Get better at Turning

posted on July 15th, 2014 in Cycling, Cycling Tips by Stephen

Want to get better at turning? Many people lack confidence which is usually a lack of practice cornering.

Start out on a small 4 corner loop, and gradually build up your confidence of leaning the bike over through the turns. As always you will get better with practice.

-Always try to slow down before getting to the turn, then if possible do NOT brake while you are in the turn. Braking while in the turn maybe sometimes necessary, but should be avoided. If you must brake, try to only feather the rear brake.

-Something to remember is that I rarely ever pedal through a turn. I’ve had close calls, and hopped the rear wheel a time or two. I was lucky, and now, if I think it maybe close I just don’t pedal. Better safe than get run over.

Want MORE practice? Go to the Mountains and climb up a twisty road, then descend down the same road. Start off easy, brake before the turns. Try not to brake in a turn.

Something that helps me is once I brake early for a turn, I will occasionally turn slightly harder than I need to make it through the turn. By doing this, you know you are going to easily make the actual turn, but you get the feel of how tight you can make the turn. This will gradually boost your confidence.

As you keep doing this you will slowly build up more confidence in your bike handling skills.

Another tip is to watch track motorcyclists go through turns, focus on their steering.
Remember, make gradual adjustments and the improvements will come.

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Mt Biking etiquette

posted on August 21st, 2013 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Ride Reports by Stephen

This month I have come across some bad etiquette from other riders. Knowing some of these riders, I know that it probably wasn’t on purpose, and I bet they didn’t realize how this effects other people’s ride.

Broken carbon 2Niner frame

This past weekend for example, a group of my buddies were on a long Mt bike ride. There were about 70 people at the start of this ride. The course was over varying terrain – single-track, fire road, steep uphills, steep downhills and nearly everything else in between. One of our buddies is stronger in leg strength, but is still developing in off-road technical bike handling. So, we would ride awhile, then 1 of us would pause and wait on the other 3 to catch up and re-group.

This helps to make sure that if there is a problem someone is there to help you out. We wanted to make sure no one got a flat, everyone is following the same route and that no one crashed and needs assistance or actual medical help. But, it is also a chance to catch our breathe, talk about Fun sections, any crashes and/or near misses that just happened.

BERMS!

The problem was once we got onto the last 5 miles and less technical section of this course, our buddy proceeded to drop the riders that had just waited on him for the previous 25 miles. Although nothing was said, it was bad etiquette to not wait on us, when we had waited on him and stayed together as a group.

Another time I was riding with a friend on a trail that I had never ridden before. After a few miles, I realized that my front rotor was rubbing – I said ‘hold up for a sec’. I stopped for a second to readjust the front wheel and proceeded, I guess she didn’t hear me, but I figured I would catch up. I went a short distance and came to an intersection. I had no idea which way my friend had gone – so I just stayed there. A couple minutes later my friend showed back up.

Friendly bike rack

When Mt biking, here are some tips to keep everyone together and safe.

1) Always stop at intersections or at least make sure at each intersection that everyone makes the correct turn.

2) If you come to an intersection and don’t know which way to go – just stay there, that is better than getting lost, and people having to search for you.

3) On long uphills and or downhills, occasionally check that the person behind you is ok. Sometimes I just look over my shoulder, sometimes I will stop and regroup to ensure everyone is good.

4) If you encounter other riders stopped on the trail, check to ensure that they don’t need assistance because at some point it will be you that would like someone to check on you.

5) When passing riders going in the opposite direction, it is courteous and safer to mention how many other people are in your group, that way they will know there are more riders up ahead, thus potentially avoiding a head-on collision.

6) I have a bike Bell. Several reasons – it warns bears and horses that a human is near, alert other Mt bikers while going around blind turns, alert other mt bikers that I want to pass, and let other riders know that I’m Freaking Enjoying the Ride!

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Little Moments

posted on August 21st, 2013 in Adventures, Cycling, Cycling Tips by Stephen

I was hanging out with a friend a few weeks ago. He works at a school, and he was talking about something that they were working on teaching the kids about when writing.
You see kids tend to tell sporadic parts of a story, and maybe focus just a little. So, they have been teaching these kids to focus on one single part of a story and describe that part in detail.

I though this was a cool concept. The part that tripped me out though was that my friend had just now started applying that to his own life – but instead of describing things in details, it was more that he was taking the time to notice “the little Moments” that make life so great.

I was floored. You mean you haven’t been doing that already?

For me some of my favorite things were those ‘little moments’ that you couldn’t describe, nor photograph (another of my hobbies). It is the little moments that if you try to explain it to someone, you end up telling them, “I guess you just had to be there”.

Some of my favorite and most memorable are:

Climbing up the 18% grade of Winding Stair in Winter. During Winter, all the leaves are down, so you can see through the trees at the Mountains that you usually can’t see during the summer – it is like a totally different view. A cool aspect of it too me was that a picture will not come out very well b/c you have to look through the trees to actually see the view. You have to be there to appreciate it!

While out on a Winter Bike League ride, it was about 45 degrees out. We stopped at a ‘mid-ride’ store-stop. It started to rain. A guy walks up to the ride leader (we call him Pops and asks “What is the quickest way back to Athens?” Without missing a beat, Pops says “With Us”. You see we were all in it together. There was no rain-check. Pedaled out & you gotta pedal home.

Find those little moments of Life, recognize them when they happen & appreciate them!
Did you make a random stranger smile?
Did you do something just to surprise someone when they didn’t expect it?
Did you make a friends day?

Did you make a quick connection with a random stranger?

I remember once I was driving home along a 4 lane highway. I looked over and saw a little old lady sitting in the back seat looking very melancholy, so I smiled and waved at her. She sat up in her seat and gave me a Big smile as she waved back. It was just a little moment, but I’m not sure who it had a bigger impact on.

Go out and make some memorable “little” moments, you may just find out that they have Great impact on you and even Greater impact on others!

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