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did my 1st long-ish ride. and a question...

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

did my 1st long-ish ride. and a question...

Old 11-28-11, 04:42 PM
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did my 1st long-ish ride. and a question...

i rode all the to the LA Zoo, in Griffith Park.

racked up 45 miles in total.

started to feel sore on the back of my neck and shoulders on the last few miles on the way home. my legs still feel ok though.

really enjoyed it and was very thankful i didn't get a flat. i still haven't tried changing tubes since i don't trust myself mechanically and i want supervision when i attempt it.

also, i have a question.

is normal for the rear brakes to be weaker than the front? i know that's normal for a motorcycle but is it the same for a bicycle?

thanks.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:48 PM
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Way to go! You're going to feel neck and shoulder discomfort if you aren't used to those distances. It's normal. Eventually you'll be able to go further and further without feeling that pain.

I suggest trying to change an inner tube on a rainy day when you have nothing else to do. It's not that hard.

In response to your question about the brakes, yes it's normal for the front to make up most of the stopping power. When you brake your weight shifts forward and the front does most of the stopping.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:50 PM
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I don't think it's actually weaker.

Try sliding your seat back 1cm to take pressure off your hands. Or get the handlebars higher, if you can/want to.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:50 PM
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that soreness is typical of long rides, or at least long for what you're accustomed to doing, particularly if you're new to road bikes because the posture is more aggressive than a MTB or cruiser. as long as you're not riding with your elbows locked, arms straight out, you'll be ok.

regarding brakes, don't touch the rear brake on dry tarmac. trust me.

you do need it off-road, or in the rain. but you can do 100% of your braking with the front only on dry road and you'll brake quite powerfully and never flat-spot a tire. if you use the rear brake it is normal to find it fairly useless at rapid deceleration, and quite prone to ruining a tire.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:50 PM
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Physics would be essentially the same as a motorcycle. The rear brake is almost as "strong" (less a bit of cable stretch/flex), but decelerating transfers weight to the front tire assuming you're applying both brakes.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:52 PM
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I would recommend against using only the front brake, but the rear brake doesn't provide anywhere near the stopping power that the front does.
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Old 11-28-11, 04:59 PM
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thanks for the input guys.

that clears my mind. i thought maybe something was already wrong with my rear brake.

and yeah, i do keep my elbows a little relaxed just like on my sportbike since they're pretty much the same seating position. i guess pedalling makes a difference since i normally don't feel that sore on the sportbike unless im already above 80 miles riding.
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Old 11-28-11, 05:08 PM
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Unless you are a very slow motorcyclist, 80 miles on a motorcycle is less time than 45 miles on a bicycle.

Practice changing a tube in your garage before you need to do it on the road.
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Old 11-28-11, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ericm979
Unless you are a very slow motorcyclist, 80 miles on a motorcycle is less time than 45 miles on a bicycle.
thanks i feel stupid now. lol
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Old 11-28-11, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL
...regarding brakes, don't touch the rear brake on dry tarmac. trust me.

you do need it off-road, or in the rain. but you can do 100% of your braking with the front only on dry road and you'll brake quite powerfully and never flat-spot a tire. if you use the rear brake it is normal to find it fairly useless at rapid deceleration, and quite prone to ruining a tire.
Huh?

I use my rear brake all the time. Well, not all the time, 'cause then it would be hard to go anywhere. It definitely helps, and I've never put a flat spot on a tire. Only locked up the rear wheel once. That was on wet pavement to avoid a crashed rider in the front of a group. I wasn't then used to riding on wet pavement, and reacted too quickly. Didn't go down because I got off the brake. Now that I've learned that lesson....

But, yes, front brake provides more stopping power under normal circumstances.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:35 PM
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What I sometimes find useful is to use my rear brake as a stabilizer and the front brake for the majority of the stopping power. Apply the rear brake relatively lightly just before applying the front brake harder to come to a stop, and constantly adjust the pressure applied to both. Of course, that's assuming I have time! But, the bottom line is, the front brake provides more stopping power.
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Old 11-28-11, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL

regarding brakes, don't touch the rear brake on dry tarmac. trust me.

you do need it off-road, or in the rain. but you can do 100% of your braking with the front only on dry road and you'll brake quite powerfully and never flat-spot a tire. if you use the rear brake it is normal to find it fairly useless at rapid deceleration, and quite prone to ruining a tire.
Hmmm, I am no expert but I almost always use both brakes. Run braking drills routinely using both brakes and practicing working braking pressure, modulation, emergency actions, etc. From my experience proper use of both brakes gives the shortest braking distance.
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Old 11-28-11, 08:58 PM
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I use a combination on 80% front and 20% rear brakes. I have bad experiences from crashing due to mashing the rear brake.
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Old 11-28-11, 10:12 PM
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As rdtompki pointed out, the two brakes work about the same. Here's a way to show the importance of weight transfer:
1. Walk the bike forward, holding the drops. Apply the front brake. The front wheel will lock, the rear wheel will want to lift.
2. Let go of the front brake while still walking the bike forward. Now apply the rear brake. The rear wheel will lock and slide. The bike won't really slow down.

3. Now walk the bike backwards, holding the drops. Apply the front brake. The front tire will lock and slide. the bike won't really slow down.
4. Let go of the front brake while still rolling the bike backward. Apply the rear brake. The bike will want to wheelie (backwards) as the rear wheel locks and the bike stops.

Although I started out using the rear brake more than the front, the front is the more effective tool. It's like learning to drive a car (or a sportsbike I imagine). I started out driving a very wimpy car (67HP). While I had that car I test drove a small block 400 Camaro - I almost drove off the road when I floored it; I simply wasn't used to the power. Now, with a bit more experience, it's fun to have driven a hard accelerating car. It no longer scares me (well at least not up to about 400 HP - I think a 500 or 600 HP car would still make me nervous ).

I'd recommend practicing braking hard. Go at slow speeds, move your butt way off the back of the saddle, and apply the front brake softly at first, then firmly. You'll stop virtually immediately. Use both brakes evenly - when the rear gets light you know you're close to flipping the bike. Soon you'll use both brakes firmly but evenly, the rear wheel almost skittering around as you pull massive negative Gs decelerating from speed.

If you can coast up to your door/garage/whatever, you can even try doing stoppies (using your front brake to raise the rear wheel off the ground) when you arrive home. Lift the wheel just a bit, like an inch - you don't need to be hanging upside down on the bike. Just like your sportbike, practicing skills on the bike will help make you a better, safer, stronger rider.

Oh, and do all the braking stuff on the drops. The hoods let you flip over the bars a bit easier if/when you manage to get enough leverage on the brakes.

Likewise you should change a tube at home when you're bored, like if it's raining or you're at home watching TV at night. It's tougher physically than some people expect but the steps themselves are very straightforward.

Congrats on doing your first longer ride. The soreness goes away as your body gets used to the position. If it doesn't you should check your fit, but in all probability it's just your shoulders/neck acclimating to the bike.

hope this helps
cdr
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Old 11-28-11, 11:15 PM
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You can't lock your front wheel on dry tarmac. You would lift your rear wheel and if you continued, you would endo before it locked up or immediately after.

Therefore at anywhere near max front braking the rear wheel has very little weight, thus very little traction and very little braking force.

All the while being extremely easy to lock up the rear wheel and skid through the preciously thin tread layer on your road tires. This is not like skidding a bmx or mtb tire as a kid. One short skid can ruin a rear road tire.

I said something extreme to provoke discussion but also to make a point. The rear brake is basically useless on dry tarmac.
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Old 11-28-11, 11:18 PM
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Sheldon Brown wrote that 90% of braking is at the front on a road bike. You can use the rear brake if you like, but if you're wanting to stop as fast as possible you don't need it and by definition can't use it.

The definition of stopping as fast as possible is unweighting the rear. Trying to keep your weight rearward does maximize your braking performance, but you can always brake hard enough to endo if you really tried.
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Old 11-28-11, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL
regarding brakes, don't touch the rear brake on dry tarmac. trust me.

you do need it off-road, or in the rain. but you can do 100% of your braking with the front only on dry road and you'll brake quite powerfully and never flat-spot a tire. if you use the rear brake it is normal to find it fairly useless at rapid deceleration, and quite prone to ruining a tire.
That, my friend, is an idiotic statement.... I have not ruined a rear tire from braking since I was a child (and then it was purposely). So you are saying, if you make an emergency stop at 25 mph, to only use the front brake?
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Old 11-28-11, 11:40 PM
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I use my rear brake for modulating my speed, and my front brake for stopping.
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Old 11-29-11, 12:05 AM
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There is so much bad information in this thread it's ridiculous.

1. Being a little sore on your first long ride is normal, you need to get used to your position/posture on the bike. As you ride more, if the soreness does not go away, you need a proper fitting from an experienced bike fitter. You should probably just do this anyway -- it's worth every penny, trust me.

2. The rear brake feels weaker because, while the pressure it applies to the rear rim is essentially the same, your braking potential is MUCH lower on the rear wheel/tire than the front. Braking on your front wheel carries a much higher potential due to physics (70-90% of overal braking potential).

Originally Posted by paw888;
That, my friend, is an idiotic statement....
No, actually it's not. If you read his statement he said:
"if you use the rear brake it is normal to find it fairly useless at rapid deceleration, and quite prone to ruining a tire."

I bolded the important part. Go ahead and squeeze your rear brake hard trying to avoid that car that just pulled out in front of you going 15-20mph and tell me what happens. Your mass and the bike's mass shifts forward, which causes the rear tire to have less friction between it and the road surface, which causes you to skid. If you are skidding, you are not stopping. If you are skidding, you are ruining your rear tire.

When I am going down a descent at 35-45mph, you better believe I'm using my front brake 95% of the time, especially right before diving into a turn (if needed).

Originally Posted by RichardGlover;
I use my rear brake for modulating my speed, and my front brake for stopping.
...is absolutely what you should be doing. If you want to shed some speed, at speed, feather the rear brake. If you want to drastically reduce your speed or stop, use the front.
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Old 11-29-11, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL
...The rear brake is basically useless on dry tarmac.
a bit of an exaggeration, but provocative,,, and a compelling reason for not having one.

edit: BTW, i just remembered. i had my road bike set up with a single rear coaster brake for a couple of years with little problem. changed it due to weight and excess friction, otherwise i liked it. and yes, i rode clipless.

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Old 11-29-11, 12:46 AM
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I use my rear brake for modulating my speed and both brakes for stopping.
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Old 11-29-11, 01:28 AM
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To the OP: there are great videos on YouTube that show how to change a tire/tube. Give it a shot, it's not nearly as difficult as you may think.
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Old 11-29-11, 08:17 AM
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I wrote this extreme POV because I've ridden with a number of people who do not know how to use maximum braking force. When you encounter a heavy braking situation they inevitably skid their rear tire, or brake with low force because they have skidded the rear tire before and are trying to work around the grip that it has. They also often complain that they can't stop fast enough to avoid an obstacle, blissfully unaware of what their bike can actually do.

Leave the rear brake alone and learn how to grip the front brake very hard, and control your body position while doing it. If you think, by God I already do that, then you are either intentionally or subconsciously using little to no rear brake pressure when you want to stop fast.

If you honestly feel you are using front and rear equally that simply means you aren't grabbing the front brake anywhere near hard enough.


But yes, I do use the rear brake for minor speed corrections, in wet conditions, and off-road. A whole boatload off-road in fact.
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Old 11-29-11, 09:36 AM
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^ this is one of the things I want to capture with a second cam on the bike, pointing to the gearing, rear tire, etc. It'll be clear when the rear lifts off the ground in a normal, firm, controlled stop.

Just because the rear wheel lifts it doesn't mean that the rider is going to flip over the bars. It just means the rear tire has zero traction and therefore has no braking power.
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Old 11-29-11, 10:04 AM
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In a panic stop, the rate at which you can slow down is ultimately limited by the size of the contact patch on the road, and the coeffficient of friction between that patch, and the road surface.

Thus, doubling the size of the contact patch (i.e. using the front and rear tire) is going to make you come to a stop faster, than just the front.

Push your weight back as far as possible, chest on seat, and butt cantilevered over rear wheel, allows you to use the front brake quite aggresively with no risk of flipping, and have enough weight on the back wheel to get some added braking force from it.
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