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Western Wheelers Bicycle Club

November Safety Tip - Care when Descending

Fri, November 01, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Many of the great rides we have in our area travel hills and have long descents. There are some important considerations for safely handling descents. Start at home the day before the ride by making sure your bicycle is in good condition. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition and tires are fully inflated. Inspect your wheels for any misalignment or looseness. During your ride when descending, move back in the saddle to prepare for emergency stops. Many experts recommend getting "in the drops", where you have full braking leverage. Take care when passing fellow cyclists, always passing to the left, and announcing yourself before you pass. But most of all, SLOW DOWN! This is not a race and our roads are not in perfect condition. You will enjoy the ride more if you are relaxed and not pushing the limits of your bike, road conditions, or your own abilities.


  • Tue, January 07, 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous member
    Short story with a happy ending. On the 12/17/19 3rd Tuesday Blasberg Loop Ride, I was following Gary V as we descended the cut thru from Magdalena to Laura Ct. in Los Altos Hills. Steep enough to get some speed, narrowing, with brushy shoulders and overhanging oaks - it's a bit darker in there. Sure enough a not so big deer appears on the left, hesitates, runs into the narrow road, and hesitates again. Gary & I, both in the drops and apparently alert, reactively hit the brakes, hard. I watched as Gary's rear wheel swerved a bit, but he instantly righted it. The deer held it's position & we went past safely (whew!). However, even if the deer had moved into our path, I think we had braked off enough speed, while keeping control, to make for a soft enough landing.

    Now, I'm pretty sure that if we hadn't both been in the drops, we would have been neither in as sure control nor stopping fast enough to avoid a crash (perhaps into each other even). Of course being alert and aware of the setting - the other essential ingredient.

    Anyway, riding descents in the drops - yes! Always! Pls!
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