Lateral Dynamics

What are lateral dynamics?

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Most of the time, cyclists are moving in straight lines. But turning is nevertheless as an important as an Elite riding skill. Laternal dynamics are therefore anything that deviates from a straight line including turning, cornering, and overall stability.

What do satellites and cornering have in common?

Imagine you hook a string to a weight and swing it about your head. It would move in a circle. Next imagine you have a satellite circling the earth. It too would move in a circle. What each of these have in common is that there is a force emanating from the center of the motion pulling in on the weight or the satellite.

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Now consider a cycle performing a circular cornering motion? If it is going to move in a circle, there must be a force pulling it towards the center of its curve.

What is “Pulling” the cycle towards the center?

But there is no string or gravity pulling the cycle towards the center of the circular curve. In fact, nothing is pulling on it. So what is “forcing” the cycle to deviate from its straight line motion?

As you might surmise, the subject of cycling lateral motion is significantly different from riding in a straight line and includes elements related to balance and stability. We begin answering what is “pulling” on the cycle when you are turning. We are going to find the answer is something is “pushing” on it, and for that reason, understanding how hard a tire can be pushed on before it starts to slide out is where we need to start.

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