29 Jan How to descend faster on a road bike?
When descending on a road bike, most riders use their big gears to help them slow down and maintain control. While this is effective for many types of riding, it does not work well when the road becomes steep or technical. To descend quickly and safely, try these best bmx bikes for beginners.
If you’re a road cyclist, chances are you’ve fallen off the bike at least once. But even if you don’t fall, crashing is a part of riding in general. In fact, you might think that cycling crashes are so common that they become normal. While it’s true that many cyclists do crash or fall at some point, cycling is actually safer than it was decades ago. Especially if you know how to descend safely.
How to descend faster on a road bike?
- Use your brakes correctly.
When descending on a road bike, it’s important to use your brakes correctly. This means braking gradually and not locking up the wheels. If you lock up the wheels, you’ll lose control and could crash.
- Shift down into a low gear.
When descending, it’s a good idea to shift down into low gear. This will help you slow down. Also, when you’re in low gear, the bike will descend smoothly and safely without causing much stress on your body. Remember to click out of the top gears before going down a steep downhill section so that your derailleur doesn’t shift into one of them automatically (which may cause you to lose control).
- Keep rider smoothly in line with handlebars.
When descending on obstacles like ramps or railroad tracks, it’s a good idea to keep your body as straight as possible. By keeping your bike in line with the handlebars, you’ll ensure a smooth ride and will be able to brake and shift when necessary without needing to realign yourself or the bike.
- Avoid using too big of gears.
Whereas some riders like shifting up into higher gears for long downhills because they can use their full strength on them, this isn’t a good idea. If you shift up into very large gears, your chain will come off of the larger sprockets and increase the risk of falling or crashing.
- Ride with extreme caution.
When riding on extremely steep downhills, it’s necessary to ride cautiously at all times for your own safety—not only could you crash, but other riders may not be able to see where they are going and might crash into you. If there are any areas of the trail that scare you, slow down until those are behind you (or don’t go over them at all). Being safe is far more important than showing off for other riders.
Practicing Your Downhill Riding Skills
Downhill trail sections are great places to practice turning and shifting, braking like a pro, controlling your bike’s speed during jumps or drops, etc. Also, it’s easiest for beginners to practice these skills in an empty parking lot or field.
As a beginner mountain bike downhill rider, it can be tough to know where you should start with your riding skill development. So here is my advice:
- Build muscle strength first. You won’t feel confident on technical terrain until you have developed the necessary fitness and physical strength to go with it. Your body will tire quicker than you feel like it should, so take things slow and build up your strength by riding at an easy pace (not too hard!) for 30-45 minutes on flat terrain every time that you ride. Try not to push yourself when developing strong fitness—if going any faster would make you crash, then just practice shifting and braking skills instead of speed!
- Get comfortable in a straight line before trying to ride tricky terrain at speed. One of the most common causes of crashes when riding downhill is over correcting due to lack of confidence in your bike handling skills and not having enough muscle strength/stamina yet (due to inexperience). So use that as an excuse for going super slow! The more you practice, the better you’ll get—and don’t forget that it can take some time before those muscles grow strong from your weight training.
- Keep your body position relaxed as you ride on technical terrain so if anything unexpected happens, then there will be more room for error before getting knocked off balance by gravity—and also so you can use your body as a spring when bouncing off of rocks or roots. You’ll want to keep most of the weight on the rear wheel for greater traction, but do experiment with shifting your weight forward and back—just remember that it will make you faster if more weight is put on the front tire with technical terrain at speed because less rolling resistance means higher speeds!
- Wear a good quality helmet that fits snugly and looks cool too!
- Make sure your pads fit well, especially around the knees and elbows—these will prevent nasty scabs or worse from happening if you bail off of your bike.
- Use shatter-resistant sunglasses/goggles to protect your eyes from bugs, dirt and other things that may come flying towards you while riding downhill (and during crashes!).
- Wear good quality shoes that fit snugly and offer traction for riding on slippery soil (or avoid slick terrain), so you don’t slip or twist your ankle!
- Always wear gloves—even when it’s cold because there are still plenty of things to hit while biking downhill super-fast, like sticks from the trees above.
- Always have your cell phone in a good-fitting pocket so you can call for help if something bad happens—or just to let people know exactly where you are and that you’re chillin’ at the bottom of some amazing trails!
Descending faster on a road bike is one of the most important skills you can learn as a cyclist. This skill is required in any type of cycling, and it’s especially crucial when riding down steep hills or big drops. To master this skill, you’ll need to have an understanding of how to use your bodyweight properly while descending and understand how gravity works on a bike. You’ll also need to be able to keep control of your speed while descending, which means having good brakes and a strong leg power that allows you to put all your energy into each pedal stroke.
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