Do you love to ride your bike, but the descend scares you? The ascend is worthwhile work, but you’re afraid you might hurt yourself while coming down? Or are you afraid you might lose control at such a high speed and end up in the ER? Or rather, you’re a huge fan of speed, but you also want to make the descend safe?
Tips to Descend like a Pro
Bike riding is fun, but things like these can be terrifying as well. Due to the high speed of descending a road, you will think that you don’t have to work so hard. Wrong! Descending isn’t the time for rest. Although you should feel fluid and at ease, you should follow specific tips to reach the slop’s end in one piece.
1. Look Where You are Going
While coming down a slope, you should make sure to look ahead of yourself and not get distracted. This is essential because your bike will go where your eyes are fixed. So unless you want to end up in the grass or shrubs, make sure to look ahead and not around. Therefore, keep your eyes on the lane you want to take, not the obstacles you want to avoid.
Also, you need to make sure not to look down on the road. If you look ahead of yourself, you will have ample time to avoid any serious problems because you will react to them in time. If you look at other things or just ahead of your handles, you won’t be able to respond and might get seriously injured.
2. Brake Before Cornering
Your brake is one of the most essential pieces of equipment on your bike that helps you descend smoothly and safely. Like most people, you might think that braking while taking the corner is the way to go. But it’s quite the opposite. You should never brake while cornering but before it.
The fastest way you can cross a corner is without braking. That is why you should brake to your required speed before coming to the corner and make sure not to brake while cornering. If you do so, your tires will be at risk of losing contact with the tarmac.
Additionally, abruptly braking at corners can result in serious injuries. During descends, you are riding your bike at a very high speed, and a sudden interruption can be severe. So if you are going to grab your brakes during cornering, make sure you do it slowly and smoothly.
3. Hands-on Your Handles
Because of the high speed, descending can be scary because you’re afraid you might lose control. To get your control on your bike even at such a high speed, never remove your hands from your handle. Keep a good grip on the lower bars of your bike’s handles.
By doing so, you have instant control over your bike. In addition to that, this lowers your center of gravity. A lowered center of gravity means that your body has more stability. By lowering your body, you add to your bike’s aerodynamics, increasing the speed, and you don’t have to put in too much work.
Moreover, keeping your hands on the bars sufficiently increases your control. This makes it a lot safer to descend even at high speed because there are lesser chances of you falling after colliding with any obstacle. Lowered center of gravity also gives you the stability and speed you need for cornering.
4. Be Awareness
Descending is a fast activity, but it needs not to be a risky one. Speed is the one thing that makes descending daunting, but if you are aware of what’s around you, you have no need to be afraid. First and foremost, you need to be mindful of the road ahead.
You need to be wary of potholes, gravel, rocks, oil, etc., to avoid while you are coming down. This is necessary because you’re descending at high speed, and contact with any of these things can be hazardous. But you should make sure that these aren’t your main focus because that needs to be the road ahead.
5. Optimize Weight Distribution
Another thing that can help you descend smoothly is utilizing your body correctly. Don’t be stiff while riding but try to use your weight to your advantage. You can do this by maneuvering your body according to the situation. But you should make sure to lean the bike more than your body.
When you are cornering, place your body weight through the outside of your foot. At the same time, keep your peddle at the 6 o’clock position. Additionally, use the inside of your hand to hold the tire firmly on the road without slipping. This will help you cut those sharp corners smoothly. Furthermore, while you’re braking, pull your weight back to counter the deceleration force.
6. Never Pedal on Sharp Corners
One mistake you can make is pedaling on sharp corners. Never do this unless you want to hurt yourself. This is very dangerous because you slightly lean to one side when you take corners, and if you paddle while cornering, your paddle can make contact with the road.
If your paddle comes in contact with the road it can cause your back tire to rise up in the air. If your tire loses contact with the road, it will make you lose stability and control over your bike. This can make you slip or fall and, at high speed, can be gravely dangerous.
Brakes and tires are the two most essential pieces of equipment for a biker. Thus, you need to make sure that your tires are always in optimal condition. Your tires give you the traction you need when descending at high speed. That is why you need to make sure that their pressure is always according to the required conditions. Your tire’s pressure needs to be checked and maintained according to the weather and roads.
You should do this, especially in wet conditions. Depending on your weight, for wet conditions, have your tires pressure at 80/90 PSI. This will offer you the necessary grip for wet roads. In addition to that, the quality of the tire also makes a huge difference. This is because a low-quality tire will wear easily and can become a safety hazard. That’s the reason why you should equip your bike with the best tires available.
8. Personal Space
If there is one thing you can never control while descending, no matter how hard you try, that is what others do. That’s why you should keep a safe distance from other riders while descending. When you’re going so fast, you never know when what might happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
By keeping a safe distance from other bikers you get an ample view of the road ahead. This makes it easier for you to look at the road while also looking out for possible obstacles. In addition to that, this personal space gives you time to react immediately and push brakes if the need arises.
9. Follow an Expert
One thing that stands true is learning from a pro. When you try to tackle something yourself, you might limit yourself due to fear or a personal block. By following someone who already knows how to descend smoothly, you will learn a lot and be at ease while descending.
Your brain tends to believe what you see as something you are experiencing for yourself. That is why, if you practice descending by following someone else’s lead, you will improve significantly quicker. You will not be able to improve this fast if you try to tackle it by yourself.
Mentioned above are some of the ways you can descend on a road bike in a fast, fun, and safe manner. Descending can be an intimidating thing for you, but it can be gratifying if you just have a little confidence. If you want to descend like a pro, just follow these tips, and you, too, will start descending like a professional in no time.
Riding a road bike is a very healthy and entertaining activity. The freedom you feel and the control you exhibit are all the highs of this activity. But what about the lows? Literally? Descending can be terrifying for many bikers as you never know what might happen at that speed. But it need not be like that. All you need to do is exercise the tips mentioned above, and you will be able to conquer those descends instantaneously.