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Its scarier coming down

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Its scarier coming down

Old 09-27-14, 06:26 PM
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Its scarier coming down

Went over to Bristol, Vermont today to watch a soccer game. Decided to go early and get my Saturday ride in with the intent to ride up to Lincoln Peak. I've been over it before in a car, last time probably 10-12 years ago. I've been back into riding for 10 years and while old (61), at least I'm slow and steady. I haven't bonked for a long time untill today. Took my heavier steel ride with wider tires as I remembered that much of the road was dirt at the top. Made it through the dirt section but the last section was actually paved and was way steep. " Map My Ride" has one section at over 20% and lots of it around 13-15%. Had to get off and walk for the last half to 3/4 mile, humbling. But, it just begins there as I did have to come back down. I'm not into speed anymore so I ride my brakes a lot when descending. This bike has canti's. I could smell them working and stopped a few times to let them cool off. Felt the rims and they were hot. No way could I have stopped quickly if I had to.

I'm thinking I either have to stop riding down these roads because I'm a chicken, or find a safer braking system. I've always heard that Canti's were more positive than road brakes, but I'm finding that my Madone with road brakes feel much more positive. Are Canti's less reliable? Do they just need to be tweaked more?

Maybe my last bike (my retirement ride) will have disc brakes.
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Old 09-27-14, 06:48 PM
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I switched to a Cyclocross bike with last December and have been down a few multi mile descents on the binders the whole time and was really glad I had the disks!

A little description of one outing here.

New Mountain Bike required? (OT) :: SuperTopo Rock Climbing Discussion Topic - page 9
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Old 09-27-14, 06:52 PM
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First of all, 61 is not OLD. Get that thought out of your mind, now! Nothing wrong with 'slow and steady'. At least you're riding.

I'm not sure of the correct braking technique for steep hills. In my rides, there is only one really steep hill that I have thought at times that I should walk down. It is the maintenance road that drops off the aqueduct to the valley below. Thankfully, it's only about a hundred yards or so long, so I usually ride the brakes all the way down. On longer descents, I alternate between braking and letting the bike have its head. For total time, I try really hard to have less time on the brakes than on coasting. That seems to work. If I can see far enough ahead, I'll just let it go. With restricted visibility, I'll try to hold the bike under 20-25 mph. I like the idea of disc brakes. If I ever purchase another frame, it will have the capability for disc brakes. However, that might not happen because the frame I have my eye on costs $4500. Maybe some day, maybe not.

- - - - -

p.s. I tried riding up that aqueduct hill once, and pretty much fell over because I was moving too slow. Thankfully, I was able to unclip fast enough that I didn't have to eat asphalt.
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Old 09-27-14, 07:14 PM
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Beautiful area. I'm off to Button Bay and Vergennes on a motorcycle trip next weekend.
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Old 09-27-14, 08:08 PM
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I too brake going down hill, call me chicken or paranoid, I don't care... i will be safe. I have never had brake problems but i have not done any long hills.
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Old 09-27-14, 08:31 PM
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I sure wish we had hills like that here.
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Old 09-28-14, 07:37 AM
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This reminds me of the Maui Hawaii ride down Haleakala. The following is from slowtwitch.com

It demonstrates Shimano's new disk brake system

Mt. Haleakala descent - Slowtwitch.com
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Old 09-28-14, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Champlaincycler View Post
... I've always heard that Canti's were more positive than road brakes, but I'm finding that my Madone with road brakes feel much more positive. Are Canti's less reliable? Do they just need to be tweaked more?

Maybe my last bike (my retirement ride) will have disc brakes.
I have cantilever brakes on several of my bikes. I also use caliper and V brakes. Cantilever brakes can work as effectively as other brakes, but they are more difficult to adjust. Considering that the pads and rims became excessively hot for safe riding, it's likely than any brake system might have also overheated.

I descended a 5500 ft slope this spring in Italy and was also very concerned with brake fade or a blown tire from excessive heat. I alternately applied the front and then the rear brake. This gave the unused brake and rim a chance to cool between application. I also let the bike travel without braking when the slope moderated below 5%. Ironically, faster speeds aid cooling, but riding with added speed increases other risks.
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

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Old 09-28-14, 10:38 AM
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Don't ride the brakes so much. Relax, let the bike accelerate, then scrub off the speed for the turns, and the rims won't stay so hot.

Cantilever brakes work fine, at least as well as sidepulls. Sounds to me that the brakes aren't the issue, it's your desire to keep the speed right down on steep descents.
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Old 09-28-14, 11:10 AM
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Different pads might not have lost their effectiveness so soon. I think I read that black Kool Stop are best for resisting brake-fade when hot.

As Barrett says, cantilever brakes are fine. I happen to like them a lot. As he says, they're hard to adjust, but that doesn't sound like your problem.

I agree with chasm54. Don't ride the brakes. Releasing them, even if only for a second, might give them a chance to cool a little.

20% does sound like a scary grade to descend, no matter how well your brakes work.
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