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Thread: Im a bad biker

  1. #1
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    Im a bad biker

    Ok I have been bike commuting a lot over the past few years with my roady and I am a bad biker. I guess im a bad road biker, I hate going fast, I really dont like bombing down hills. I've discovered that depending on the steepness of the hill I will lower my speed, decently steep hills i wont go faster than 30kph but im fine with going fast on flat roads (~50kph for about 5min).

    There are 2 big things that scare me while im going fast:
    1: Ability to stop fast enough without going over the bars... I have my brakes adjusted nicely so if i just slammed them i would go over... the going over doesnt scare me its just the distance it takes me to stop without going over the bars scares me... what if i have to stop fast :S

    2: Road bums, shimmy and pot holes and things. Roads aren't flat there are bumps everywhere and when you are going fast those bumps are really intense. Its scary crap. Plus taking a spill (which im only ever scared will happen on a hill) is way more intense.

    Can I get rid of this fear? do others share this with me? I've never met a biker who didnt like going fast

    Is this fear founded? are the bumps going to make me spill or just feel uncomfortable?

    How can I limit my speeds without always just holding my brakes? I like having a roady but it wish it slowed down on the way down hills and I live near many hills.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    Am I a crap biker as well? Because 18 miles an hour (30kph) does not seem slow to me!

    50kph = 31 mph... and you are concerned about going too fast! I would say you are a brilliant biker and should be in the Olympics!

    If you are concerned with going over the bars... put your behind over the back of the seat when you brake so there is more weight on the back wheel.

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    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fairly reasonable fear level to me. I like the center-of-gravity management suggested by the poster above.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

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    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I tell you what. I've got one hill that causes me to back way off. Less than halfway down and the speed creeps up to above 30mph, with the steep part coming up, I find my thoughts drifting to things like blown out tires, unexpected gravel on the road, and just all kinds of possibilities.

    Now, if I could get 30mph under my own power, I would consider myself bad, too.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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    You know its funny i read this because im the same way. I wouldnt call my situation fearful though, just unpleasant.
    I seem to find my rides much more enjoyable if i just take it easy and ride at a slow pace. Where i live its extremely bumpy with potholes as well, and feel like im just destroying my bike by hitting some of these holes any faster.
    Ive hit some potholes at night with such force that i was baffled at the fact i didnt break or untrue my wheels. In one such case i hit so hard, that my handlebars had to be readjusted, because they leaned foward.

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    It seems like no once thinks im crazy, which i suppose is good... meaning I wont ever feel comfy going fast but im in the majority.

    seem to find my rides much more enjoyable if i just take it easy and ride at a slow pace. Where i live its extremely bumpy with potholes as well, and feel like im just destroying my bike by hitting some of these holes any faster.
    I'm not concerned about breaking my bike per se, but hitting something which dislodges me from my bike, or makes my bike falldown (ie blown tire) with me attached scares me.

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    Senior Member skol's Avatar
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    agree with earlier post get your weight back behind seat to help absorb bumbs but other than that I am with you - I realize I have to get up in the morning and go to work and can't afford to take to many chances at this point in my life

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    Senior Member skol's Avatar
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    plus I think the real challange and fun begins when the road heads uphill and don't mind losing some ground while descending so don't sweat it

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    Quote Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
    im fine with going fast on flat roads (~50kph for about 5min).
    .
    A pro caliber rider scared of braking? Crazy.
    i may have overreacted

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    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    Anything over 20-25mph and the Darwin alarms start going off for me. >30mph and I start slowing down. Once I got a year or two of driving under my belt I stopped speeding, not worth the risk IMO.
    Far more risky on a bike to go at any real speed, since the only defense from injury you have is your skin, and that doesn't help much.
    You've got a bike, so you gotta move.

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    I don't think you are crazy, but I think most of you need to learn to brake properly. That means learning proper control of the front brake. If you understand and can use the brakes well, most of the fear should go away.

    You didn't say what kind of bike/tires either. Skinny tires are not so fun hitting big bumps at speed. I run Marathon Supremes 700x40, if a small car can take it without worry, so can I.

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    Zan
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    I actually took a spill at 50kph. It's not fun. I didn't break anything, but had a bunch of burns up my arm and on my hip. A friend cut me off and took out my front wheel.

    After that I had a fear of going down hills at high speed, but no problem on the flats.

    I think what it was that made be nervous was the more-tilted-forward position relative to flat, and bad depth perception (is that a pothole, a bump, or are my eyes just deceived 'cause of the incline sorta thing).

    I got a new bike and now I don't fear it at all. There is no high-speed wobble and the ride is so smooth with a CF fork + seatpost, as well as slick tires. The bumps make me nervous, like you. Are your tires over inflated? Try dropping something like 10psi and you'll soak up bumps easier.

    I mountain bike, so have a bit of "mountain biking style" while riding the road bike. When descending, I'll usually lift off the saddle and hover a half inch or inch above the saddle (of course I don't pedal in this position, and I usually stop pedaling when riding over 50km/h). As well, although I try to avoid potholes, if one were to catch me off guard, I'd bunny hop over the thing. I'm usually traveling fast enough to clear anything even if I get only a half inch or inch of air.

    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

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    Now that I think about it I started slowing down on hills when I hit a car. The car pulled out of a side road and it was fairly far ahead so I expected it to go down the hill but it turned downhill (tricked me) and stopped, because of the hill and my speed i couldnt stop in time, a car was in beside me so i couldnt change lanes and the car (the one i hit) had cut off the shoulder a bit. I hit the car and flew into the ditch, stayed upright but it was scary. I was never a speed demon before that but it didnt help :S

    As for my bike its an all-steel miele roady ~1980. 700x25 tires, I keep them fairly highly inflated because sometimes i hit things and get pinched. You think larger tires would help?

    I also bunnyhop things if i have to when im going fast but i dont like it.

    Maybe I need to practice braking at high speeds. :S

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    Quote Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
    im fine with going fast on flat roads (~50kph for about 5min).
    You need to set a smaller wheel circumference into your computer

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    You need to set a smaller wheel circumference into your computer
    yep. I can sprint to that, but I can only hold that for maybe 30 seconds.

    Descending, I'm not as fast as many. I max at about 37mph most days, sometimes going up to about 42. Past that, it gets sketchy. I've hit 47mph before, and that's about when the death wobbles start.

    I have a friend that hovers at about 50mph, and drops me every time. But he's a little crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I learned this the hard way. They say that experience is the best teacher, but I would have been preferred to just read about it on the internet.

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    You need to set a smaller wheel circumference into your computer
    Maybe 5min is a little long; I dont time it but it isnt just a 30s sprint.
    I dont think its out of the question and im certainly no pro, my friend who used to be on cofidus can hit 50-60kph and keep it for a LONG time. I was watching one race on the tour this year and they hit like 55-60kph for like 2 hours... thats just crazy

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    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
    Ok I have been bike commuting a lot over the past few years with my roady and I am a bad biker. I guess im a bad road biker, I hate going fast, I really dont like bombing down hills. I've discovered that depending on the steepness of the hill I will lower my speed, decently steep hills i wont go faster than 30kph but im fine with going fast on flat roads (~50kph for about 5min).

    There are 2 big things that scare me while im going fast:
    1: Ability to stop fast enough without going over the bars... I have my brakes adjusted nicely so if i just slammed them i would go over... the going over doesnt scare me its just the distance it takes me to stop without going over the bars scares me... what if i have to stop fast :S
    No, you won't. Not if you do it right: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

    2: Road bums, shimmy and pot holes and things. Roads aren't flat there are bumps everywhere and when you are going fast those bumps are really intense.
    Fatter tyres.

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    Zan
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    I'm ~130lbs and ride on 700c x 25, for the record. I also inflate 'em to max psi. Many people would advise against this, but I've never had a problem with low traction (only ride nice days - i like nice days ). When I drop 10psi, though, I notice a more comfortable ride.

    I'm sure when you go out and do a 50 km ride, there are not too many instances when you achieve high speeds going up/down hill - especially not in the GTA. If you think about it, you may only spend a minute or two going "really fast" out of hours of riding.

    Where abouts do you ride? Traffic makes me nervous when I decide to go fast - I feel a lot less pressured when I'm alone.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

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    I've actually been in Hamilton for a while and part of living in Hamilton means I have to go up and down the escarpment (AKA the mountain) all the time.

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    Certain downhills I let it all hang out, while others I am VERY cautious about... not quite riding the brakes (pumping) but keeping it under tight control. The difference is mostly the condition of the road surface. And the width of the path and how many and what kinds of folks are on it. Seems a sensible approach to me.
    1991 Trek 750 Multitrack Hybrid

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
    I've actually been in Hamilton for a while and part of living in Hamilton means I have to go up and down the escarpment (AKA the mountain) all the time.
    Heh, I'm gonna be out there towards the end of the month. Have been thinking of taking the bike. What's the ride from the airport to Grimsby like? Have you ridden it? I know it's uphill going back...

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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    OP, you're FAST...

    You're not going to go over the bars by braking on a road bike. The only way, I guess, would be if you were launching over bumps and holding onto the front brake. Mountain bikers avoid this problem by using their rear brake more often through bumpy terrain.

    As it gets bumpier, stand up more on your pedals and lighten your grip on the bars. It's like a galloping horse -- you never see racehorse jockeys sitting on the saddle with a death grip on the reins, right? The bike will pretty much keep itself upright without your interference. Example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qBihxyA19k

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