7 Tips to Improve Descending On the Bike

The Cycling House shares their tips for descending during a race

flickr/matt m

Leave your competition in the dust and learn how to become more confident at descending with these helpful pointers.

Tip #1: Relax

If you’re nervous, breath deeply and relax the upper body. Keep a firm grip on your bars but don’t squeeze too tight. For the best control on a road bike, descend in the drops of your handlebars. On a tri bike, avoid being down in the aero bars unless on a safe road that you are very familiar with.

Tip #2: Look through the corner

Always look at where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. Practice looking through the corner and farther up the road than you normally do. This will help you commit to the correct line through the corner and give you time to adjust for any unplanned hazards or obstacles.

Related: Cycling Advice for Beginner Triathletes

Tip #3: Brake before the corner

Reduce your speed before you hit the corner, and then let off the brakes going through it. In general, we suggest using a 50/50 front and rear brake ratio. However; on steeper descents or sharper corners you may need to use more front brake as that is where you have the most braking power. If using more front brake, keep your backend stable by shifting your body weight back to the rear wheel.

Tip #4: Outside pedal down

Always have your outside pedal down and that leg fully extended as you go through the corner. Naturally, this will weight that outside pedal (which is a good thing).

Tip #5: Weight the inside handlebar

With your inside hand, add pressure to your inside handlebar as you go through the corner. With practice, you’ll notice that the shift will steer you through the corner.

Tip #6: Hit the apex

Outside, inside, outside. That means when entering a corner, set up to the outside of your lane, then turn inside towards the apex of the corner. Once you’ve passed the apex, drift to the outside of the lane and continue down the descent.

Tip #7: Follow somebody better than you

Descending behind more experienced riders allows you to see the motions from start to finish. Pay special attention to the way they shift their weight throughout the turn and try to mimic it on your own turns.

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