How to cycle downhill?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Mule, Aug 11, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mule

    Mule Guest

    Hi All,

    Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    close to the North Downs Way yesterday.

    One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    underneath you.

    Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake and
    started fishtailing. At time I was almost travelling sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was
    about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright (minor miracle). We all laughed at the
    bottom of the hill.

    Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake? Braking
    would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either. Sometimes I
    hate riding loose stones
    - I don't feel in control.

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
    Tags:


  2. Tj

    Tj Guest

    "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    > close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    >
    > One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    > always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    > underneath you.
    >
    > Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake and
    > started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    travelling
    > sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    > (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    >
    > Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    > Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    > Sometimes I hate riding loose
    stones
    > - I don't feel in control.
    >
    >
    > --
    > ...meandering mule...
    Learn to use your front brake.

    TJ
     
  3. Your rear brake doesn't have much effect when going down steep hills - most of your weight is on the
    front wheel. I think ...

    "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi All,
    >
    > Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    > close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    >
    > One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    > always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    > underneath you.
    >
    > Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake and
    > started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    travelling
    > sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    > (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    >
    > Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    > Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    > Sometimes I hate riding loose
    stones
    > - I don't feel in control.
    >
    >
    > --
    > ...meandering mule...
     
  4. try lowering your seat and leaning back over your rear wheel. it will give you more traction and
    also use your front brakes a bit too. it is these that will actually stop you (IMO) and rear just
    gives a bit more control.

    cheers, mark
     
  5. Bb

    Bb Guest

    On 11 Aug 2003 15:02:37 GMT, mule wrote:

    > One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    > always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    > underneath you.

    Loose rocks on downhills are tough. You have to brake to maintain some control, but braking often
    just causes you to get more out of control.

    What I try to do is look for spots where the rocks appear to be the most stable (or preferably spots
    where there aren't loose rocks), and do pretty much all of the braking there. If there aren't any,
    just let it fly, but if the downhill is very long at least try to brake lightly whenever the brake
    appear to be holding.

    These can be nasty and dangerous, particularly if they're long. We have some fireroads near here
    that have lots of loose gravel & rock on steep downhills. I know two guys that have had to be
    medivac'ed from there, and several others that have taken nasty falls. And these are just fireroads;
    they aren't even technical.

    --
    -BB- To reply to me, drop the attitude (from my e-mail address, at least)
     
  6. John Harlow

    John Harlow Guest

    > Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    > Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.

    You should constantly brake to assure you're not exceeding your capability to stop at any
    given moment.

    Sliding your tires on trails is *very, very bad* form. If you're going so fast that that's the only
    way you can stop.. slow down!
     
  7. Mule

    Mule Guest

    "TJ" <hundtoftatgviidotnet> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    >
    > "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> Hi All,
    >>
    >> Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    >> close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    >>
    >> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >> underneath you.
    >>
    >> Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake and
    >> started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    > travelling
    >> sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    >> (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    >>
    >> Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    >> Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    >> Sometimes I hate riding loose
    > stones
    >> - I don't feel in control.
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >> ...meandering mule...
    > Learn to use your front brake.
    >
    > TJ
    >
    >

    Hi TJ,

    Can you give me more details? I don't mind using my front brakes anywhere else but am especially
    reluctant on loose stones. I've washed out before and dislocated my shoulder. Will never do that
    again unless someone gives me good reason.

    Thanks

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
  8. Mule

    Mule Guest

    "Graham Hopkins" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:p[email protected]:

    > Your rear brake doesn't have much effect when going down steep hills - most of your weight is on
    > the front wheel. I think ...
    >
    > "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> Hi All,
    >>
    >> Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    >> close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    >>
    >> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >> underneath you.
    >>
    >> Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake and
    >> started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    > travelling
    >> sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    >> (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    >>
    >> Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    >> Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    >> Sometimes I hate riding loose
    > stones
    >> - I don't feel in control.
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >> ...meandering mule...
    >
    >

    Hmmm. Okay. You're the second person to say that. Will get the armour out for my next trip and give
    it a go...

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
  9. Penny S.

    Penny S. Guest

    mule scribbled :
    >> Learn to use your front brake.
    >>
    >> TJ
    >>
    >>
    >
    > Hi TJ,
    >
    > Can you give me more details? I don't mind using my front brakes anywhere else but am especially
    > reluctant on loose stones. I've washed out before and dislocated my shoulder. Will never do that
    > again unless someone gives me good reason.
    >
    > Thanks

    For starters, don't grab it. ;-) Your front brake is about 60-70% of your brake power. Learn how to
    work it softly but with some pressure. A good practice is to get on a dh slope that's not technical
    and see how slow you can make your bike go, without skidding, using more front that rear brake.
    Another techinique is called two finger braking... self explanatory. When you need to steer around
    boulders, you' ll want to use less brake that just a clean run that you need to slow down on. Also,
    getyour butt out of the seat and behind the bike, that will help a whole bunch. And yes, skidding is
    bad bad bad....

    Penny
     
  10. Dan

    Dan Guest

    On 11 Aug 2003 14:46:59 GMT, BB <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On 11 Aug 2003 15:02:37 GMT, mule wrote:
    >
    >> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >> underneath you.
    >
    >Loose rocks on downhills are tough. You have to brake to maintain some control, but braking often
    >just causes you to get more out of control.
    >
    >What I try to do is look for spots where the rocks appear to be the most stable (or preferably
    >spots where there aren't loose rocks), and do pretty much all of the braking there. If there aren't
    >any, just let it fly, but if the downhill is very long at least try to brake lightly whenever the
    >brake appear to be holding.

    This is exactly my technique even though it never gets as controlled as it sounds. The oint is,
    brake as hard as you can without going over the bars, skidding sideways or losing front wheel grip.
    If you feel any of these three starting to happen, let go of the brakes, concentrate on steering and
    selecting your track. Then try again. Letting go of the brakes very quickly puts you in control
    again so you can brake almost until you bin it, the next second you're king of the mountain again.

    The best way to get some training in this technique is to find a short slippery downhill that ends
    in a big flat space. Then you can try all these three almost bins, let go of the brakes and then
    just roll out at the bottom of the slope. Or do as I do, bin it every now and then. Scarification is
    very hip among the youngsters.

    --
    [email protected] - Orange Patriot -03
     
  11. Voodoo

    Voodoo Guest

    "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Graham Hopkins" <[email protected]> wrote in
    > news:p[email protected]:
    >
    > > Your rear brake doesn't have much effect when going down steep hills - most of your weight is on
    > > the front wheel. I think ...
    > >
    > > "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > >> Hi All,
    > >>
    > >> Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    > >> close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    > >>
    > >> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    > >> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    > >> underneath you.
    > >>
    > >> Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake
    > >> and started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    > > travelling
    > >> sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    > >> (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    > >>
    > >> Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    > >> Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    > >> Sometimes I hate riding loose
    > > stones
    > >> - I don't feel in control.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> --
    > >> ...meandering mule...
    > >
    > >
    >
    > Hmmm. Okay. You're the second person to say that. Will get the armour out for my next trip and
    > give it a go...
    >
    I'm no downhill expert, and certainly not in rocks (no rocks here), but I do know that the front
    brakes do at least 75% of the work on a downhill. I do know the best way to brake is to apply as
    much pressure that you can without locking the wheel, even if it's just a little. Once you lock the
    wheel, you lose control.
     
  12. Penny S.

    Penny S. Guest

    voodoo scribbled :
    > "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> "Graham Hopkins" <[email protected]> wrote in
    >> news:p[email protected]:
    >>
    >>> Your rear brake doesn't have much effect when going down steep hills - most of your weight is on
    >>> the front wheel. I think ...
    >>>
    >>> "mule" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>> news:[email protected]...
    >>>> Hi All,
    >>>>
    >>>> Was wondering whether anyone could give me advice. I was with a group of 3 cycling a hilly area
    >>>> close to the North Downs Way yesterday.
    >>>>
    >>>> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >>>> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >>>> underneath you.
    >>>>
    >>>> Anyway I went flat-out and realised I was going too fast near the bottom, used my rear brake
    >>>> and started fishtailing. At time I was almost
    >>> travelling
    >>>> sideways. I thought I'd lost it and was about to bail out but somehow managed to stay upright
    >>>> (minor miracle). We all laughed at the bottom of the hill.
    >>>>
    >>>> Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    >>>> Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    >>>> Sometimes I hate riding loose
    >>> stones
    >>>> - I don't feel in control.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>> --
    >>>> ...meandering mule...
    >>>
    >>>
    >>
    >> Hmmm. Okay. You're the second person to say that. Will get the armour out for my next trip and
    >> give it a go...
    >>
    > I'm no downhill expert, and certainly not in rocks (no rocks here), but I do know that the front
    > brakes do at least 75% of the work on a downhill. I do know the best way to brake is to apply as
    > much pressure that you can without locking the wheel, even if it's just a little. Once you lock
    > the wheel, you lose control.

    Once you lock the front wheel, you are generally airborne.

    Penny
     
  13. Bomba

    Bomba Guest

    mule wrote:

    > Anyway how do you take a steep hill like that? With constant braking? Top speed then brake?
    > Braking would take the fun out of it for me but it's not that nice to be losing control either.
    > Sometimes I hate riding loose stones
    > - I don't feel in control.

    I lost it at the weekend on loose rocks too...

    Stay as straight as possible and try and head for the areas with the least amount of rocks. Braking
    whilst turning is a bad idea. Over-brake on the straights and roll round the corners. Don't haul on
    the anchors, but gently feather the brakes. Always stay in control - don't feel under pressure to
    stay up with your mates, slow down if you need to.

    --
    a.m-b FAQ: http://www.t-online.de/~jharris/ambfaq.htm

    b.bmx FAQ: http://www.t-online.de/~jharris/bmx_faq.htm
     
  14. Lefty

    Lefty Guest

    I am a terrible downhiller, but FWIW I always apply both brakes together, but the pressure on each
    is something I've learned (over the years) to adjust for conditions. Do better downhillers use just
    one brake or the other? I don't think so.

    Breaking where you can (and not where you can't) is good advice for any vehicle.

    Also, body position is very important. I gained tremendously when I started to imitate the racers
    I'd seen. (Watching one NORBA national did more for me that 10 or 20 rides.)
     
  15. Sdc

    Sdc Guest

    > Hi TJ,
    >
    > Can you give me more details? I don't mind using my front brakes anywhere else but am especially
    > reluctant on loose stones. I've washed out before and dislocated my shoulder. Will never do that
    > again unless someone gives me good reason.
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > --
    > ...meandering mule...

    Especially use your front brakes in sections of the trail that do not have any debris...but if done
    properly you can use them at other times too. So break gently if you need to when the terrain is
    rough and harder when the terrain is smooth. The most important thing is to:

    Get your bum back over your rear tire...your seat can even hit your chest for real steep stuff.
    Relax your arms and legs, loosen your knees to take the bumps. A lot of times it is safer to go over
    debris at faster speeds, just watch for turns..

    If you feel you are losing control, don't give up. Stick with it and look at where you want to go,
    not where you don't want to go. A lot of times you will feel your wheel sliding but you will
    recover. This is a time where you do not want to use your breaks.

    Otherwise..learn how to fall...usually a tuck and roll trechnique. Don;t brace yourself with your
    arms. If you are going to fly over your handlebars...it is usually best to hold on to the bars and
    roll with the bike..or so i read somewhere.

    SDC
     
  16. Lefty

    Lefty Guest

    Lefty wrote:
    > Breaking where you can (and not where you can't) is good advice for any vehicle.

    "Breaking" ... darn, I tried really hard not to do that.
     
  17. Mule

    Mule Guest

    BB <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > On 11 Aug 2003 15:02:37 GMT, mule wrote:
    >
    >> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >> underneath you.
    >
    > Loose rocks on downhills are tough. You have to brake to maintain some control, but braking often
    > just causes you to get more out of control.
    >
    > What I try to do is look for spots where the rocks appear to be the most stable (or preferably
    > spots where there aren't loose rocks), and do pretty much all of the braking there. If there
    > aren't any, just let it fly, but if the downhill is very long at least try to brake lightly
    > whenever the brake appear to be holding.
    >
    > These can be nasty and dangerous, particularly if they're long. We have some fireroads near here
    > that have lots of loose gravel & rock on steep downhills. I know two guys that have had to be
    > medivac'ed from there, and several others that have taken nasty falls. And these are just
    > fireroads; they aren't even technical.
    >

    Looking for spots sounds like a great idea but is difficult when we have days like yesterday - very
    bright, little contrast and all similarly coloured stones. When you realise there's a rut made out
    of stones there isn't usually much time to react.

    Another bad time I had with similar stones was in the wet. There were ramblers at the bottom of the
    hill who had come around the corner and I was going...erm...quite fast. Very lucky to miss them.

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
  18. Mule

    Mule Guest

    "SDC" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    >
    >> Hi TJ,
    >>
    >> Can you give me more details? I don't mind using my front brakes anywhere else but am especially
    >> reluctant on loose stones. I've washed out before and dislocated my shoulder. Will never do that
    >> again unless someone gives me good reason.
    >>
    >> Thanks
    >>
    >> --
    >> ...meandering mule...
    >
    > Especially use your front brakes in sections of the trail that do not have any debris...but if
    > done properly you can use them at other times too. So break gently if you need to when the terrain
    > is rough and harder when the terrain is smooth. The most important thing is to:
    >
    > Get your bum back over your rear tire...your seat can even hit your chest for real steep stuff.
    > Relax your arms and legs, loosen your knees to take the bumps. A lot of times it is safer to go
    > over debris at faster speeds, just watch for turns..
    >
    > If you feel you are losing control, don't give up. Stick with it and look at where you want to go,
    > not where you don't want to go. A lot of times you will feel your wheel sliding but you will
    > recover. This is a time where you do not want to use your breaks.
    >
    > Otherwise..learn how to fall...usually a tuck and roll trechnique. Don;t brace yourself with your
    > arms. If you are going to fly over your handlebars...it is usually best to hold on to the bars and
    > roll with the bike..or so i read somewhere.
    >
    > SDC
    >
    >

    Thanks for that too, though the reach to my bars would be too far for me to get my chest on
    the saddle!

    Would also like to practise falling but I'm a wimp and generally unlucky with falls.

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
  19. Mule

    Mule Guest

    "Penny S." <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > mule scribbled :
    >>> Learn to use your front brake.
    >>>
    >>> TJ
    >>>
    >>>
    >>
    >> Hi TJ,
    >>
    >> Can you give me more details? I don't mind using my front brakes anywhere else but am especially
    >> reluctant on loose stones. I've washed out before and dislocated my shoulder. Will never do that
    >> again unless someone gives me good reason.
    >>
    >> Thanks
    >
    > For starters, don't grab it. ;-) Your front brake is about 60-70% of your brake power. Learn how
    > to work it softly but with some pressure. A good practice is to get on a dh slope that's not
    > technical and see how slow you can make your bike go, without skidding, using more front that rear
    > brake. Another techinique is called two finger braking... self explanatory. When you need to steer
    > around boulders, you' ll want to use less brake that just a clean run that you need to slow down
    > on. Also, getyour butt out of the seat and behind the bike, that will help a whole bunch. And yes,
    > skidding is bad bad bad....
    >
    > Penny
    >
    >

    "Controlled" skidding is fun fun fun, but I totally agree that uncontrolled skidding (most of what
    happens to me) is bad bad bad.

    Wish I could have got my friends to take a video of the hill and my descent. The adrenaline made me
    laugh my head off at the bottom when I realised I survived!

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
  20. Mule

    Mule Guest

    Dan <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > On 11 Aug 2003 14:46:59 GMT, BB <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>On 11 Aug 2003 15:02:37 GMT, mule wrote:
    >>
    >>> One of the DHs was stoney, pretty steep and quite a long slope. I love going downhill but am
    >>> always slightly scared of using my brakes - I don't like the way the stones give way so easily
    >>> underneath you.
    >>
    >>Loose rocks on downhills are tough. You have to brake to maintain some control, but braking often
    >>just causes you to get more out of control.
    >>
    >>What I try to do is look for spots where the rocks appear to be the most stable (or preferably
    >>spots where there aren't loose rocks), and do pretty much all of the braking there. If there
    >>aren't any, just let it fly, but if the downhill is very long at least try to brake lightly
    >>whenever the brake appear to be holding.
    >
    > This is exactly my technique even though it never gets as controlled as it sounds. The oint is,
    > brake as hard as you can without going over the bars, skidding sideways or losing front wheel
    > grip. If you feel any of these three starting to happen, let go of the brakes, concentrate on
    > steering and selecting your track. Then try again. Letting go of the brakes very quickly puts you
    > in control again so you can brake almost until you bin it, the next second you're king of the
    > mountain again.
    >
    > The best way to get some training in this technique is to find a short slippery downhill that ends
    > in a big flat space. Then you can try all these three almost bins, let go of the brakes and then
    > just roll out at the bottom of the slope. Or do as I do, bin it every now and then. Scarification
    > is very hip among the youngsters.
    >
    > --
    > [email protected] - Orange Patriot -03

    Scarification? I like a bit of a rush but am not suicidal. lol Also am not "that" young so I
    heal slowly...

    My pet hate is losing the front too.

    Losing front = injured mule on floor

    --
    ...meandering mule...
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...