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Do you descend downhills at full speed?

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Do you descend downhills at full speed?

Old 11-21-07, 11:25 AM
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knotty
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Do you descend downhills at full speed?

In years past, I used descend long, curvy mountain downhills with abandon, full speed and even helping it along spinning the 53x12.

After taking up cycling again, I have fearful thoughts of such high speed descents and never do it without feathering the rear brake, keeping the bike under full control at all times, able to swerve if need be.

Thoughts of a car pulling out of a private driveway, someone walking into the street, an animal running out, a bad defect in the road are some of the reasons.

I rather forgo the momentary thrill of speed and live to enjoy riding for many years to come without being killed or crippled.

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Old 11-21-07, 11:31 AM
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Right. Nobody else here is 18 and immortal anymore either...
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Old 11-21-07, 11:32 AM
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Do you descend downhills at full speed?

Nope
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Old 11-21-07, 11:39 AM
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I used to

and I still do. I freaking go fast whenever possible

no regrets

you will die someday anyway, might as well not worry about how or when
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Old 11-21-07, 11:45 AM
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I used to pretty much never touch the brakes going downhill. These days anything over 32-33 mph and I get nervous. Brakes are a good thing.
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Old 11-21-07, 11:46 AM
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If you couldn't have fun on the way down, what would be the purpose of climbing up?


Seriously though. Even though I enjoy 40+ downhills, I only do that on hills that I am familiar with (road surface, gas pipe placement, manhole covers etc) and I prefer back roads with no traffic for that.

Fortunately most of my riding is off pavement and I almost never get over 30. My wife and doctor both say its bad for my blood pressure....
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Old 11-21-07, 11:46 AM
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The choice is not likely to be die or not die; the choice will probably be have a critical injury and survive or not, such as a broken neck.
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Old 11-21-07, 11:52 AM
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I try not to let fear rule my life, but I also try not to take really stupid risks either.

As Chuck Berry sang -

Sometimes I do, then again, I think I don't
Sometimes I will, then again, I think I won't
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Old 11-21-07, 12:09 PM
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pffffft. I descend uphill with wanton abandon.

Actually, the fastest I've ever gotten my Saluki on a decline is around 28 MPH. Shortlived at that, because SE Michigan is not hilly.
I can say that I sustained an injury in August, when I went sailing over the handlebars at about 15 MPH, and landed on my right shoulder. For my shoulder to still be prone to pain three months later ... I will not be descending at fast speeds.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:12 PM
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The one place I have a chance of catching the rest of the group is downhill- so I take advantage of gravity. Have to admit that on the road bike- I was initially nervous on one descent as there is a curve in the middle and I could see the front wheel distorting and the bike was drifting to the outside of the curve. This was against my previous experience on the Mountain bike where there was no curve- just a top speed that was limited by the Knobbly tyres at around 40 mph. The road bike was getting nervous at around 37mph. Change of wheels cured that and I am a bit disapponted in that I did not meet the forums motto of 50+ last time down. Only registered 48.

But The Tandem is the one to tackle downhills. 53.8 down a grassy steep hill. That betters our top speed on the road where a car got in the way and we only reached 52.8
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Old 11-21-07, 12:17 PM
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Yes, but since the biggest hill is 80' and the top speed is about 40mph it is not too daring.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:35 PM
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Back when I was in college, I used to ride Lookout Mountain near Denver as a regular ride. I got to know the turns really well and could really fly on the downhill stretch. It was fun to pass cars on the inside of turns because they would slow down to about 10mph in the switchbacks.

In the last few weeks I have ridden a couple of canyons to the SW of Denver and the descents were not as fun as I remembered from my college days. On the first one, Deer Creek Canyon, I ran into a bit of a sandy patch near the top and felt that uncomfortable lack of traction and slewing feeling. I recovered ok, but was much more careful the rest of the way down. The second one, High Grade Road, was steeper through a longer section at about 10 percent. I used my brakes more to keep my speed under 25mph through the curvy section and felt the brakes starting to fade some. I know better than to keep the brakes on full time, only applying them sporadically to let them cool, but it still happened. I replaced my brake pads with KoolStop pads last weekend, so hopefully I won't experience this any more.

I still enjoy doing the rides, but I don't agressively pursue the high-speed downhill runs as I used to do.

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Old 11-21-07, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SoonerBent View Post
I used to pretty much never touch the brakes going downhill. These days anything over 32-33 mph and I get nervous. Brakes are a good thing.


yes, brakes......marvelous inventions. I highly recommend them.


Centuries ago, when I was a kid, during the winter we used to ride our 'buzz bikes' down a hill into the frozen river as fast as we could just to see how far across we could get before we busted our tails. We never thought once about cracking ice, or breaking our bones on the hard ice. We were just having fun, not thinking the least about the ice cracking and plunging into the cold river.

Today, I cant go much over 30 mph without "punking out", so it really boggles my mind that some of you guys out there routinely descend mountain roads at 50 mph or better. These days I think too much about the dangers. I cant bounce back like I use to could, and I know it. I'm afraid of falling, and getting bummed up with broken bones and road rash, no longer the tough guy I use to be.

These days I ride more miles than ever before, with both hands on the bars, eyes focused and straight, hammering at my customary 13 mph.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SoonerBent View Post
I used to pretty much never touch the brakes going downhill. These days anything over 32-33 mph and I get nervous. Brakes are a good thing.
that's pretty much me too. I think that I saw 38 MPH on my tandem this year. That's fast enough for me.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:55 PM
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Q: Do you descend downhills at full speed?
Every chance I get.
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Old 11-21-07, 12:57 PM
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yep, we all do, especially on the Niagara Escarpment, both road and XC...last year my daughter's BF was clocked at 95km/hr (in a 50) in our group and got a ticket (at 100 he would have lost his driver's licence)...good thing he was leading

One habit I now have, however, is to re-torque the bolts on the stem and bars before every ride...a friend's (56 yrs old) stem came loose during a steep descent several years ago and his front wheel turned 90 degrees when he was flying down a hill...lost his front teeth, broke 4 ribs, collarbone, and arm, and ruptured a kidney.

He was peeing blood for 3 months, still has chronic pain
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Old 11-21-07, 01:04 PM
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The rare times I have a downhill means I've got/had an uphill in the near future/recent past.
I use them to rest.
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Old 11-21-07, 01:39 PM
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Used too but now that I am more mature and wiser, I use alittle restraint (admittedly too little but restraint none the less).

Top speed downhill? 53 mph and picking up speed. I couldn't see at that point so backed down the speed. I bet I could have easily hit 55 mph or more! (this was on a descent near Mammoth Mountain). I had dreams of sailing off the mountain into thin air if the tire blew! Too scary!
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Old 11-21-07, 01:53 PM
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The Simoncini is a little scarey on a descent in that it has had a vibration, I thin ithat is cured but I still don't trust it - the fastest I have gone dwon hill was about 34mph. The Tarmac on the other hand - I took it out on my favorite down hill run, a straight road with new asphalt, it went up to 40 and was rock solid. That was all I felt like driving it as it was in the top gear and I was pedaling.

I do think about the consequences though - there is definately a risk.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:24 PM
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Answer: Yes, fast as i can. Even in table top flat Illinois, 50+ mph can be had within 6 miles of my house.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:25 PM
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After about 40 mph I get scared and sit up and feather the brakes. I ain't you and brave (or foolish) anymore.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:43 PM
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As long as I know the road, I'll do the 53x12 as you mentioned and go as fast as possible. New hills I try once or twice before descending with wild abandon.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:50 PM
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Well, fear has no more a part in my downhill strategy than it ever did. Where I live its nothing but hills so I get plenty of practice. I don't have a speedometer on any of my bikes, so I can't tell you how fast I go, but in my trips around Lake Maumelle there were definitely a few downhill curves marked at 35 mph that I had to slow down for. And I was slowing for the curve, not the hill.

The most dangerous hills are in town. Not going fast enough to keep up with traffic would be as dangerous as going fast with traffic. So I'm fast downhill, but not foolhardy. To me traffic is a greater concern than a hill.

However, I do go down the hills very slowly when they are covered with ice.

Last edited by Artkansas; 11-21-07 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jm01 View Post
yep, we all do, especially on the Niagara Escarpment, both road and XC...last year my daughter's BF was clocked at 95km/hr (in a 50) in our group and got a ticket (at 100 he would have lost his driver's licence)...good thing he was leading

One habit I now have, however, is to re-torque the bolts on the stem and bars before every ride...a friend's (56 yrs old) stem came loose during a steep descent several years ago and his front wheel turned 90 degrees when he was flying down a hill...lost his front teeth, broke 4 ribs, collarbone, and arm, and ruptured a kidney.

He was peeing blood for 3 months, still has chronic pain
Yep, and I hear of carbon forks shattering for some reason. Just not worth it. Even back in my racing years, while zooming down those Mt.Tam downhills, I used to wonder what would happen if a car just pulled out of his driveway and a fast coming bike is not easy to see afar off. Or, a car coming in the opposite direction around the curve in your lane. About 35 is my tops and that's with the risks calculated.

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Old 11-21-07, 03:02 PM
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I've got to climb and then descend a ridge on my daily commute, going
and coming. It's steep but short, about a third of a mile on one side and
a little less on the other. Good visibility, no driveways...when traffic allows
I don't hold back. Always though, it's Safety Fast (like in the sacred octagon)
MG Car club motto. If I can safely let'er rip, I will.
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