast Cornering Drill DiagramThree Abreast Cornering Drill Diagram

End of Clinic:

  • Finish with questions, thank them and remind them to practice.
  • Homework: relaxed and fast cornering with eyes where you want to go.