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  • 26-05-2022 3:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4,034 ✭✭✭

    Hi guys,

    Anyone got usefull tips to get faster and more confident descending especially technical descents. I'm cycling years but this is one skill I never fully mastered. It's the fear of falling off at thats speed is the main issue I have and I can't take more speed into the corners.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,034 ✭✭✭Amprodude

    Maybe suggest ways to improve, that could make me more confident.

    Post edited by Amprodude on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,416 ✭✭✭Paddigol

    Go off road if you have the chance - nothing like keeping a MTB or CX bike upright to sharpen your bike handling skills.

    Other than than, my tips would be look to where you want the bike to go and resist the urge to focus on the 10 feet in front of you. (i.e. eyes ahead, not down). Also, use your hips - shift them to point in the direction you want the bike to take, as you're turning. This in turn leads to - shift your body weight... push the bike away from the corner you're turning into and let your centre of gravity keep the tyres rooted to the road.

    Lastly (and easiest to say but hardest to do - loosen up on the bike - tensing up and death grip badly affects your handling - akin to stalling an aircraft, it's counterintuitive to just loosen things out.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,431 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Trust your tyres and buy good tyres. Accept that over a certain speed you are fucked anyway so relax, as Paddigol says, being tense will do you and your muscles and your control absolutely no good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,538 ✭✭✭billyhead

    You should lean the bike into each turn on a descent.

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 38,806 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle

    I think understanding race lines will help you plan your approach into and out of turns. Also be conscious of your speed on blind bends so that you aren't going so fast that you end up on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic. When possible, I find glancing at the map on my Garmin can be of help letting me know the angle of an oncoming blind bend.

    Also expect the unexpected: given that many decent descents will be on rural hills, expect something like a sheep to suddenly appear or a driver to just pull out of a gap without looking for you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,812 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    I used to be a right banzai descender and I used to ride motorbikes and far too fast. As I've gotten older I've slowed right down and I just take it handy now and try to get up the hills as fast as possible instead. So, I wouldn't be encouraging you to descend faster, but if you're all tensed up and your lines are all wrong then you could definitely, and should, learn to descend more comfortably and more safely. Getting some practice on on some nice open, well surfaced, well sighted roads would be great, if we had such a road in Ireland! :D. I reckon some off road gravel riding would help for sure as said above - imprpve your bike handling. Also, you could go to somewhere like Corkagh park bike track and practice a nice fast flowing line through the twisty sections there. Following someone else you know and trust on a downhill section you know well could also help?

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,337 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Was gonna say the same on racing lines. Before I ever started cycling I knew about "apex" and the likes for friends into F1

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,224 ✭✭✭standardg60

    +1 on the looking ahead, concentrate on 40-50ft away and the brain works better as things happen more slowly, any less and the brain becomes conscious of things happening too quickly and the fear kicks in

  • Registered Users Posts: 560 ✭✭✭ARX

    You may find it helpful to read up/watch some videos on the 'limit point' theory.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,161 ✭✭✭JMcL

    While I wouldn't be a fearless descender by any stretch, I am better than I used to be. As others have said, looking well ahead where you want the bike to be is key - I tend to just give quick scans to see if there's anything nearer I need to be aware off. All the other advice is good as well, and I'd add shifting back in the saddle/hanging your ar$e out over the back wheel to improve braking (allows more use of the front brake)

    I do find the map on the Garmin handy on roads I'm not familiar with - obviously only look at it when safe to to so, not when negotiating a set of hairpins at 60km/.h! In fact, I've recently gotten an Edge 530 which beeps when there's a sharp turn coming up (actually given screen limitation it tells you there's a "Sharp Ben" coming up 😅. Took a while to figure out why it was beeping cause I was generally focused on getting round said Ben at the time. Caveat to that of course being given the state of the roads these days you need to be wary of coming round a bend and finding a pothole

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,268 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    I nearly lost it on the Grass Routes Gran Fondo relying on my Wahoo (gave a far shallower turn than reality!). However, that feature on the 530 is very handy.

    If you're in a club, maybe they'd do some coaching? I know my own club does periodically, albeit we do have quite the expert in Janos Kohler!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭Mefistofelino

    1) Don't rely too much on what the Garmin is showing - some of the base maps are not entirely accurate in terms of what the road does or in road priority. What might look like a gentle curve through a junction where you have priority can turn out to be much tighter and have a Stop sign pointed right at you.

    2) Follow a confident descender. I remember reading of someone who followed Greg Lemond down a descent on the Etape du Tour a few years ago. He said he learned more about descending in that 15 minutes than he'd learned in decades of riding.

    3) Don't follow a confident descender. I think it was back around 12 years ago. Robert Gesink was a noted poor descender so in one race, as they crested a summit, Frank Schleck told Gesink to follow his wheel down the mountain. Gesink did, which meant he got a front row view of Schleck losing it and stacking it big-time. Did absolutely nothing for Gesink's confidence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 398 ✭✭GandhiwasfromBallyfermot

    If you live anywhere near Wexford I practice descending on the Slieve Coillte Viewpoint climb after the gates are closed to traffic. Road is completely closed after 8 or 9 and is ideal for practicing descending and climbing before the sun goes down. Just watch out for walkers and the odd speedbump :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,561 ✭✭✭Eamonnator

    Cornering confidence increases with time and experience.

    This pattern continues until it falls sharply and suddenly.

    Rule 64.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,979 ✭✭✭68 lost souls

    My descending confidence improved a lot after riding in Lanzarote for a few days. My fear here had been partly not knowing what’s around the corner etc but there were zero hedge rows etc there just wide open. That let me focus on the actually descending bits and not the fear of traffic etc. that then helped me when I came back home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,337 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    The hedgerows are annoying alright. The west coast has a lot of clear open roads with no hedgerow if it's something your after.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,207 ✭✭✭07Lapierre

    Is there a hill near where you live that you could practice descending? I live near Howth and I’ve been descending for years. Practice descending on a hill you are familiar with and ideally follow someone who is a better descender than you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,659 ✭✭✭2011abc

    Worth bearing in mind with ambulance and hospital services getting worse all the time it’s best err on the side of caution . Bad tyres and wet roads are as bad or worse than stressed ‘death grip ‘on handlebars .

  • Registered Users Posts: 454 ✭✭MediaMan

    I found this article very helpful when heading to the alps a few years ago