Crashing while cycling sucks. There’s just no other way to say it! The good thing though, is that many crashes can be avoided by knowing how to stay out of trouble or understanding how to handle your bike in potentially dangerous situations.
Here are a few of them:
- Overlapping Wheels. When riding in a bunch, the golden rule is DO NOT OVERLAP WHEELS. What is meant by “overlapping wheels” is that you shouldn’t ride behind someone in a position where your front wheel is ahead of his rear wheel. There will always be some degree of overlapping wheels when riding in a bunch, but it’s a bad position to put yourself in. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you are responsible for your front wheel, not the person ahead.
- The second crash. When riding in a bunch and you hear that awful sound of carbon and metal cracking and sliding along the pavement behind you, there’s often a second crash quickly after. This is caused by the riders looking behind them to see what happened. When you hear a crash behind you, don’t panic and continue as you were. Unless of course, you’re concerned about the rider who might have crashed.
- Braking while cornering. Most crashes happen on corners. The most common thing that happens is the front wheel washes out and before you know it you’re sliding along the pavement. The biggest thing to remember is not to suddenly grab your brakes while in the middle of a corner. When braking, the weight of the bike and rider moves forward and the front tire makes the transition from unloaded to loaded. Making this change too quickly won’t allow the front tire to cope with the sudden requirement for additional traction. Progressively using the back brake settles the rear and affects how the weight is distributed during braking (which should only be done in a straight line). All of your braking should be done before you enter the corner while you are upright (not leaning). If you arrive at the corner and suddenly recognize that you are going too fast, straighten the bike and feather the brakes (more rear than front) and get into it again.
- Changing your line in the middle of a corner. This comes back to entering a corner at the correct speed. When you decrease the radius of your turn, you’ll increase the amount of force pushing you to the outside of the corner. This is when your front tire can potentially wash out.
- Too much tire pressure. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by new cyclists. There’s a misconception that more tire pressure is better and makes you faster. It’s astonishing how many people pump up their clinchers to 140psi, the road gets a little bit wet, and then someone comes-off though a corner.
- Riding differently on wet roads. The same rules apply on wet roads as they do on dry roads; however, you need to be extra careful and let down your tire pressure. Many people will change their technique on wet roads. The only difference between wet roads and dry roads is that flaws in technique will be amplified and potentially dangerous.
What do you think, folks? Pretty easy to follow right? Just keep these tips in mind and we're sure that you won't endure any hospital drama of broken collarbone or that dreaded eyebrow stitch! ;)
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