June 08, 2021

Braking is one the habits that you least think about when riding. The truth is that, in addition to riding more safely, knowing how to brake on a bike will help you move better and faster no matter your physique or level of strength, but rather simply your technique and experience.

The first thing is to start to understand the science behind braking🤓. When we ride our bike, we are generating kinetic energy, which when braking, transforms into heat through the friction of our wheels. As the energy we carry is lost, it's very important to know when to use the brakes and not take our effort pedaling for granted.

Independent of whether or not your bike has only a front brake, only a rear brake, or both, it is the front brake that does most of the work. When braking, the inertia takes all of our weight towards the front, which results in the effort to brake being 70% from the front brake and 30% from the rear brake.

This distribution of effort forces us to have to know when and how to brake correctly. Some tips:

  • When braking, lower your body bringing your hip towards the back of the seat, so you will have a tighter grip and you will have a more stable position of the bike.
  • Don't be afraid to use the rear brake. If you position your body correctly, the risk of going forward is almost nonexistent.
  • Relax your arms and use them to alleviate the force of the brake and to better control your bike.
  • Avoid applying excessive force when using the rear brake, you could make yourself lose grip and skid your rear wheel.

Curves

Curves are one of those scenarios that really puts our braking skills to the test. We are going to divide it into 4 stages:

Preparation

This is the stage that goes before braking. Here we stop pedaling and we worrying about being aware of our surroundings: we focus on who's behind us, the conditions of the ground, if there are any drain grates, etc. This is the ideal moment to signal that we are going to turn or stop.

Remember to always signal with your arms before you turn or stop

Braking

Here is where we have to put what we talked about into practice. Be careful of your body position and stop your bike, prioritizing keeping control.

Curve

Contrary to popular belief, during the curve you should never brake, doing it will make us lose grip with the ground. In this moment the most important thing is to let the bike take us without pedaling, and leaning your body in the direction that you want to go. A basic tip, but very important, is to always looks towards the end of the curve, this helps our body naturally follow in line.

Exit

After passing the curve, we can start to accelerate. This is the moment in which we begin to pedal looking to regain our rhythm.

 

Bonus Track

Many important factors influence our success when braking. In addition to those already mentioned, it's always important to have extra precaution with the following topics:

Conditions of the ground

Braking will greatly depend on the grip that our tires have. Streets with holes, cobblestones or gravel will make it difficult for this to happen so you should be careful and brake more gradually rather than suddenly.

Rain

With rain, the performance of our brakes decreases, which is translated into longer distances braking and a worse grip with the ground. On days like that, you should steer carefully and with the most anticipation as possible. Look out for the "first rain" call that happens after a long time of no rain and revives all the grease and oil from the streets.

Tire Pressure

While lower pressure in the tires improves our grip with the ground, it also makes it more difficult to steer, especially when we curve. It's ideal to always have the recommended pressure, no more, no less.

We hope that you liked this post. Putting these simple tips into practice improves your technique and helps you pedal more safely and efficiently. What other types of posts you would like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments!


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