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The Outdoors Manual: The Art of Tight Turns

By Richard Luo


Imagine this: You’re a 2nd grader testing out some wheels for the first time. Yesterday, you saw Johnny, Jack, and Jack Junior zooming around the neighborhood and you want to join in the fun. But there’s one problem, you don’t know squat about biking. So you and parents get to work, and by the end of the week, you’re able to get out of your driveway no problem. Great! You’ve learned how to balance on your bike! Now for the easy part: turns. But is it really that easy?


In general, turning is pretty intuitive, so yes, it is easy especially once you can balance on your bike. In fact, the only reason that question is there is to serve as a transition. But obviously, since I’m writing this article right now, there are still some more things you can do to sharpen your turns.

#1 Look Where You Turn

The most self-explanatory tip on here: Instead of staring at the ground, look at the “exit point”, which is where you’re headed. A phrase you can remember is “You go where you look.” Oh, and try not to trip over any bumps while doing this.

#2 Lean

Like I said before, turning is very intuitive, so many people actually naturally lean without realizing it. Thanks to me, I just reminded you. Now, you can exaggerate how far you lean to get faster and accelerated turns. Still, it’s important to note that you also have to read the terrain while leaning. Roads made out of tarmac are great to practice extreme leans on. Whereas, wet surfaces or ones with very little friction, leaning should be negligible, unless of course, you believe bruises and cuts are cool.

#3 Raising The Inside Pedal

The next tip is also very intuitive (don’t ctrl + F “intuitive”). When taking a turn, you don’t want your pedals scraping the ground because 1) it’s dangerous 2) it damages the pedal. So naturally, you would drop your outside pedal which in turns raises your inside pedal. That way, you now have much more distance between the pedal and the ground, successfully preventing scraping and solidifying your grip.

#4 Popping Out Your Knee

While this could have been part of tip #2, I like the sound of 4 tips better than 3 tips so here we are. Essentially, in addition to leaning your entire body, also lean your knee out a bit more separately. This slight displacement of the center of mass allows bikers, usually utilized more by avid bikers, to make the turn slightly sharper and quicker.

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