Cycling Guide on Descending Mistakes To Avoid
Getting it wrong going up hill is bad enough, but make a mistake when descending and it could have far more serious circumstances So here’s what to avoid when the road goes down.
My first time for the vast majority of the time that you’re plummeting down hill you should be looking upwards and forwards at the road ahead, not down directly at the wheel in front of you or the patch of road in front of your front wheel Because if you do this you won’t see what’s coming up ahead, giving you little or no time to take evasive action. Looking down is the reason why many people crash on descends as hazards or sharp bends appear only at the last moment, often forcing the rider to instinctively grab the brakes too hard and lose control or worse. Effective, enjoyable and safe descending is a combination of many different skills, one of which is the ability to brake correctly.
Now one of those common mistakes on descends is the rider to brake too harshly and too late, often midway through a corner, resulting quite often in the back wheel locking up and a quite catastrophic loss of control Which quite often is as a direct result of our previous mistake and that isn’t looking up. So pull on both brakes smoothly, applying more pressure to your front brake as this is your most effective, as is the one that slows you down the fastest Whilst doing this push your weight backwards over the bike to balance the feeling of being thrown forwards Try never to grab your brakes in a panic.
Hurtling down hill at 80 kilometers per hour plus requires confidence, skill, concentration, and above all a stable bike Taking your hands off the bars, especially at very high speeds, leaves you extremely vulnerable So you won’t be in a position to brake and take evasive action. Now this is because things happen much faster at higher speeds, yet you react in exactly the same time you at slower speeds So it’s so important, vital in fact, that you give yourself that time to react.
And having one hand off the handlebars means you won’t be able to brake, let alone steer your bike Which quite frankly, is a recipe for disaster. Don’t ride too close to other riders on descents, especially particularly technical or fast ones. So drop off two or three lengths from the rider in front and that will give you enough space and time to maneuver safely and non-erratically should you wish to do so It also makes sure you got a nice clear, nu-obscured view of the road up ahead
Drop even further back from riders in front in wet conditions to a distance of at least four or even five or six bike lengths Sitting directly on someone’s back wheel on a descent is just asking for trouble, so don’t do it. Most of our riding is of course done on open roads, roads that we share with other traffic, but it’s very easy to get carried away in the euphoria of traveling down hill at high speeds and actually forget that we do share the roads. For that reason, never, ever cut blind corners, the consequences simply don’t bear thinking about.
Stick to your side of the road when going into a blind bend, don’t be tempted to take the racing line. Following those bits of advice should ensure that your descending is far more enjoyable, but above all a lot safer.