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  1. #1
    Senior Member further's Avatar
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    How fast downhill

    A couple years ago I hit my all time top speed of 51.3 mph and was trying any thing I could to go faster. Lately, at about 40 mph I find myself thinking about how much protection the brightly colored underwear we call bicycle kit would offer. If you visualize something, it will probably happen, so I start backing off at about 40 mph.

  2. #2
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by further
    A couple years ago I hit my all time top speed of 51.3 mph and was trying any thing I could to go faster. Lately, at about 40 mph I find myself thinking about how much protection the brightly colored underwear we call bicycle kit would offer. If you visualize something, it will probably happen, so I start backing off at about 40 mph.
    You are getting smarter with age.

    I tend to top off about 35 mph. I keep visualizing sand or pebbles on the road, or a blowout.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

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    BAL
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    Quote Originally Posted by further
    A couple years ago I hit my all time top speed of 51.3 mph and was trying any thing I could to go faster. Lately, at about 40 mph I find myself thinking about how much protection the brightly colored underwear we call bicycle kit would offer. If you visualize something, it will probably happen, so I start backing off at about 40 mph.

    Risk vs. Reward --- Everytime I am tempted to charge downhill or take a corner fast or to move through traffic I keep asking myself what is the Risk vs. the Reward.

    The thrill and excitment of hitting 30+ mph downhill or the ability to get home a few minutes sooner is not worth the risk of hitting the pavement or being hit by a car.

    When it is all said and done, I want to return to the house in the same condition or better than when I left the house. Yes, tired from the workout but in one piece with all of my skin.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by further
    A couple years ago I hit my all time top speed of 51.3 mph and was trying any thing I could to go faster. Lately, at about 40 mph I find myself thinking about how much protection the brightly colored underwear we call bicycle kit would offer. If you visualize something, it will probably happen, so I start backing off at about 40 mph.
    I'm sure that 50 years ago I would frequently exceed 50mph downhill with no helmet, but I had no means of measuring speed. Nowadays, at 45mph all those things mentioned here flash through my mind, but it's still exhilarating!

  5. #5
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I have to +1 all the above.
    George

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    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    About 25 years ago a kid in my neighborhood - about 10 or 12 years old at the time - rode his bike up to the top of a big hill near his house just for the pleasure of a high-speed coast back down. About halfway down the hill there is a moderate right-hand bend. The kid drifted out into the oncoming traffic lane, and met a Jeep coming the other way. He went head-first through the windshield of that Jeep and right out through the back window (soft-top) like a sidewinder missle. Bad head injuries. To this day he has double vision, his right arm is totally paralyzed, right leg partly paralyzed, poor balance, has trouble talking. He's messed up for life!

    I think about him every time I get coasting downhill really fast.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Last time I got into the "Fear Zone" I hit 53 mph on a long straight descent with no auto traffic around. I was riding a freshly repainted & restored Raleigh Super Course with all NOS Shimano 600 running gear & hubs. The bike was extemely stable at speed & I was running fat 32 c tires.

    I never took my eyes off the road so was unaware of my top speed until I checked the max spd at the bottom of the hill. I now limit my speed to around 40 mph. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

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    I've hit 50 a few times, back when I was younger and healed a lot faster. Like you, I start to think too much at around 35-40 now: "OK, everything on this bike was bought off a clearance table and installed by me...."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    one hill in a rural area, 55 mph.

    Small one lane bridge at bottom, grated, 6 inch platform to cross. last time i slowd down to 40mph. when I saw it had a large pothole. I had to ride the edge, a 2 inch strip. No More. thats all the luck I used on this hill.
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  10. #10
    el padre
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    I could have posted first earlier, but did not want to be the weenie/scared one who went first. my top speed give or take is about 25 but then I don't keep my bikes in 'tip-top' shape...since...most of my riding is for exercize, speed is not a concern...that is, not something I need.
    peace

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd
    I could have posted first earlier, but did not want to be the weenie/scared one who went first. my top speed give or take is about 25 but then I don't keep my bikes in 'tip-top' shape...since...most of my riding is for exercize, speed is not a concern...that is, not something I need.
    peace
    My top speed is about the same, and I can't imagine going over thirty, let alone over forty, and way let alone, over fifty. I'm just too chicken.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    You are getting smarter with age.

    I tend to top off about 35 mph. I keep visualizing sand or pebbles on the road, or a blowout.
    +1

    Last year I had a rash of flat tires at the beginning of a ride - five flats in 25 miles. As we were on the return route we hit a big downhill and when I saw 32 mph on the computer the only thing I could think of was how much it was going to hurt if I had another flat and crashed Once I hit the 30 mark I start riding the brakes.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I went down at 25mph on March 28th and I hope it's the last time. My chest is still hurting.
    George

  14. #14
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    I think the older we get, the more aware we are of our own mortality. At least for me anyway. When I was a kid, during the winter, we use to ride our "buzz bikes" down a dirt road that descended from the highway into the river that was iced over. The idea was to "haul tail' down that dirt road and see how far you could ride across the river before you busted your a$$. None of us kids ever made it completely across, but it was fun trying.

    Today, I would'nt dream of pulling such a stupid stunt, but back then we did'nt think about that. To us, everything was based on "I.F." or the "entertainment factor". School did'nt have much of an "I.F.", but riding our bikes across that river did.

    35 mph is about max for me, then I get "skeert" and run home crying to the wife.
    ~ "I like the way the brake cables come out of the top of the levers and loop around to the brake calipers!...I like those downtube shifters too!...No no no, don't take 'em off, don't take 'em off,...leave 'em on, leave 'em on! - Thats right baby!!

    ~BF - Steel Club Member #00051

  15. #15
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    I hit over 50 regularly and hit 55.0 a couple of weeks ago. I hit 30 daily just riding down my street. Hit 32 today on an easy club ride and I'm sure the other 20 people in the group did also. Hmmmm, maybe I just have the risk gene.
    Dennis T

  16. #16
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Don't think I've ever gone more that 30+ on my road bike. I did used to ride motorcycles, and have gone way too fast on them. Luckily, I only ever had one flat, while I had a passenger who had never been on a motorcycle before. Luckily, she just froze, so I was able to get the motorcycle over to the side of the road without wrecking. If she had moved, or tried to "help" me control the bike, we'd have probably crashed. Bicycles are way too small and light for excessive speed, IMHO.

  17. #17
    Do I use too many commas?
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    My personal fastest is 48mph. I regularly hit 30+ on downhills. It just doesn't bother me.

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    They keep telling me that 50 is the new 30. I hate to say it but when I get on a bike- I seem to go back a little further than that to about 16. At 16 you do not know the how much a fall can hurt- plus you bounce quite high at that speed. I see ahill where gravity is acting the right way and I am back to 16. Unfortunatley- as I have found out, I don't bounce quite so high as I used to.

    I suppose it is the training I have got into on the Group rides offroad. The only way I can catch the others is to hit the downhills without any thought of the consequences. I only have a hardtail and the front suspension is set up very hard, but when downhill riders on full suspension bikes have trouble staying with you- Then my hardtail works for me. I have transferred that riding ethic to the road bike, but have to admit to using the brakes on the curves at speed. Don't quite have the confidence yet to exceed 50mph but that will come.

    Now speed= Highest speed was on the tandem- 53.8 on a mile long smooth Downhill offroad. 52.8 on the road- but the traffic got in the way when they braked. Highest speed on the MTB offroad=42mph and the road bike- 48.6
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  19. #19
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    About three years ago, on a then 13 yo steel "mtn bike" weighing about 30 lbs, I hit 39 mph on a steep downhill in the middle of a decent riding area. I sat up to catch the wind and slow down. That was fast enough. That road has no shoulders & a good bit of the time some or all the white paint at the edge of the road is missing due to crumbling pavement. There is even more traffic now than then. I don't ride that road any more.

  20. #20
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    I ride everyday and regularly approach 45 mph for half a minute or so on the longer downhills along my route. On weekends, my riding takes me further afield and there are steeper, longer hills to descend (after having climbed them first!!).

    It is rare that a weekend goes by that I don't exceed 45 mph on those steeper slopes. I used to ride a bike that included a 63-11 longest gear. I could run down slopes at 45 mph and still be pedalling at less than a frantic cadence. I recently lost that bike during a head-on collision with a car - the car was barely moving, and I was "barrelling" along at perhaps 8-10 mph as I rounded a corner. I applied my disc brakes (rear first) as I always do, but, the back tire broke lose and, before I knew it, I was picking myself and my former bike up off the ground.

    My new bike tops out at 56-11 (the large 63T ring could not be accommodated by the new bikes fixed FD setup), so, no more casual pedalling at 45 mph, but I can still tuck, duck, and coast to well over 45 on the new bike.

    I have absolutely no disrespect for those who weight the risks and decide not to exceed a certain speed on their bike - but, for me, that is one of the thrills of riding a road bike - that effortless speed at which you can move - and that surprised, disbelieving glance you get from a motorist who actually has to step on the accelerator to get around you.

    There is risk everywhere, so, for me, I do not feel any less safe riding at 45 mph than I do at 10.

    I have also reached that speed at night on roads with which I am familiar - usually during the return leg on a route that had already travelled earlier that afternoon on the outbound leg. That doesn't guarantee that a brick hasn't fallen off the back of a truck during the interm, or that a deer won't be standing in my path, but, basically, I don't much worry about those things.

    The roads where I would run at that speed are in good shape and generally lightly trafficed by motorists.

    So, there, you have my spiel and my self-justification.

    Interesting thread, by the way.

    Caruso

  21. #21
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Hit 45 with a full touring load at high altitude. Ideal conditions. The next day I passed a Semi going down the east side of Loveland Pass in Colorado. On a loaded fully faired recumbent trike hit 70 MPH on the I-70 frontage road into Denver. The three little brake pads were turned into smoke in seconds when I tried to stop. I had forgotten KE = MVsquared. My left shoe pressed against a tire stopped me eventually.
    This space open

  22. #22
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    I hit 51mph on a long steep downhill somewhere in Geauga County Ohio, years ago. It was scary. It's hard to read the speed on the computer, tucked in, with my nose about an inch away from the numbers. These days, on that same hill, I think I'd be on the brakes sooner.

  23. #23
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    must .... not .... type .... the .... thought - ah, what the heck.

    How many people do you think wear a helmet and yet bomb down a hill at over 30 mph thinking it is actually going to help? Why is it people will go absolutely nuts over the idea of someone riding at low speeds without a helmet but no one will mention that you are risking death and dismemberment going 50 mph?

    Perchance that most of the noise about the protection of helmets is merely advertizing? Yes, it might protect my head some, but I have a few other body parts that are near and dear to me too, my neck is one that comes to mind. I don't mind people encouraging others to wear helmets - but be consistent. According to the manufactors, that helmet is not expected to help much at high speeds.

    How fast do I go down hill? No more than 25 mph - and I have a very good bike in very good repair. As some of you said - I just imagine what it will feel like if I go down. Speed translates into how many layers of skin I wish to lose. Worse yet, if you are going beyond certain speed, there is always a chance to start tumbling and I could just image body parts coming loose.

  24. #24
    tsl
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    Plays in traffic tsl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis
    It's hard to read the speed on the computer, tucked in, with my nose about an inch away from the numbers.
    Next time, wear your bi-focals!
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  25. #25
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I am far more interested in my speed UPhill than down. 30-35mph/50-60kph is as fast as I ever care to go on a bicycle.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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