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Learn to brake properly when you are on your bike it is very important and in some dangerous situations it could even save your life.
How to brake on a bike: basic concepts
Every bike it is equipped with two brakes, one for each hand, one for each wheel; in this way we will have a front and a rear brake. To make braking more effective and safer, you need to pay attention to how each brake is used.
Some amateur cyclists recommend to brake simultaneously with both wheels, this is good advice for beginners but certainly the cyclist will not get fast and safe braking, which with a little practice can be achieved by managing both brakes in the best possible way; Using the rear brake individually means considerably increasing the braking time. Technically, it is the front brake that is most stressed because the front wheel, loading itself with weight, increases grip with the road surface, with grip will consequently also increase the braking performance.
If you snap only the front brake, when pedaling at a high speed, the rear wheel may lift off the ground. In this situation the rear wheel will not contribute at all to braking since it lacks traction, sometimes, even if the rear wheel remains fixed to the ground, the cyclist undergoes a strong push forward and in any case it will be difficult to maintain a healthy cycling balance; So how brake on a bike correctly? The strategy is to properly manage both brakes, without forgetting the road ground conditions and body position. In other words, brake on a bike correctly, it is the result of three factors: brake management, road holding and rider position.
How to brake on a bike: the position
: it is important to keep your arms properly on the handlebars in order to reinforce both balance and braking itself. A good technique involves moving the body towards the rear edge of the saddle, thereby shifting the center of gravity towards the rear wheel. By shifting the weight backwards, the rear wheel will be kept attached to the ground as much as possible, greater grip means better braking.
How to brake on a bike: road conditions:
more experienced cyclists can to brake 95% of the time, using the front brake almost alone. This absolutely must not be done when road conditions are more precarious. With slippery surfaces - in case of rain or swamps -, using only the front brake means increasing the risk of skidding and falling, as well as with surfaces that are too rough - in case of stones and gravel. In these conditions it is best to control speed with the rear brake. When the road surface is dry and linear, braking times could be optimized using mainly the front brake.
How to brake on a bike: the brakes
: a good braking strategy could be the one used by many professional riders, that is to brake with little taps on the brakes. The aim of the cyclist must be not to overheat the brake pads and wheel rims. The high temperature decreases braking efficiency, the wheels most at risk are those given by carbon rims and brake pads equally made of fiber. Unfortunately, carbon tends to retain heat, therefore the materials used can have a great impact on braking performance; a professional rider will use carbon rims and skates in case of rain, when rainwater can help lower the temperature of the wheels, in other cases it is better to prefer non-rubbery materials. In general it is possible to say that the front brake has the best braking capacity and the rear one can be used as a frame. When to use both brakes simultaneously? If the front brake is not strong enough it is good to use both brakes, as well as when riding in the mountains, where there are long descents or when bending before a bend. During a curve, the traction is distributed between braking and turning. Using both brakes simultaneously reduces the likelihood of skidding, in such conditions it must be remembered that the more you bend the less you can to brake, therefore the speed must be moderate before a curve.
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