When we start riding bikes, one of the things we do most is curb! And sadly, it’s one of the things we do the wrong way.
Braking properly and without wearing the bicycle components involves many variables! Among these variables are the type of brake (“cantilever”, “V-brake”, the disc, among others), the type and condition of the terrain in which we are pedaling (asphalt, dirt, sand, etc), and the type of bicycle we are conducting.
We do not have the objective of making a technical discussion about which type of brake is better or even bicycle techniques used in a competitive environment. Our idea is to provide some tips so that you can optimize this routine and crucial task for those who “go from bike”!
For good braking, it is necessary to be with the tires on the day, good brakes (with good “shoes” or good discs, depending on the case), good wheels and mainly keep the set always clean and well regulated. The incorrect positioning of the brake assembly compromise the efficiency of the whole process, whichever is the quality of the parts.
The ideal is to always brake on the lines, to get the most possible traction from the set. The position of the brake levers should always be as close as possible to the stem of the handlebar, because the ideal is that our fingers are at the ends of the levers, and not in the middle, because with this we have more leverage and therefore less physical wear.
In terms of terrain, the ideal is always to give priority to braking on drier and firmer terrain. That is, in days of rain or drizzle, we must decrease our speed and always seek to anticipate the reactions of other vehicles in our surroundings. If you are pedaling on the earth, choose the driest part of the soil, with less vegetation and moisture. Believe me: This can make any difference between “take a floor” or not!
Excessive braking can also cause accidents. Always look to where you’re going, the most “forward” possible. This will lessen the sensation of speed because when we look closer to where we are, it looks like we’re going “very fast” and we tend to brake more.
As in motor vehicles, the ideal is to work with gears and speed, braking as minimal as possible. With the experience, we realize that every place has its speed. And when we work this way, we save the bike’s components.
For reference only, a good set of brakes should be triggered, in normal situations, only with one finger, and in the emergencies with two fingers. If you have to make more effort that this, it is probably with some problem in your system and the ideal is to go to a workshop of your confidence to resolve the problem.
Oddly enough, the front brake is the most efficient to stop the bicycle. We always try to work on average with 65% support on the front brake and 35% on the rear brake. The importance of working the two brakes “together” is very large, yes, although the front brake is the biggest responsible for “stopping” the bike, the rear brake is that it provides the “firmness” in the path and direction of the bicycle, and it will also guarantee the traction of the bike so that the front can act.
We should always avoid the wheel locking, which is almost always followed by a skid and a possible fall. If you need to brake abruptly, “lock” the rear wheel, but never the front. And by doing this, try to throw your body back, like you want to “pull” the bike. Moreover, the position of the body affects a lot of the bike at the time of braking. The more weight there is on the rear wheel, the greater the traction with the soil, making you stop more efficiently.
For example, if you are descending a slanted stretch and need to brake, get off the saddle and move your body back, causing all your weight to move to the rear wheel. In more technical excerpts, especially in trails, we have reached the body behind the saddle, modifying the center of gravity of the bicycle. But for everyday use, and mostly urban, this is not necessary.
And just to remember, the front brake is always on the left side of the heart! and the on the right side. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of cyclists fall for confusing at the time of braking…
In addition to the above hints, always keep your eyes forward, predicting what happens in the surroundings, obstacles and reactions of other vehicles and pedestrians. Always be attentive to the pedestrians, who almost always cross in front of the bikes because they have no idea that the bike usually “arrives” to them before they predicted, due to the speed in which it travels. This is the most common motive of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians, especially in parks, where often all are more unheeded than usual.
Conluindo, always use your brakes with balance and safety
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