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Cycling Tip: Descending Safely
Robert Panzera

Touring companies, like Adventure Travel Group, takes you to beautiful riding destinations, and part of that beauty stems from climbing up to gorgeous vistas. After you take in the view, follow these 4 tips to help you descend:

1. Look ahead. Looking up the road will prepare you to avoid obstacles and line up turns. This is especially important for corners, where you should look as far “around” the corner as possible. A good rule of thumb is that your front wheel should be in your periphery and the road ahead, as far as you can see, in your direct line of sight.

2. Weight the bike properly. For straight roads place pedals parallel to the ground; place hands firmly in the handlebar drops with loose elbows; keep your back flat; keep your knees close to the top tube; and slide back in the saddle slightly, and hover as necessary based on the roughness of the road. For cornering, form a “tripod” on your bike with the outside (of the corner) pedal down, your body firmly on the saddle, and your inside hand (of the corner) applying light pressure on the handlebar drop.

3. Brake before the corner. You should be at a controllable speed before you enter a corner. Braking in the middle of a corner creates the chance of losing traction or control.

4. Attack the downhill. Using the above techniques, work on each descent to look ahead and position yourself for each corner. Never sit up and lock the elbows out.

Safety is of the utmost importance. These tips do not condone reckless behavior. Know your limits, and always descend slowly to maintain the highest level of personal and group safety.

Robert Panzera is a Level 2 USA Cycling Coach and owner and operator of Cycling San Diego (CCSD). CCSD is designed to provide a venue of warm weather training miles in the off-season for serious touring and elite racing cyclists. For more information about Robert Panzera and CCSD, visit or contact him at

This tip was originally published in the Adventure Travel Group (ATG) monthly newsletter. For more information on ATG, visit or contact
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