Braking – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Bicycle Riding Techniques Glossary

I. What is braking?

Braking is the process of slowing down or stopping a moving vehicle, such as a bicycle, by applying pressure to the brakes. It is an essential skill for all cyclists to master in order to maintain control and safety while riding.

II. How do brakes work on a bicycle?

Bicycle brakes work by converting the kinetic energy of the moving bike into heat energy through friction. When the brake lever is squeezed, the brake pads are pressed against the wheel rims or disc rotor, creating friction that slows down the rotation of the wheels. This friction ultimately brings the bike to a stop.

III. What are the different types of brakes used on bicycles?

There are several types of brakes commonly used on bicycles, including:
1. Rim brakes: These brakes use pads that press against the wheel rims to create friction and slow down the bike.
2. Disc brakes: These brakes use a disc rotor attached to the wheel hub, with calipers that press against the rotor to create friction and slow down the bike.
3. Coaster brakes: These brakes are found on some single-speed bikes and work by pedaling backward to engage the brake mechanism inside the rear hub.
4. Drum brakes: These brakes use enclosed drums attached to the wheel hubs, with brake shoes that press against the inside of the drum to create friction and slow down the bike.

IV. When should you use your brakes while riding a bicycle?

It is important to use your brakes strategically while riding a bicycle to maintain control and safety. Here are some situations when you should use your brakes:
1. When approaching a stop sign or traffic light.
2. When going downhill or around sharp turns.
3. When encountering obstacles or hazards on the road.
4. When riding in wet or slippery conditions.
5. When riding in heavy traffic or crowded areas.

V. How can you improve your braking technique?

To improve your braking technique while riding a bicycle, consider the following tips:
1. Use both front and rear brakes together for maximum stopping power.
2. Squeeze the brake levers gradually and evenly to avoid skidding or losing control.
3. Shift your weight back slightly while braking to prevent flipping over the handlebars.
4. Practice braking in a safe and controlled environment to build confidence and skill.
5. Keep your brakes well-maintained and adjusted for optimal performance.

VI. What are common mistakes to avoid when braking on a bicycle?

When braking on a bicycle, it is important to avoid the following common mistakes:
1. Grabbing the brakes too suddenly, which can cause skidding or loss of control.
2. Only using the front brake, which can lead to flipping over the handlebars.
3. Riding with worn or improperly adjusted brakes, which can reduce stopping power.
4. Braking while turning, which can cause the bike to slide out from under you.
5. Failing to anticipate the need to brake, which can result in sudden stops or collisions.