Cycling like a granny

Okay....question. Is there a knack to going downhill? I know this sounds ridiculous but I realised today I'm not good at going downhill. I get quite scared of speed (like 18mph upwards) so brake all the way. I think it's simply fear of falling off, breaking my neck and getting some interesting scabs on my arms.

It's partly that in Leeds and the area around it, the surfaces are abysmal and you never know if you're going down a pothole or not. But I also think it's me...I ski like a granny too.

Bearing in mind I'm planning a trip across Switzerland next year, I need to crack this downhill malarky. Any hints???
 
Don't know if it's any help, but try and find a willing/trustworthy partner to tandem with and have a go at a descent on that!
If you think the control is in their hands you might be able to relax and enjoy the speed instead of unecessarily fearing it. :rolleyes:
 
Is it partly a lack of confidence in your bike handling skills? I'm pretty confident on a bike, not because of any inate skill, it's just that I've spent so much time in the saddle. Even so, I reach my personal 'granny point' at about 40mph. Beyond that I get nervous about controlling the bike and getting round bends etc. On something as twisty as Cheddar Gorge I'll be braking the whole way down while more assured riders belt down at well over 40.
I think it's probably a case of easing your way up (or down!) the learning curve, rather than looking for one magic solution.
Having said that, you could always try looking for a small hill, on a quiet road nearby. Practice going down that hill, without brakes and gradually build up your confidence.
Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine. Just remember to take plenty of spare brake blocks with you to Switzerland....:rolleyes:
 
I think it's partly bike handling skills...I have a new bike with dropped handlebars so am still getting used to that, which I think contributes to it. I wasn't as nervous as I am now on my lovely old hybrid. Good point, Chuffy.

I also think it's a control thing...I spent a weekend on a tandem with my Dad who I trust completely but noticed I kept telling him to slow down.

I think you may both be right...just need to get a bit more used to going faster.
 
Cathryn said:
I think it's partly bike handling skills...I have a new bike with dropped handlebars so am still getting used to that, which I think contributes to it. I wasn't as nervous as I am now on my lovely old hybrid. Good point, Chuffy.
Ah, yes, that would make me nervous if I wasn't used to it.
Forgive me if I'm stating the bleedin' obvious but do you brake from the hoods? Resting your hands on the brake hoods gives you a more upright position which might be more reassuring if you've come from a hybrid. You should still be able to get to the brakes with your index and middle fingers. You probably won't have full power on them, but you should be able to modulate your speed enough to be comforting.

PS - You'd never get me on the back of a tandem, I don't like the idea of not being in control!
 

Membrane

New Member
Confidence is affected by how good your observation skills are, reading road surface conditions, traffic, yard exits etc. Knowing what lines to take through a bend, when to brake and when not to also helps a lot. Id recommend buying a good book on cycling. I haven't read it myself, but AFAIK a book called "Cyclecraft" is well regarded.

Having learned the theory you then still have to put it to practice. Riding with more experienced cyclists can show you what is possible.

Be careful with braking all the way downhill. Rim brakes can heat up the rims on long descends so much that the tyre will blow off. Better brake more strongly but intermittently, this allows the rims to cool off a bit better.
 
Membrane...please don't take this the wrong way but your username is the most disgusting one I've ever seen!!!!! However I'm enormously grateful for the advice and will hit Borders tomorrow to buy the book. Good point about braking style!

Chuffy, yes I'm very much a 'hoods' girl and having small hands, this also affects easy I find braking is!!

Thanks for the advice guys....just hearing some common sense makes me worry less. I think I'll get there in time.
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Look well ahead and try to plan your line, if you are down on the drops try to keep your shoulders loose as it will make it easier to keep you head up.
 
Being cautious about speed on descents isn't being a 'granny'.

Last week, I was out riding in the countryside. Descending a huge hill
at 48kph (fast for me) when I thought "What would happen now if something darted out from a hedgerow?" Nothing did, but the thought still slowed me down! :rolleyes:
 

frog

Guest
Might not be you - it could be the bike. My first bike was a mid range off the peg tourer which had a mind of it's own when it came to steering. You really had to think yards ahead.

The latest is a flat barred tourer and couldn't be more different. Knowing how the thing is going to behave is a huge boost to confidence
 
there's no knack, it's just confidence. i descended like a granny when i got on a road bike for the first time.

i've done a descent where i was totally spinning out a 53:11 and still accelerating. i didn't even think about braking, just let the bike go and trusted in it.

good luck.

L
 
Guys, thanks for all the encouragement.It's hugely appreciated.

I took my hybrid out for a spin this evening and noticed I didn't even think about going downhill, although I'm never going to be a speedster. I think it's a case of getting used to the drops and the new bike. If I still ride like my Nan in three months, I'll think harder.

PH - I LOVE those handlebars, will look into them. They look ideal!!!
 

Membrane

New Member
Cathryn said:
Membrane...please don't take this the wrong way but your username is the most disgusting one I've ever seen!!!!!
I'm not going to ask what sort of association you have with my monicker because I don't think I'd want to read the answer. :blush: You still deserve a virtual slap for having such disgusting thoughts :rolleyes:

FYI it is derived from a song from the 90's IIRC that contained the line "insane in the membrane", where "membrane" is slang for "brain".
 
It just makes me think of slasher movies and stringy body parts :rolleyes: Not sure I believe your explanation, I think you just like making girl cyclists nauseous!!!

I do wish i'd been slightly more interesting in my own choice of user name!!! Distinct lack of imagination, that day!!
 
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