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45 mph on an Alpine Decent. Brakes Fail. What to do?

cakewalkcakewalk Posts: 220
edited September 2010 in The bottom bracket
Yes I know it's a daft question - however it passed 1/2 an hour in pub last night.

Anyway you are on one the great European decents. Both brakes fail (lets say the cables snap..) What would you do? What are your options?
"I thought of it while riding my bicycle."
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Posts

  • Hang off the back of the saddle and use one of your balls as a brake on the tyre.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,415
    Pray to all of the gods I can think of just to be on the safe side. Then probably rub all my skin off on inside cliff face.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Use your feet as brakes.... either on the ground or on the tyre. Then crash. Crashing earlier rather than later will probably have a better effect, as speed of crash generally relates to time spent in hospital afterwards. :twisted:
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    Simple. Close your eyes and hope everything will just be alright.
  • slip out of your shorts and off the back of the saddle - then hope that as you brick yourself it will gum up between wheel and frame - accuracy and diet are both key to the degree of success of course so plenty of fibre in the diet might be a good idea if youre thinking of alpine downhilling'

    ....

    or catch up the car in front then hang onto his door handle to slow down
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    edited August 2010
    Press the eject button.

    I was going down a hill in the Yorkshire Dales, it was called Lofthouse, I was on the side after the village, heading East, I was going down the hill, I was doing 40mph, I looked down and notived my tyre was flat!, I could not steer, and the side of a bridge was fast aproaching with a drop into like a stream, I tried to brake, in the end I had to put my cleat down, and it destroyed most of the yellow.

    The cleat still did service for another couple of months after mind, but ever since I'm paranoid about going down hills. Worst thing was, I was on my own, about 80 miles from home, with a pump that was knackered.

    I had to do the remaining 80 miles on about 35PSi, I crawled to BeDale only to find the crappiest bike shop on earth that did NOT have a track pump, but a rather useless portable censored pump.
  • term1teterm1te Posts: 1,462
    There is good advice painted on the roof a church at the bottom of Widcombe hill in Bath for such a situation. "Prepare to meet thy God". I used to see this as I cycled down the hill and often wondered if the sign writer had a sense of humor, or had cut my brake cables.
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566
    The long european descents I've ridden which allow those speeds don't really need brakes. The corners are often soft enough to hold full speed, and the road will invariably level out for you to slow down naturally. Maintaining 40mph+ is the difficult bit!

    Switchbacked roads like Ventoux are another matter. I don't think you'll get 45mph between corners, though; still, if you can, and you're hurtling towards a hairpin with either armco or a big drop, I guess it's best to bail into the verge. Finding the nerve to do that is another matter.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,701 Lives Here
    Worst case scenario - heading towards a hairpin bend...

    Bail!

    Aim for any grass if there is any.
  • Firstly, prepare to damage your own bike... it will end up a write off anyway.

    Then, change into the gear nearest your rear wheel. With a firm back heel kick to the rear mech you will lock it up into the spokes.

    If your going too fast, it may just rip it off, but there's a better chance that the chain/ mech will just lock up the rear wheel... probably the fastest way to stop and maybe even staying upright until you stop... (although you will prob drift/slide the next 50m...)

    Best case scenario.... 1 spoke change, 1 new hanger.. new pair of bib shorts :wink:

    Worst.... well, that's why you spent 30min talking about it...
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    My ex-boss had the front brake mounting bolt snap on an alpine descent. He is a very good bike handler and only just saved it on the rear brake. After getting going again he had to do the rest of the descent and into the nearest town with a bike shop on the rear brake only.

    If both have gone at the same time then it's probably just your 'time'!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    This is the graph of what happened to me...

    Blue line is speed...

    Lost the the back end at just over 40mph (max was 44 but resolution of graph doesn't show this) due to rear locking up on gravel. Straight into the verge. Broke my right leg in 3 places. Note the date!!

    Crashride.jpg
  • surreyxcsurreyxc Posts: 293
    use inside of heel against rear tyre and rim.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I blew my front tyre descending Alpe d'Huez the day after the tour was there. Shed loads of traffic and thats why I''d had to brake so much.

    Luckily there was a left hand hairpin with a bit of a run off so I could stop in a straight line. I dont use 140 PSI any more....
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,637
    Friend of mine had his handlebars fall off descending at 45mph
  • danodano Posts: 7
    NapD

    That was a pretty sudden stop!
    You did well to manage 5mph an hour after it happened though :D
  • Weejie54Weejie54 Posts: 750
    The long european descents I've ridden which allow those speeds don't really need brakes.

    Most sensible answer.
  • cakewalkcakewalk Posts: 220
    Weejie54 wrote:
    The long european descents I've ridden which allow those speeds don't really need brakes.

    Most sensible answer.


    Galibier? Ventoux?
    "I thought of it while riding my bicycle."
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    A quick solution (but expensive and poss.painful) is just turn your front wheel left or right and leave it there. Bike stops,front wheel prob.collapses and you'll leave the bike v.quickly
    M.Rushton
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    dano wrote:
    NapD

    That was a pretty sudden stop!
    You did well to manage 5mph an hour after it happened though :D

    That was Spanielsson moving the bike!

    Yep. 44-0 in a few metres. My leg made a good 'brake' though...
  • mrushston wrote:turn your front wheel left or right and leave it there.

    Did this a few weeks ago at Swinley front jacknifed I sailed on over- it is surprising just how quick you can exit a bike with clipless pedals on....
    Thankfully only at a bout 20mph and managed to miss all the trees, pringled front wheel - now awaiting new one :(
    Trance x5
    Trek 4500 (toddler chariot)
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    cakewalk wrote:
    Weejie54 wrote:
    The long european descents I've ridden which allow those speeds don't really need brakes.

    Most sensible answer.


    Galibier? Ventoux?

    and the rest!! 45mph isn't super fast and I don't even want to consider losing my brakes at that speed
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    edited August 2010
    Climbed a small mountain.in Swi terland.Started to rain..Coming down my brakes didnt work properly in the wet and was building up speed..No crashbarriers on the hairpins..Managed to stop by feetdragging but took ages and ages. and ages...Years after still paranoid of Brake failure..Solution..Brakes on from the very start of the downhill ready to stop.Biggest bummer at the time was completinmg the ride totally uphill but then having to push the bike downhill !
    jc
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I never got over 40mph when I went to the Alps, and I was trying! (Alpe d'Huez / Galibier / Lauteret...
  • shmoshmo Posts: 321
    Crash into the back of your mate and use his brakes? Should be ok as long as you keep his foot out of your front wheel. If you both go then at least you've got something soft to land on.
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566
    napoleond wrote:
    I never got over 40mph when I went to the Alps, and I was trying! (Alpe d'Huez / Galibier / Lauteret...
    The fastest roads I've found in France aren't in either of the big mountain ranges – but the "hills" on the southern edge of the massif, around the Cevennes national park, and inland from Beziers. They're often main roads with fast sweeping corners (still largely empty of traffic), which allow long, fast downhills well over 50mph for much longer than the snatches of high speed you get in Britain.

    Fun as it is going that fast, I prefer more technical, chicaned descents on narrower forest access roads, which are often beautifully paved, and deserted but for the occasional Renault 4. I've had exhilarating downhill rides, never more than 30mph but with the feeling of being on a rollercoaster.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I prefer descents like that too...
  • Weejie54Weejie54 Posts: 750
    and the rest!! 45mph isn't super fast and I don't even want to consider losing my brakes at that speed

    Why build up that speed if you use your brakes? Right enough, if you needed to stop, but the question was simply what you would do if your brakes failed. You shouldn't need them.
  • cakewalkcakewalk Posts: 220
    Weejie54 wrote:
    and the rest!! 45mph isn't super fast and I don't even want to consider losing my brakes at that speed

    Why build up that speed if you use your brakes? Right enough, if you needed to stop, but the question was simply what you would do if your brakes failed. You shouldn't need them.

    Descending Galibier I hit, I think 45. (lot of people we gong past me ...)

    I need to brake for some corners at that speed.

    I could go more slowly and not brake. However I think I would get to the bottom more slowly.
    "I thought of it while riding my bicycle."
  • cakewalkcakewalk Posts: 220
    Weejie54 wrote:
    and the rest!! 45mph isn't super fast and I don't even want to consider losing my brakes at that speed

    Why build up that speed if you use your brakes? Right enough, if you needed to stop, but the question was simply what you would do if your brakes failed. You shouldn't need them.

    Descending Galibier I hit, I think 45. (lot of people we gong past me ...)

    I need to brake for some corners at that speed.

    I could go more slowly and not brake. However I think I would get to the bottom more slowly.
    "I thought of it while riding my bicycle."
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