Whether you’ve been riding your bike for a few days or a few decades, you’ve probably ridden wide going through a corner at least once. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you were able to recover without getting hurt or hurting anyone else. Most likely, it was a scary experience—and one you probably wouldn’t like to repeat any time soon.
There are plenty of reasons why running wide might happen. When you’re new to riding, or perhaps on a new-to-you bike that you don’t know very well yet, it’s easy to misjudge what you’re doing simply because you’re not comfortable yet. However, at least some of the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the “Stop, Look, Press, Roll” technique as taught in MSF and other basic riding courses—at least, according to rider education-focused YouTube channel Canyon Chasers.
In this video, CC makes a solid case for why “Stop, Look, Press, and Roll” can lead you to ride wide in anything other than gradual, sweeping corners when you’re out on the street. Most of the time, when you’re taking beginner rider courses, you’re doing so in a controlled environment. MSF or other instructors probably set out cones or other markers around the course, and specifically created corners and curves for your exercises that weren’t too challenging or technical. Their guidebooks give precise instructions on how to lay out given exercises, so the courses are taught the same way each time.
However, when you ride technical, twisty roads out in the wild, it’s not hard to understand why the same technique might end very differently—and maybe in serious injury or death. If you're rolling on that throttle too fast around a blind corner, and there’s an obstacle you couldn’t see going in, speeding up through that corner means you won’t give yourself enough time to react. That’s when things go wrong—and sometimes, horribly wrong.
Instead, Canyon Chasers advises, trail braking is a safer and more practical way to handle those tight, technical corners. You still do most of the braking before you get to the corner, but then you keep light pressure on the front brake as needed, easing up gradually until you see the corner exit. Because your motions are smooth and gradual, this doesn’t upset the bike and make it unstable through those turns, and while you’re doing other things like worrying about optimal body positioning. The end result is that you feel more in control, and you’re able to more precisely keep your bike going exactly where you want it to go instead of running wide and potentially ending up in a bad situation.