Getting off and walking on Hills....

gunja99

Well-Known Member
Location
Cheshire
...on the way down...

Hi all,

I started road cycling last summer (been a runner for a long time), and want to try the hills etc. Last year did a route that took in two long tough hills (Cheshire/Stoke the Cloud and Mow Cop). I got off an walked last year on the way up. Yesterday went back to try this on a 35m route (done 50 miles relatively flat last 2 weekends), and managed to get up (using Granny gear at times) them both. Great. Hard but great!

It's the decents... OMG it's painful. Got into the drops and felt secure on the bike (it's new, hydraulic disc brakes, etc), but holding the brakes there was very very uncomfy. I just kept the speed right down (10/15mph), as soon as release the brakes the speed picks up SO fast. The decent from the Bosley cloud I stayed on, but from Mow Cop, on a 22% downhill (I didn't use the killer mile on way up or down for anyone who knows it), but I just had to get off. Was the fact was pointing down, I dunno.

So a couple of questions. I have shortish fingers and maybe that's a problem, just felt had to keep feathering left, right (front back) brake, and not good at all. I'm not really wanting to speed speed it down (think max speed was 32mph) esp on open roads. But maintaining some speed is OK. Would I be better on the hoods where it's not as uncomfy holding the brakes (drops aren't uncomfy when not braking as hard). Can I adjust the position of the levers much to help.

I dunno, it's hit my enthusiasm for hills, etc. Any suggestions, ideas, etc
 

matticus

Veteran
Braking on the hoods is fine (as you clearly feel it is slowing you down enough). You will be sitting up much higher in the wind than on the drops: this creates a lot more drag at 20-30mph, which will make you a lot slower/safer.

(you probably won't notice any difference at 15mph!)

In the long run I would look to become comfortable/happy at speeds of 30mph - it's really not a dangerous speed on a bike, and any risks are more than compensated by the huge enjoyment :-) ^_^🤞
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
Most cyclists prefer hands on the drops for descents as it does give better control but you never know, you might find it better on the hoods. Personally I think your issue is probably less about hand position on the bars, and more about reach to the levers.

Yes you can adjust most levers for reach, depends on the model... if you lift the front part of the rubber hood cover you should see an allen bolt at the front which adjusts the reach. Here's one video:

View: https://youtu.be/GESGpwNLuTQ
 
OP
gunja99

gunja99

Well-Known Member
Location
Cheshire
Most cyclists prefer hands on the drops for descents as it does give better control but you never know, you might find it better on the hoods. Personally I think your issue is probably less about hand position on the bars, and more about reach to the levers.
This is exactly what I wanted to know, and do agree it's probably my issue (I'm OK on the drops on flats, and shorter decents/slight down hills).

The bikes a new 2021 105 Disc brake bike (Cube Attain SL), so they the standard 105 levers. I didn't know they were adjustable, so will look into it.

Thank you both, as I want to improve here, and as say not uncomfy with the position but me hands were more or less "burning" after not long time holding them hard. Guess once get comfy braking and controlling that can work on the speed/confidence in the tyres, etc
 
OP
gunja99

gunja99

Well-Known Member
Location
Cheshire
Last yeah on my first bike (Tiban 500), doing the same drop it was the tyres, etc I was scared of, and the rim brakes. Didn't notice the uncomfort on the levers, and they are smaller, so pretty sure this will help me! Will get back to you when adjusted, and braved those hills again :smile:
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
You really shouldn't be struggling to hold the brakes, even with rim brakes. Do you have any grip strength issues ? Hydraulic breaks are so light ?

Are your pads contaminated ?

Big difference with MTB brakes TBH - rim brakes are damn right rubbish on steep stuff, no power, grip of death to try and slow down. Hydraulic MTB brakes are designed for one finger operation (I use two).
 

iluvmybike

Über Member
I find it a bit scary descending fast - what helps me is a tip from mtb riding and that is to put the crakns horizontal push heels down into the pedals and even stick your bum back over the saddle - this helps avoid the 'over the bars' feeling. Of course if you come to a corner then the inside pedal needs to be up at 90 deg and then push down into the outside one and lean into the curve - that helps keep your centre of gravity nicely placed and also with tyre grip. I only have small hands and have adjusted the brakes to suit but on really steep descents I find I cannot get enough pressure on the brakes (I have rim brakes) to slow me down enough if I'm on the hoods so have to get onto the drops to get more leverage. It is a confidence thing and a good idea to practice technique on hills you know
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
If you are scared you will tense up and your hands, arms and shoulders will hurt a lot. It is easy to say just relax and enjoy the descent, but I know it can be tough. A 'death grip' will not help you, if you can try not to be on the brakes continually, use more of an on/off action.
 

matticus

Veteran
Are your pads contaminated ?

Big difference with MTB brakes TBH - rim brakes are damn right rubbish on steep stuff, no power, grip of death to try and slow down. Hydraulic MTB brakes are designed for one finger operation (I use two).
Rim brakes are fine if they are working, and using decent quality pads. (using cheap ones is akin to riding with contaminated disc pads!)

I've been down many of the steepest roads in Britain quite OK with my archaic, obsolete, "rubbish" rim brakes. I've also locked up the rear quite a few times (not a good thing to do kids, but there ya go).
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I've been down many of the steepest roads in Britain quite OK with my archaic, obsolete, "rubbish" rim brakes. I've also locked up the rear quite a few times (not a good thing to do kids, but there ya go).
Both my road bikes are single pivot as well, over 30 years old (new pads) and blooming stop quickly. Even the one's that aren't SLR (spring in lever and caliper).
 

iluvmybike

Über Member
Rim brakes are fine if they are working, and using decent quality pads. (using cheap ones is akin to riding with contaminated disc pads!)

I've been down many of the steepest roads in Britain quite OK with my archaic, obsolete, "rubbish" rim brakes. I've also locked up the rear quite a few times (not a good thing to do kids, but there ya go).
Hear, hear. I have descended many an alpine route on my 'rubbish' rim brakes. They are the Dura Ace 11 speed with Swisstop pads and tbh they are as good stoppers as my mtb's Hope disc brakes in most conditions - think the disks have an advantage in really wet weather - it is about good set-up and pads but also about about technique - watch the pro's in the peleton descending and look at their body positions - getting down into the drops gives better leverage from the hoods and lowers the centre of gravity too but it takes practice if you spend a lot of time riding on the hoods
 

Lovacott

Über Member
Yesterday went back to try this on a 35m route (done 50 miles relatively flat last 2 weekends), and managed to get up (using Granny gear at times) them both. Great. Hard but great!
Well done mate. Perseverance is the key.

There's a git of a hill between me and work which I can see from my living room (it dominates the landscape). I'd been cycling hard for six weeks before I tackled it, but it beat me to a pulp about a third of the way up and I walked the rest.

I defeated it eventually with a combination of fitness, determination and better gear use.

Some days, I hit the top on granny, others days I can do it a couple of rings down.

Main thing is, I can beat it and It's never going to beat me again.
 
OP
gunja99

gunja99

Well-Known Member
Location
Cheshire
If you are scared you will tense up and your hands, arms and shoulders will hurt a lot. It is easy to say just relax and enjoy the descent, but I know it can be tough. A 'death grip' will not help you, if you can try not to be on the brakes continually, use more of an on/off action.
This is pretty much what I was doing a "death grip", but I'm more than 99% sure the reach will help no end. Get that allen key and watch a few videos to adjust that, find a hill I know, and get used to it I guess. Problem is, most of cheshire is flat! Trying to think where to practise a few times, hmmm....

I did do Cat & Fiddle last year, and whilst scary on the way down (motorbikes coming down past us at 60/70mph!), wasn't the same grip issues (and they were RIM brakes). New bike got clean new Hydraulic discs, and boy do they stop, so got confidence in those. The levers are bigger and fatter on the Cube vs the Triban, so it's this really :smile:
 
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