New rider tip: learning to lean

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Learning to countersteer

Countersteering. Anyone who rides a bicycle or a motorcycle is already doing it…even if they don’t know it. Are you doing it? Here’s how to find out. Go sit on your bike, both feet on the ground. Turn the handlebars to the left and see where the bike wants to fall. To the right, right? You’re probably doing this subconsciously. Now that you know about it and that it has a name, you can consciously practice it to improve the control you have over the bike and the speed at which you can turn safely.

If you’re new to riding, t’s best to practice in a large open area such as a parking lot. Go about 25 mph and give your handlebar a little push in the opposite direction you plan to turn. Even though you’re countersteering, you will turn in the direction you intended. Next time, nudge it a little harder. Then go out on the road and start incorporating it into your riding. There you go, you’ve mastered the art of the countersteer.

Please remember, countersteering doesn’t mean turning your handlebars away from a turn. Instead, you’re actually pushing the handlebar to initiate a lean. This push on the handlebar will have your wheel heading very briefly in the wrong direction, and as a result of the lean, your bike will immediately recover and head in the direction you’d like it to go. When you understand countersteering and how it works, you will make more controlled turns at higher speeds, also allowing you to steer away from hazards with confidence and ride with less fatigue.