Descending

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by martint235, 29 Jul 2012.

  1. martint235

    martint235 Dog on a bike

    Location:
    Welling
    Ok I reckon I'm not too bad at long distance, I can climb ok and my sprint is adequate. My real flaw is going down hills. I'm useless at it. Completely useless. It obviously needs improvement but how do I do that? It's mainly an issue of confidence so for risk assessment :

    1. If you hit gravel on a corner on a descent, will you always lose the front wheel? 50per cent? 10 pc?
    2. How do you deal with a sudden degradation of surface?

    Please don't say I just need to relax as it's hard to relax doing something you're bad at. Thanks for any other advice
     
  2. sidevalve

    sidevalve Über Member

    Sorry to sound like a boring old killjoy but if you're going round an unknown corner downhill at speed you're asking for trouble. We keep banging on about car drivers not being able to stop in the distance they can SEE to be clear and I'm afraid it also applies to cyclists.
    As for a sudden surface change, if you can't see it coming [which, let's be honest, 90% of the time you can] I'd try a little rear brake and easing the weight off the saddle to use the legs as springs. Depends on many things though, ie up / downhill, straight / bend, etc
     
  3. festival

    festival Über Member

    Before you start thinking about descending you have to look at your bike fit, bike set up and ability to corner corectly at speed.
    Descending at speed requirers entering the corner from the right position on the road, being low, on the drops, using your bent elbows as shock absorbers which will enable you to have a lower centre of gravity and corner harder.
    Look far ahead to read the road, keep close to the outside of the corner,aim for the apex and take a smooth line clipping the apex.
    Once you are leaning keep off the brakes ( maybe lightly on the rear if needed ) Its how fast you come out the corner not how fast you go into it.
    Practice on good roads and master that before you push it on bad roads
     
  4. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Location:
    Atop a Ti
    How about after your weekly Toy's Hill ascent, at the top turn around and go back down again.

    Anyway, after cycling thousands of miles with you over the past couple of years I wouldn't say you had a problem descending.
     
  5. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    Go mtb'ing with someone who knows what they are doing. After that road descents seem like a piece of piss.

    Going downhill fast is largely a case of mind over matter.
     
    Hawk likes this.
  6. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    Until you hit a bump, when the matter takes over.

    I've noticed myself being even more cautious on my solo bike since tandemming to JoG. I don't know whether it's the different pattern of stability or whether something in the bike setup has changed slightly - or whether it's simply a slightly more aggressive position that's reminding me of my mortality.
     
  7. Andrew_Culture

    Andrew_Culture Internet Marketing bod

    <bad advice>I'm still very cautious on the road, but off road I've always been in the habit of lifting out a leg speedway style, I don't make contact with the ground but having the foot there in case the wheels slip has saved me many time, including twice today (off road).
    </bad advice>

    __________________________________________________________________________________
    Sent from a recumbent.... settee.
     
  8. I don't know what it is but for me I think its got something to do with control, if I feel in control I can sprint down hills but if I don't I almost completely lock up.
     
  9. Andrew_Culture

    Andrew_Culture Internet Marketing bod

    Potentially daft question for the OP - have you fallen off your bike many times before?


    __________________________________________________________________________________
    Sent partially submerged beneath a cat.
     
  10. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Location:
    Atop a Ti

    Only when he's pissed
     
    theclaud likes this.
  11. Hector

    Hector New Member

    TBH I think your questions are irrelevent.

    Only if you are descending on some shitty back street lane that has been flooded or has minimal traffic go down it it will you experince the variables that you have posted.

    However you have asked, so I shall answer:

    On a bend that has gravel if you lean is more then 32.8' from the vertical and the co-effcient of friction is less then 0.62 then you are going down.

    On a sudden degradation of road:

    If you happen on the above then I'm afraid you are going to fast to read the road. But again ime you will only find such degradation on such shitty back street road.

    Now for tha actual masterclass in descending.

    Some factors to adhere to, the other not mentioned is experience:

    1) Relax

    2) Look where you want to go.

    3) Stand up on the pedals, but keep your knees bent to absorp the bumps. This also allows you to lean into the corner and with point 2 should see you alright.

    4) Cover the brakes, feather and squeeze, don't snatch if you need to brake suddenly.

    5) Have faith in the tyres when leaning, the amount of lean though is something that you'll learn with experience.

    6) On a busy road try to stay in either the n/s or o/s tyre lanes that cars make. In the middle of the road where all the oil and shite gathers is best avoided.

    Who do I make the invoice to? Such masterclasses are not free.:becool:
     
  12. OP
    OP
    martint235

    martint235 Dog on a bike

    Location:
    Welling
    Never going down a hill.

    And I've only fallen off p****d once. On the Brighton trip I fell over it not off it
     
  13. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    Depends on the bump. Depends on the rider. Depends on the riders mind (& responses). Quite often speed is your friend if you relax and you let the bike do the work. Gyroscopes and all that.

    Only very very rarely will a mere bump end in disaster. Cheesegraters on the other hand.... well even then we live to tell the tale!
     
  14. User482

    User482 Guest

    I'm much more confident descending on my mtb than on my road bike, so I'm not sure how transferrable the skills are...
     
  15. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Location:
    Chandler's Ford
    Weight off the saddle and on to the pedals (at 3o'clock and 9 o'clock) is best for poor surfaces.
    Otherwise, inside foot at 12 o'clock, outside foot at 6o'clock - and push down through the outside foot. Somewhat counter-intuitive but amazing how much stability that gives you.
    Gravel is rarely across the whole road. IME If you are balanced & in control you can usually make minor course adjustments to avoid it.
     
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