Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — “What’s the one thing you would tell a new rider on how to handle the corners?

I posed this question on my Facebook page the other day and got a variety of answers.  All of them great.  The reason I did that was because I know a lot of VERY experienced riders follow my blog and I attribute my growth as a rider to heading the advice from all of them.

I ride with experienced riders and they tell me things they notice, and I observe them and learn from them.  I love this journey so much, I want to be as good a biker as I can be.

When I first started riding, my biggest problems were in the corners.  Turning right especially.  I didn’t have a problem turning left, but when it came to pulling out of a parking lot and turning right, I would make these WIDE WIDE turns to get in my lane.

I had only been riding for four months when I rode the notorious Tail of the Dragon, and I was VERY apprehensive about it.  My mentor, David Walker just looked me in the eye and said, “you’re riding the tail of the dragon, no questions asked!”

And so I rode the dragon.  And it was AMAZING!

Fast forward to this year.  I’ve logged over 60,000 miles on my bikes and have ridden the Tail of the Dragon four times, and the Devil’s Triangle, three times. and my skills and confidence have improved greatly.  The point being, you must have saddle time and log the miles to become a better, more confident biker.

The past two weekends I’ve been in the Smoky Mountains riding everything.  The “Tail” and the ‘Triangle.’  I’ve ridden the Cherohala Skyway and the Foothills Parkway.  They all have their own personality with turns, sweepers and such so the experience I get for making those difficult turns is invaluable.  

The key for me is to look through the turn and to lean in the turn.  The bike goes where you’re looking and depending on your speed, your turns should be smooth and confident.

The more you ride, the better you get.  I could tell a big difference from when I rode the Tail of the Dragon this year as opposed to last year.  My turns were better, I never got anxious, I had confidence in myself and my bike.

It. Was. Amazing!

Those of you who have been riding for years have no problem with this issue.  That’s what comes with saddle time and years of experience.  I love riding with veteran bikers.  They’re so confident and smooth on their bike. I try to “mimic” their approach.  

So, let’s approach each corner with good speed, lean into the corner and keep your eyes looking to where you want to go.  It’s amazing that the bike goes where you’re looking, but it does.  The last time I lost my focus on that, I ended up in a muddy ditch. 

So be safe and ride your own ride.  Get some miles under yourself and you’ll see how quickly you can navigate those turns like the pros.  There’s no substitute for saddle time and burning some miles.  

Ride safe my friends!