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Emergency Braking

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Emergency Braking

Old 08-18-21, 07:41 AM
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AlmostTrick
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Emergency Braking

How often have you found yourself in a situation that requires maximum, or near maximum braking to avoid (or lessen the damage of) a crash or collision? Tell us the details about one of these situations. I find it to be an extremely rare occurrence, but can think of a situation or two that may have came close. Still, I like to practice the skill occasionally just to have it ready if needed. Do you ever practice emergency or maximum braking? Got any tips?
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Old 08-18-21, 09:00 AM
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I don't like to ride slow. So perhaps because of that I'm almost always braking to a stop with a rapid deceleration. So I haven't felt like I need to practice.

With single pivot caliper brakes on my old bikes, one with those chromed steel rims, I would often, especially in wet, squeeze the calipers as hard as I could to stop in time to keep from flying out into an intersection. While my heart sometimes was up in my throat, I always stopped in time.

When I got dual pivot Shimano 105 5800 brakes, the issues of whether I'd stop in time were no more. Though in wet, there was a brief skip of a heart beat till they began their usual more than effective braking.

Now that I have hydraulic disc brakes, I have to say that they will lock up way to effectively if using what use to be normal lever pull for rim brake. However adjustment of the lever travel and adjustment of me the operator have overcome the differences of disc vs rim that put me in couple of dangerous situations when getting use to them.

Once soon after I got my bike in 2020, I was coming down a hill at 36 mph that had a stop for a crossing intersection and the brush had grown up and made visibility for crossing traffic non-existent. I intended to run the stop sign as traffic is almost never ever in that area. However I caught a glimpse of a car through a gap in the brush. Throwing on both brakes to brake hard, I braked too much on the rear, maybe the fact I was going downhill had more of the weight shifted off my rear tire. Anyhow the rear locked up and the bike pivoted on the head tube with the front and rear attempting to swap ends. I felt like I was completely sideways (though I probably wasn't anything near it). The car passed through the intersection and I was able to let loose of the brake levers and the bike immediately straightened and I passed behind the vehicle, missing the bollard in the middle of the trail that I almost certainly would have hit with the rear tire as my bike tried to swap ends.

Probably four months later I was again on the trail when there is usually no one else out and stupidly kept way too much speed up while going down a fairly steep and twisty section of MUP. The S-turns and their spacing make them particularly fun to take at speed. However they are also blind curves during the months that leaves are out. Since the approach from the top is a long straight with a little down slope, you can start these turns with quite a bit of speed. As I was coming through the first turn I caught sight of a walker coming the opposite way, head down and absorbed in her cell phone. She was drifting aimlessly and in the middle of my lane.

Again, not being fully use to the stopping power of my new disc brakes, I braked too hard, locking up the rear and this time the bike successfully swapped ends on me and I began to tumble hitting the pavement on my upper arm and side bouncing what seemed like a couple feet off the ground and then rolling and bouncing again. I don't know when my bike left me, but I was thirty feet further down the trail from where it stopped.

This all happened real quick, but it's amazing how hyper aware I seem to become in these instances. It's like I'm looking at super high speed video in slow motion and am able to examine every nuance of what going on while it's happening. After coming to a stop and realizing I was okay for the most part, I sat up. The woman was rushing over and apologizing for not paying attention and asking if I was okay. And for the most part I was. Little bit bruisy on the back of my shoulder from the first hit. But otherwise fine and some weird immature voice in my head saying "do it again"!

I reassured the woman that I was okay and that I was also just as much at fault because I knew I was going to fast on a blind curve. Then finding my bottles that had come off the bike and seeing that my bike was fine except for some abrasion on the saddles side, I went off and rode another twenty or so miles to complete what I started out to do.

So after that the full realization of how disc brakes and rim brakes are different hit me fully and I adjusted my braking habits to make sure I won't lock up the rear so quickly. However I still will maintain that I'd rather have the rear wheel lock up and go out from under me than have the front tire lock up and go out from under me.

Do I practice braking hard? No, probably because braking hard is a normal part of my riding. Who wants to take forever to get to their stopping place with a gentle stop?

Last edited by Iride01; 08-18-21 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:39 AM
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Inisfallen
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
How often have you found yourself in a situation that requires maximum, or near maximum braking to avoid (or lessen the damage of) a crash or collision? Tell us the details about one of these situations. I find it to be an extremely rare occurrence, but can think of a situation or two that may have came close. Still, I like to practice the skill occasionally just to have it ready if needed. Do you ever practice emergency or maximum braking? Got any tips?
Fairly often, since I commute to and from work by bicycle in New York City traffic.

The big one, the one that happens most often, is cars turning left across the bike path (which is the leftmost lane on most NYC avenues) without checking for bikes in the bike lane. You've either got to brake hard or turn left with them. And then they always yell at you like it's your fault.

The other is dogs. On or off the leash. Sometimes they behave unpredictably. Not so much in the street (although it happens there too), but on the bike paths through city parks, or the greenways.

Reaction time is what saves a rider. Braking skills? I just grab the brakes hard. I think I can stop a bike as fast as it can be stopped. Comes from decades of motorcycling -- I think I can feel maximum traction just short of lockup pretty well.
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Old 08-19-21, 11:32 AM
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I was going downhill, turned left, suddenly saw a school bus, parked to pick up kids. I had to immediately brake hard- locked up rear brake. I came close to hitting rear of bus.
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Old 08-21-21, 02:42 PM
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Coming down one of the "mountains" on the Cabot Trail I discovered the front skewer was loose on my fatbike (not really designed for 70 km/h descents?). One bump away from a very long fall and an unplanned swim - at best.

Maybe the emergency braking I'm most proud of to pullover and fix it before continuing the fun. LOL
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