Of all the riding skills, cornering might be the most complex. When done well, cornering combines myriad variables subconsciously. We can all get there, but it takes practice, and while we’re learning most of us need simple, actionable advice to guide our practice.
I’ve been a “mountain biker” for 30 years, and I’ve done mountain biking for a living for 18 years. In that time I’ve experimented and researched and experimented and thought — and obsessed — and taught and examined and re-examined and taught then revisited everything. This has led to a continual improvement in my thinking, punctuated by some occasional epiphanies and, on hindsight, a series of phases.
For me, Cornering 1.0 was understanding the very basics — balancing on the outside foot, leaning the bike, loading the pedal, turning the hips — first one at a time then with integration: like screwing your bike into the ground. This style of cornering is simple, and it’s easily learnable, and it will serve you well. We teach this in our live Level 1 classes. Check out this site's Cornering 1 course.
Cornering 2.0 added cyclical loading and unloading, first to increase traction and ultimately to generate acceleration. As I went deeper into pumping all things and, as part of that exploration, invented the RipRow, I discovered the row/anti-row philosophy, and that soon plugged into cornering. Treat every turn like a hole on its side. Pump accordingly. This brings a new level of control, speed and fun. We teach this in our live Level 2 classes. Check out this site's Cornering 2 class.
Here we are at Phase 3.0. As you might expect, this stage combines what we know from phases 1 and 2, and it integrates that knowledge into a more complete, even more powerful package. Hopefully it will help you understand cornering more deeply and get you cornering even better.