Bicycling Street Smarts, Chapter 6: Using your Brakes

submited by
Style Pass
2021-07-11 16:30:03

Picture yourself on a city path. Suddenly, you notice that you're about to ride down a flight of stairs. Or you're riding on a country road and there's a bridge out just a few feet in front of you. In cases like these, your bike's brakes could save your life. But even if you don't have such a dramatic experience, you'll feel more confident and go faster if you're ready to stop quickly and smoothly.

Your brakes must be in good condition to give you the most control. Good bicycle brakes work powerfully and smoothly. If your brakes are weak or grabby, it's time for an overhaul. But to get the quickest possible stop, you also need to understand weight transfer and how it affects your stopping.

When you're stopping - in a car, on a bicycle or on foot - your weight shifts to the front. You see this happen every day. When you're running and stop suddenly, you have to put a foot out in front of yourself to keep from toppling forward. In the same way, when you stop a car, it "nosedives" as more weight goes to the front wheels.

When stopping your bike, the weight also goes to the front wheel. Try a little experiment: Walk along next to your bicycle with your hands in their normal positions on the handlebars . Squeeze the front brake lever. The bicycle will stop quickly, but the rear wheel will rise off the ground.

Leave a Comment