DESCENDING ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE

Downhill rides are a favourite part of many types of sports. On both road and mountain bikes, the joy of going downhill is unbeatable – when done smoothly. On downhill rides, we enjoy the speed and adrenaline without having to pedal. In this episode of our cycling school, we will talk about how to get down a hill safely.

DOWNHILL TECHNIQUE

When going through any terrain at any speed, we need to make sure the wheels keep turning to avoid skidding. The rider should stay relaxed and calm, avoid sudden movements, and keep watching ahead. If there is an obstacle coming up, we need to spot it in advance. It is too late to do anything about something if we are already on it. We need to be ready for anything when riding.

The rider should keep the pedals horizontal to lessen the risk of contact with the ground. The steeper the hill, the more we should shift our centre of gravity above and behind the saddle. We also need to keep our arms and knees flexible to provide more suspension for the body when needed.

BRAKING DURING A DOWNHIL RIDE

Our index fingers, or optionally both our index and middle fingers, should be placed ready on both brake levers. We use both brakes together when riding downhill.

  • The rear brake helps you consistently control your speed. Its advantage is that it also works to some extent even if the real wheel is fully locked and skidding.
  • There is no need to be afraid to use the front brake, which is actually more effective – as proved by the much shorter braking line when both brakes get tested separately.

GOING OVER THE BARS

If you want to use the front brake hard, you first need to shift you centre of gravity backwards above the saddle. When the front brake is used hard, the rear wheel has a tendency to come up in the air. To prevent yourself going over the handlebars, you should shift your body weight to the pedals, move your trunk backwards and then release the front brake.

Riding down steps

When we face some steps there is no need to get off our bike and walk down them. The key is to approach the steps vertically. The centre of gravity is shifted backwards and your relaxed knees and elbows provide you with the required suspension.

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