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Effective braking might not be the sexiest riding skill, but it’s the key to riding with more confidence and, if you’re trying to go fast, more speed.
We all know what bad braking feels like:
Rear tire skidding.
Hands getting pounded.
Eyes shaking out of your skull. Everything seems fast and frenetic.
You’re flying over the handlebars.
Most braking out there is incorrect. Most people are:
Too far forward.
Feet are level or — worse — heels are up.
These factors all add up to your weight being pushed forward into your hands instead of down into your bottom bracket. Most of the time it feels like a jackhammer in your hands. Once in a while it feels like gravel in your face. Not good. And no longer acceptable.
From now on you will practice excellent braking. Excellent braking feels like:
Both tires are grabbing equally.
Your hands are floating on the bars, like you’re having a tea party.
Your eyes are calm and scanning for the next cool thing you’re gonna do. Everything feels slow and easy.
You’re nestled safely in the middle of your bike, where all great things happen.
To ride with more confidence (and speed), practice these skills: