I'm pretty new to serious riding and I'm trying to increase my milage, get a little stronger, a little lighter, and a little more comfortable on a bike.
On my ride yesterday I found myself going down a long steep hill in a residential area -- no traffic, fortunately, but stop signs at the bottom -- and I could slow my bike but not stop it.
I guess my question is, what stopping power should I expect? This is an old Schwinn with the original sidepull brakes but good pads, and I weigh 270 lbs. I never came close to locking up either the rear or the front and I know I could have applied more force to the brake handles but it felt like a lot. In fact, maybe I'm not braking well because I'm afraid of locking up the wheels, especially at speed going downhill.
Should a guy my weight expect to be able to stop this bike at the bottom of a steep hill? Can you tell when you're close to locking up the wheels?
I'm thinking I need more practice in bike handling. Do I also need new brakes? A new bike?