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New Year, New Skills

Part 3: Cornering

Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020 was our busiest year yet! In particular, we saw a massive increase in the demand for private lessons - not surprising, given the new safety challenges associated with group events and clinics.

Last year, "Cornering with speed," particularly "berms," was the third most requested goal for our private lessons. This makes absolute sense given that you are rarely mountain biking on a perfectly straight trail and the increasing amount of flowy trails being built. And let's be honest, berms are fun to ride when ridden correctly.

Private lessons are a great way to work one-on-one with an expert who can make sure you have the proper baseline know-how on the bike to execute new and more challenging skills with confidence. If 'berms' or 'cornering with speed' is one of your goals for 2021, we can help you achieve that goal!

There is a lot of free content available online, and everyone claims to have that unique trick on how to 'rail berms' and 'roost those corners' - all of it is great, but how do you know which techniques are right for your skill level and when to apply them? Most of the content you'll find online relates to advanced cornering techniques. Depending on where your riding level is, this may be something you're working towards, still a ways off or never even considered it as a technique (i.e. pumping through a corner).

Berms will typically have a similar approach in regards to technique. We like to use what we call the sugar cookie method. During a lesson on berms and high-speed cornering, we assess riders first for their body position on the bike and how well they can maintain the ready (attack) position. Remaining centred on the bike is an essential piece because often, riders move their centre of mass too far back on the bike resulting in an unbalanced feeling and not much control over the front wheel. We'll say it a thousand times, but a strong foundation on the bike plays a huge role in our confidence in executing berms and corners with speed. Next, we work on drills to explore leaning the bike side to side underneath us. And finally, we take this method to a berm and repeat it numerous times to build good habits.

The 'Cookie Cutter':

Low - get into a low and wide ready (attack) position and aim for even pressure in your feet (level pedals)

*slow down before the corner*

Look - eyes on the prize! You have to look where you want to go. Looking where you want to go is often the simplest way to improve your cornering.

Lean - While remaining in the ready position, allow the bike to lean into the corner underneath you. How much the bike leans depends on the speed and how steep the berm is.

The Decorations:

Line selection (high versus low)

Dropping the outside foot

How much to lean the bike and/or the body



Selective braking through corners

We would love to work with you to make sure you have the proper ‘sugar cookie method’ and understand when and how to apply the extra techniques ('decorations').

Book a Private Lesson this spring to get railing those corners! Your first step is completing our Registration Form, so we are best equipped to design the classes just for you!

Find out more on our Private Lessons and how to book here.

Stay tuned for New Year, New Skills Part 4 next week!


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