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  1. #1
    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Do you "cover the brake?"

    After years of motorcycle riding I'm fairly conditioned to having my hand on the brake lever at all times. Its saved my life on my BMW. I find myself doing the same on my Dahon and its already paid dividends.

    Anyone else?

  2. #2
    Bicycling Gnome
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    I always have my hands on the levers on bike paths where I can't see what is coming around bends. One path I ride near the university most days has poor visibility on one particular bend and the track is narrow and busy. Given the poor lane dicipline of many cyclists, I have had a couple of very narrow escapes there when headlong hurtling student lads just appeared ten feet in front of me on my side of the pathway.

    I hate cyclists who don't operate the normal rule of the road on bike paths. Some fools think it isn't mandatory and that they can ride whichever side they like and change it from moment to moment. As you approach such anarchistic people, you often have no idea what they will do. I revert to the left if I'm in the middle of the track when I spot them, but some are as likely as not to go to the same side as me, creating a crash situation.

    I also cover the brake on hills or when the road surface looks bad.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Not always, but if Im approaching an uncertain environment I do.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  4. #4
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    I think all of us cover the brakes sometimes. It's really a matter of where your threshold lies, above which you cover the brakes. For example, on the business streets near my house, with weekday traffic, I keep the brakes covered at all times. The same streets, early on Sunday morning, don't merit that type of caution, because I'm almost the only one on them. On steep uphills I'm rarely on the brakes as well. I'm usually so slow that it's close to being stopped anyway.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being riding no-hands, arms folded at chest, and ten being covering the brakes at every moment, I'd put myself at a 7. I'm getting up there in years now, and don't bounce back from falls like I used to, and I've had enough road rash already to last me the rest of my life. I still take risks, but they're a bit more measured.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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    — or not . . .
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  5. #5
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - i've installed in-line levers on all my road bikes... this gives me the in-lines or brifters for braking...

    - and since i ride mostly in the tops, the in-lines get the use and are most handy...

    - in-lines are cheap insurance and still leave handlebar real estate...

  6. #6
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Yes. While riding in mid traffic, rear wheel is almost with pads touching the rim all the time. Fast brakes, eye contact with drivers and strong lungs to make people notice me works better than a helmet.

  7. #7
    Senior Member psykoocycle's Avatar
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    Depends...

    In urban traffic = 2 fingers on both brakes and it never ever comes off...

    City path, Mountain trails = usually none, but will have 2 fingers on rear brakes depending on terrain and what is coming...

    this has saved me from many, many accidents...

    however, a motorcycle would be different... I would be on the brakes at almost all times...

  8. #8
    Senior Member jnb-rare's Avatar
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    It depends for me, too. I always have my fingers on the brake levers in traffic (street or bike path) or unknown and uneven terrain. But when a safe opportunity presents itself, I'll change hand positions and that doesn't always include the brakes. Occasionally I'll sit up for a while and stretch with just the tips of one hand's fingers on the bar (not quite hands-free).

    Gotta watch out for those squirrels, though. They love to freak you out by dashing in front of your wheels.

  9. #9
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnb-rare View Post
    Gotta watch out for those squirrels, though. They love to freak you out by dashing in front of your wheels.
    - the tree rodents were out en masse today... during one loop on a favorite ride, a Sciurus carolinensis ran out between my riding partner and i, then proceeded, at 15mph, to spin in circles between our bikes before deciding to exit underneath my bottom bracket - the miscreant animal received a good 'whack' from my left foot...

  10. #10
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    Always cover the brake (also learned that from MC riding). But only cover the front brake. The rear brake in an emergency is essentially worthless, it provides very little braking force, and it will make your rear skid very easily which can cause you to lose control.

    The only time you should use the rear brake, and rear brake only, is in very slippery conditions, deep sand, gravel, wet grass, etc. Then use only the rear because if you use the front, it will skid and drop you immediately.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
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  11. #11
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    Yes. While riding in mid traffic, rear wheel is almost with pads touching the rim all the time. Fast brakes, eye contact with drivers and strong lungs to make people notice me works better than a helmet.
    Getting eye contact can be a problem. Just haf an hour ago I was riding past a hospital entrance when some daffy bird arrived at the stop sign coming out of the hospital, looked left and drove right at me with her head turned around the other way. This is the second time in a month I've nearly been hit by a sub 20 year old girl in a small car, both times an identical scenario. I'm starting to get paranoid. Both times they just shot off making vulgar gestures at my attempted remonstrations. They seem to have no idea of the responsibility to others that driving a car places on you - and no respect for anyone else.

    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux_author View Post
    Sciurus carolinensis ran out between my riding partner and i, then proceeded, at 15mph, to spin in circles between our bikes before deciding to exit underneath my bottom bracket - the miscreant animal received a good 'whack' from my left foot...

    You brute!

    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  13. #13
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Getting eye contact can be a problem. Just haf an hour ago I was riding past a hospital entrance when some daffy bird arrived at the stop sign coming out of the hospital, looked left and drove right at me with her head turned around the other way. This is the second time in a month I've nearly been hit by a sub 20 year old girl in a small car, both times an identical scenario. I'm starting to get paranoid. Both times they just shot off making vulgar gestures at my attempted remonstrations. They seem to have no idea of the responsibility to others that driving a car places on you - and no respect for anyone else.


    Mate, if you're quick enough next time.....kick her door in or throw your bidon at her.

  14. #14
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
    Mate, if you're quick enough next time.....kick her door in or throw your bidon at her.
    Yeah I just really need a conviction for criminal damage to some bint's car. You taught me a new word Steve, - Bidon. I had to look that up, and yes, I see the advantage. More of a gesture than an act of carnage. LOL.

    Well. Time to get right back up on that horse.....


    Wheeeeeeeeee --- --- -e-- e-e - e-e CRUNCH!

    'Look, that girl just ran over an old git on a bike."

    "Huh? Oh yeah. Serves the fool right."

    (He really knew it wasn't his day when he set off)
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  15. #15
    Senior Member doktoravalanche's Avatar
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    I've always got a finger on both brake levers, either fully in the drops or on the brake hoods. Both brakes. I get fed up with reading 'oh only use the front brake, blah blah'. What a load of pants that is. Both brakes, with modulation, depending on road conditions, will help you stop and slow down much better than just one at either end. And you can link to whatever website you like to 'prove' it, it's anecdotal and depends on riding style. And anybody who can't control a rear wheel skid has no business being on a bike anyway. Of course, with correct modulation you wont skid, unless it's icy or you're doing it deliberately - i like to 'fishtail' the rear sometimes just for the hell of it - it makes car drivers back off, obviously they think you can't control a rear skid either...

  16. #16
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Yeah I just really need a conviction for criminal damage to some bint's car. You taught me a new word Steve, - Bidon. I had to look that up, and yes, I see the advantage. More of a gesture than an act of carnage. LOL.

    Well. Time to get right back up on that horse.....


    Wheeeeeeeeee --- --- -e-- e-e - e-e CRUNCH!

    'Look, that girl just ran over an old git on a bike."

    "Huh? Oh yeah. Serves the fool right."

    (He really knew it wasn't his day when he set off)

    I had an idiot in a Porsche passing traffic on a narrow road coming straight at me, (I was kitted out in bright lycra), no thinking if my hands were near the brakes, but a threatened bidon on his windscreen might make him think twice if he tries that again....maybe, but next time I will throw it.

  17. #17
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
    I had an idiot in a Porsche passing traffic on a narrow road coming straight at me, (I was kitted out in bright lycra), no thinking if my hands were near the brakes, but a threatened bidon on his windscreen might make him think twice if he tries that again....maybe, but next time I will throw it.
    See if you can find a nice thick glass bottle to fit the holders on your frame.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  18. #18
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Something like the old long-neck Coca Cola bottles?
    This not the first time it's happened, once I was on long training ride, 160+ kms, and another idiot did the same, but this time when I put my hands up in the air as a sign of exasperation, he gave me the "bird".
    So my life is worth that little............

  19. #19
    Bicycling Gnome
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    I heard a comedy show on the radio making fun of running down cyclists today.

    Twats - eh. The point is some people think it's funny.

    Having said that Steve, most drivers are considerate and safe. I did a ride on my TSR 30 with one of my sons today. We rode 40 miles at an average of 17.8 mph. Only one driver passed me too close - a stupid individual who thought it was better to pass me within about ten inches on an empty road. Most - 99.9% moved into the other lane, giving me at least four feet of clearance.

    I am relaxing in an endorphin induced high at the moment - enhanced by half a bottle of Australian red and a curry.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

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