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Postby pauldavid » Mon Oct 08, 2012 15:48 pm

I am fairly new to this cycling lark and particularly bad at climbing.

So yesterday planned a 40 mile route with a good amount of climbing in the hope that punishing myself up hills will make me slightly better at climbing at some point in the future.

Now the climb was painful,enjoyable,humiliating in equal measure but I made it and felt good about that at least.

Then came the scary bit, descending I managed to see 37mph on my Bryton and I know that most of you will have gone a lot quicker than that but it was the first time I have ever gone anything like that fast on a cycle and it would have gone a little quicker I think if I hadn't been scrubbing some speed off with the brakes.

I can honestly say that this is the most vulnerable I have ever felt in my life and was scared to bloody death, having said that I think I'm gonna do it again next Sunday :D

It almost made the pain worthwhile.

Am I the only one who feels this vulnerable or should I just MTFU

(incidentally I am an ex motorcyclist and an indicated 160mph on my GSXR didn't feel that scary!)

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Re: Scary

Postby slowondefy2 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 15:57 pm

I much prefer going up the hills than down for this very reason, especially when the roads are anything but bone dry! If I know the road is smooth, with a reasonable run-out and no side road junctions I feel a bit braver, but there's no harm with a bit of caution - just don't grab a handful of front brake in panic.

Number 64 of the rules is also relevant to descending:

The Rules wrote:Rule #64 // Cornering confidence increases with time and experience.
This pattern continues until it falls sharply and suddenly.

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Re: Scary

Postby y33stu » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:03 pm

I must admit I used to be somewhat scared of steep, fast downhills. However the more you do it, the more confidence you have. Either than or you just become complacent! :D I'm happy going downhill up to 40 mph - ish. There is one hill near me, a 12% gradient to start with and a continued downhill for 2km which when I go down, I do brake, as the road surface isn't the best - Dont think I'll ever not brake on that one.

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Re: Scary

Postby pauldavid » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:06 pm

Glad to know it's not just me.

Funny how things spring into your mind in certain circumstances.

For me the two most prominent thoughts were;

I wonder if that carbon fork is meant to vibrate/flex that much at speed on a rough surfaced road, and

Only wearing lycra means this is gonna be a right bloody mess if it goes wrong :shock:

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Re: Scary

Postby thecrofter » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:07 pm

pauldavid wrote:(incidentally I am an ex motorcyclist and an indicated 160mph on my GSXR didn't feel that scary!)

but, when you were a learner stepping off your 125 on to a GSXR and doing 160 would have been scary....

You'll get used to it, until Rule 64 kicks in.
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Re: Scary

Postby slowondefy2 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:27 pm

It's worth looking up about 'speed wobble' so you're a bit prepared if it hits! Happens on motorbikes too so you've probably heard of it as 'tank slapper'...

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Re: Scary

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:50 pm

pauldavid wrote:I am fairly new to this cycling lark...

Yes, me too.
Then came the scary bit, descending I managed to see 37mph

Am I the only one who feels this vulnerable

No! I've hit 30mph a couple of times now, on a straight downhill (Sawyers Hill in Richmond Park), and that wasn't too bad.

However, the same park also has a long curved hill, and I'm totally chicken. I used to freewheel down it when I was a kid, but I guess my imagination is a lot better now, and the consequences of losing it on the tight bit of the bend would be grim. So I'm building up speed a tiny bit at a time - but mostly just wearing out the brake pads which is a bit galling having put all the effort in to climb up it in the first place.

Road tyres also seem awfully skinny after the relatively fat ones I used to ride on.
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Re: Scary

Postby oxoman » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:56 pm

Couple of good long downhill's 30 plus is easy only downside 2 roads turning onto both of them half way down. 1 obscurred by trees and the other normally cars. Can and does get scary at times.
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Re: Scary

Postby saprkzz » Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:58 pm

Doing speeds downhill when it takes you from your comfort zone is scary and you become well aware of whats in front of you.

I always think about "what if" as I am descending, I did my top speed and bragged to my wife and the realisation of if i came off, i cant imagine you would survive.

I feel very comfortable up to 40-45 mph, but anything can go wrong, wildlife, speed wobble, blow out etc etc.
Over 45 mph, and it just seems fast.

You will get more confident, but youneed to be aware of the road conditions and surroundings.

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Re: Scary

Postby mallorcajeff » Mon Oct 08, 2012 17:37 pm

bit by bit it gets easier but i only go quick if i know the road. this weekend i was coming down one of the mountains here in mallorca its nearly an 6 mile descent i normally come down around 40-45 and brake hard for the corners. this weekend was coming down with a club (i was just on the back of them) and jesus they went past me like i was sitting still. i went quicker than i normally would and that got scary and quickly found myself out the comfort zone so slowed down before something happend. good job too as on the next bends i could see about ten motorbikes all big qucik stuff overtaking on the way down on blind bends so i kept away from that saw fatal last year in the same circumstances. I dont like descending in a big group too many levels of mix talent. But just dont get over confident and cocky and you will be fine. read the road ahead and always expect the unexpected and as said above dont grab a handfull of front brake if you meet a coach on a bend like i did last summer, locked up sideways and managed to keep it upright no idea how, purely my own fault not looking far enough ahead. gladly a lesson learnt, coach driver called me all sorts under the sun which was fair enough, i free wheeled away down the rest of the mountain, sheepishly and emptied my bib shorts.

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Re: Scary

Postby farrina » Mon Oct 08, 2012 17:59 pm

pauldavid wrote:I can honestly say that this is the most vulnerable I have ever felt in my life and was scared to bloody death, having said that I think I'm gonna do it again next Sunday :D

First rule, irrespective of whatever anyone else is doing, never ever go faster than you feel comfortable ...

As a motor cyclist you will no doubt already be aware of the most common hazards, but I am always cautious on roads on which I am unfamiliar (thinking potholes, concealed junctions etc). At least you should know what's what next week :D

Apart from that have fun ( only the odd motorist misjudging your speed to watch)



Ps the motorists seem to become particularly upset when you overtake them on narrow winding descents.

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Re: Scary

Postby JasonBrooke » Mon Oct 08, 2012 18:03 pm

I had a moment last time out. Going down a half mile 10% hill was on the big ring and kept pedaling as its quite straight. Got to the bottom and was turning a steady left and due to flooding last week there was a gravel residue on the road so I hit it mid lean. I felt the whole bike slide to the right and then grip, I was still pedaling so there was nothing I could do about it, if it had gone.

Checked my GPS when I got home and I was doing 32mph when it happened. As it was dark at the time I'd not seen a thing, but I did another lap and took it very steady.

Bib shorts needed a good wash though :(

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Re: Scary

Postby farrina » Mon Oct 08, 2012 18:18 pm

JasonBrooke wrote:I had a moment last time out. Bib shorts needed a good wash though :(

Yes brown trouser (sorry shorts) moments are pretty common. For the ultimate pleasure it is highly recommended to find a nice fast sweeping wet descent where the road bends tighter than expected and the choice arises whether to run wide or lean a bit harder and risk the back end going ....

Seen pretty much all - bods hitting sheep (they always wait until you are upon them before running out), hitting closed gates and even a head on between bike and car (fortunately car saw cyclist coming and was almost stationary when bike hit) but still left forks at 90 degrees to what they should have been.

Be careful out there even the pro's get it wrong ... RIP Fabio Casartelli



Ps don't forget the problem with shadows when descending under trees - is it a pothole or a shadow ? Not something you want to find out at high speed.
Last edited by farrina on Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scary

Postby unixnerd » Mon Oct 08, 2012 19:43 pm

I remember the first time I came down Cairngorm mountain, I hit a patch of frost heave damage going over 40mph and scared the pants off myself. Almost had cramp in my fingers trying to brake for three miles. It gets a lot better with time and experience. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
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Re: Scary

Postby Cleat Eastwood » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:07 pm

haha I think its more common than people let on. The fastest i've been this year is 48mph, and that was totally by accident - on a hill where I could see all the way down - when I checked the garmin afterwards I thought 'what a tit' - not something I want to practice at getting better at.
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Re: Scary

Postby doublem_1 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:20 pm

Have you ever done scary/dangerous stuff before in your life? Gotten the adrenaline rushing through your veins? Glad you took risk and would gladly do it again for the thrill?

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Re: Scary

Postby ALIHISGREAT » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:28 pm

take it easy this time of year on the descents as the roads are slippery.. had someone fall off on a sharp corner after a fast descent on the club run at the weekend :roll:

Going fast is fine though.. unless the road surface is terrible or its wet. I've got up to the high 40s before.. its a good rush!

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Re: Scary

Postby bompington » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:40 pm

Rule 64 is precisely correct - I've just gone through the"reset" phase after a slide on a wet roundabout, it's funny how you feel unsteady on every bend, especially wet ones, but never really notice the confidence coming back until one day you just realise you're blasé again. And then inevitably the wheel of life comes round once more...

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Re: Scary

Postby pauldavid » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:40 pm

And there was me thinking it was fast and scared to death :oops: , when you've pretty much all been going faster :shock:

Looks like my bravery whilst descending needs work in much the same way I need to practice climbing. :roll:

Oh well, back out tomorrow after work , practice makes perfect

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Re: Scary

Postby pearceygy » Mon Oct 08, 2012 20:45 pm

Alright everyone, this is my first post I'm nearly 38 and I'm just starting out biking I've been going out for about 6 weeks, the first time I did 10 miles it nearly killed me and I was wondering if this was for me well I stuck at It and i'm loving it now doing about 25 miles on a run which takes me about an hour and half.
Regarding speed there's a bit of an hill on my route and I can get my bike up to about 37/38 mph but the bikes starts shaking this is where I crap myself and ease of, is this normal ? and can anyone advise me how I should be braking front or back ? both together?


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