Why Does a Cyclist Bend Inwards While Riding Along a Curved Road? (What Science Says)

Cycling is a sport that depends on a lot of technical factors. This means that every aspiring cyclist should, and would like to learn the basic science relating to the sport.

If you too are curious about this amazing sport, one question that you will naturally have is, ‘why does a cyclist bend inwards while taking a circular turn’?

Well, the answer is basically related to physics. But that doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on the subject of the concept here.

Through this article, we will explain to you the reason behind a cyclist bending inwards, in the simplest way possible!

So, read along!

Why Does a Cyclist Bend Inwards While Riding Along a Curved Road?

Why Does a Cyclist Bend Inwards While Riding Along a Curved Road

When a cyclist is riding along a curve (or in any motion in a circular path), there will be a force that pulls it outwards. That is, while taking a curve, the bicycle will have a tendency to move outwards from the curve.

In science, this tendency or force is called centrifugal force. And to counter this force, there needs to be a ‘centripetal force‘ that acts in the opposite direction.

If the cycle is moving in an exact vertical position, it cannot generate enough centripetal force. But when they give a slight tilt towards the curve, it can create that crucial centripetal force.

There is deeper physics to it. But we think there is no need to go that deeper here as our aim is just to know why they do so and why you should too.

Now, how much a cyclist will have to bend inwards will depend on two factors- the degree of curve and the speed of the bike.

The larger the degree of the curve or the speed of the bike, the higher will be this ‘centrifugal force’. The larger this centrifugal force is, the more will be the centripetal force needed here.

That means, the cyclists will have to bend more inwards for higher speed or high intensity curves. For instance, when you are riding along a curve, but with not too much speed, you won’t have to bend inwards that much. Also, your bike’s frictional force might be just enough to counter this force acting outwards!

But when you are racing, if you aren’t bending inwards, not only will it affect your speed, but you will also be pushed outwards. Knowing this, while turning a corner, a cyclist bends inwards.

But that doesn’t mean you can bend inwards as much as possible.

You will have to bend only to the extent by which you create the force to cancel out the outward acting centrifugal force.

Bend inwards too much, and you will cause more centripetal force, and end up losing the grip with the ground and fall inwards. But that doesn’t happen. As you keep on training, your body will naturally come to learn how to bend properly according to the curve, your biking speed, and even wind factors!

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Wrapping Up

That was a simple explanation of why professional cyclists bend inwards while taking a curve. If you too wish to improve your cycling performance, you ought to learn to do so. But that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible goal to achieve.

Through regular training and consistent biking, your body will naturally learn how much you should bend inwards.