Not much of a speed demon

dearbarbie
dearbarbie Posts: 15
edited January 2012 in Road beginners
Hey dudes - new road bike...has anyone else got The Fear when doing downhills?!

I go with brakes on all the way....so scared of the speed!!

Comments

  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    dearbarbie wrote:
    Hey dudes - new road bike...has anyone else got The Fear when doing downhills?!

    I go with brakes on all the way....so scared of the speed!!

    Normally touch the breaks when I get to 40mph+ you'll build up in confidence over time :)
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    If you're as bad as me at getting up the hill in the first place then you need to make it up on the descent, never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,550
    markos1963 wrote:
    never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.

    That's the one.

    When you do longer descents, constantly breaking can heat up the rims too much = blowout.
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    markos1963 wrote:
    never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.

    That's the one.

    When you do longer descents, constantly breaking can heat up the rims too much = blowout.

    Definitely, as well as the blow out risk the heat will decrease the braking efficiency of your brakes and being a skinflint I don't like having to replace worn out rims and pads!
  • Confidence will soon pick up. I was doing a hill near me at 25mph initially, and that felt terrifyingly fast. Once you get used to the feel of the bike and know where the bumps & holes in the road are you will be able to do it quicker. I now do the same hill at 40 and whilst cacking myself a bit, it is bloody fun and safe if the conditions are ok.
    Canyon AL Ultimate 9.0
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,859
    there is some technique involved in descending fast and braking, like shifting your weight to the rear so that you can brake later/harder and still keep both wheels on the ground, this is a good read on the subject...

    http://www.flammerouge.je/content/3_fac ... escend.htm
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Maiden voyage yesterday, was amazed how light the steering was (carbon forks) and then in a blink wondered how the heck I'd cling on at speed.
  • rjh299
    rjh299 Posts: 721
    markos1963 wrote:
    never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.

    That's the one.

    When you do longer descents, constantly breaking can heat up the rims too much = blowout.

    That's gonna help with his confidence! :P
  • robbo2011
    robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    On my regular training route I can get up to speeds approaching 45mph in the right conditions. First few times it was a bit scary, but because I know the road is good with no potholes etc, it feels pretty safe now.

    I only go that fast when I am absolutely sure of the road and conditions though. In the UK? I do not go fast, the roads are too bad.
  • rjh299 wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.

    That's the one.

    When you do longer descents, constantly breaking can heat up the rims too much = blowout.

    That's gonna help with his confidence! :P

    HER :P

    Thanks guys. I guess it will come...I think I'm just scared of losing my balance or flipping over some loose rocks on a country road or something...or slipping.....
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,550
    dearbarbie wrote:
    rjh299 wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    never touch the brake unless it's absolutely neccessary.

    That's the one.

    When you do longer descents, constantly breaking can heat up the rims too much = blowout.

    That's gonna help with his confidence! :P

    HER :P

    Thanks guys. I guess it will come...I think I'm just scared of losing my balance or flipping over some loose rocks on a country road or something...or slipping.....

    Soon you'll be asking "how do I go downhill faster?" and the answer will still be the same. Brake less.

    Beyond that, best tip I learnt was to press hard on the outside pedal when going around corners.

    No idea why it works - probably doesn't add any real value - but it made a big difference to my cornering.
  • nonshy
    nonshy Posts: 22
    sungod - in that article it contradicts itself in second paragraph:

    However, being able to descend quickly is an art. You either have it or you don't. The good thing is, it's all learnable. You can get it!
  • The next question has got to be 'what is your top speed on a descent?'
    My fastest descent was coming off Dartmoot towards Tavistock. Out training with my brother. Clear day, tail wind, good roads etc and hit 50.9 mph. My brother made 50.4 mph.
    Very exciting, but wouldn't want to come off at that speed!
  • sagalout
    sagalout Posts: 338
    Not the best time of year to be practising it to be honest. Just take it as steady as you like when the roads are wet and greasy, but you can lean the bike a surprising amount with good tyres and dry roads :)
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Ride in the drops and avoid holding the bars with a tight grip or putting too much weight on them. Take your weight off the saddle and shift your weight backwards to improve the stability of the bike. You should be almost balanced on your feet. Leaning through corners, put your outside foot down to avoid pedal strike. In the dry you can lead with the front brake, but in the wet lead with the rear brake and test the braking in a straight line so you know what to expect when you arrive at the corner.
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • RDB66
    RDB66 Posts: 492
    Its also worth trying, Clamping the Top Tube with your Knees..not too tight mind !!
    A Brother of the Wheel. http://www.boxfordbikeclub.co.uk

    09 Canyon Ultimate CF for the Road.
    2011 Carbon Spesh Stumpy FSR.
  • bjl
    bjl Posts: 353
    To be honest , i am a "scaredy cat" descender, can't seem to let go and let it flow, don,t like desending in wind at all and don't trust the generally terrible road surface. Don't often go above 50/53 kph. Rascal - like your advice and am working on it but just really struggle to "let go". Bike fit is fine, been fitted, sure it's to do with nerves and tension -also being around traffic at speed makes me nervy. Any tips on gaining confidence.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    To be honest, I usually find I'm concentrating so hard on what's coming up on the road that I don't have time to get scared. Sounds weird, I know.
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • mcp73
    mcp73 Posts: 93
    I've managed 48.9 mph (with a headwind). I ran out of road before I could hit 50. I suspect increasing your speed is a question of building confidence.
  • briantrumpet
    briantrumpet Posts: 18,804
    The next question has got to be 'what is your top speed on a descent?'
    Please no, just no.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    bjl wrote:
    Any tips on gaining confidence.

    Absolutely no substitute for experience, so practice, practice, practice.

    I'd suggest the following drills.

    Get on a quiet road with a gentle slope that doesn't make you nervous:

    Ride down it as fast as you possibly can so that you get used to going at a higher speed than normal riding without it being gravity that is pulling you and making you feel out of control.

    Secondly ride down a slightly steeper slope where you can roll along at around 20 mph without needing to pedal and simply weave down the road learning how your bike handles and to trust both it and yourself. Vary your position on the bike. Lean left, lean right, hang over the back of the saddle, lean forward, practice both brakes in and out of the drops, take a drink, juggle, go to the toilet (sorry, forget last two suggestions).

    Repeat this drill a bit faster as you become more confident.

    Gradually, your trust in your abilities and the bike will improve and you'll be confident on steeper faster descends without a doubt.

  • Beyond that, best tip I learnt was to press hard on the outside pedal when going around corners.

    No idea why it works - probably doesn't add any real value - but it made a big difference to my cornering.

    Not quite the same thing, but works on superbikes too. It always seemed to help with stability and "feel".