I noticed that we had quite a few climbers this past month and what goes up must come down. So here are some tips on how to descend safely.
1. Know your limits – It’s tempting to try to push it a little when your friends are going fast. However don’t go faster than your abilities.
2. Look ahead – This is important any time, but essential when descending. There’s less time to react at high speeds. Look where you want the bike to go, not at the hazard.
3. Hazards – Look for and avoid gravelly, loose or wet surfaces. If you can’t avoid them, try not to brake too hard or lean into the turns as much.
4. Use mapping – Have the route in your bike computer so you can see what’s coming. This is especially important on mountain descents where there are sharp or hairpin turns.
5. Crossing the center line – It is tempting to cross the center line to take the best line through the corner, but don’t do it unless you know that it is clear. I remember 5 years ago when White House Staffer, Jake Brewer, died after colliding with a car after crossing the line on a charity ride. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/09/20/i-lost-part-of-my-heart-beloved-white-house-staffer-jake-brewer-mourned/
6. Bike check – At high speeds it is vital that your bike is in proper condition. Make sure that your tires are at the proper pressure, brakes work properly and everything is tighten down correctly.
Here is a video which demonstrates these tips:
Quote of the week: “I thought of that while riding my bike.” – Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity