As you apply your brakes, the weight of your body will shift forward naturally. This puts more weight on your arms and hands, causing more strain which will make you squeeze your brakes even harder, which makes your bike slow down faster, shifting additional weight. And this cycle continues.
The problem with this is that you would be unable to steer or you need to take corners very wide limiting your choices until you’re nearly at a stop. Another problem that may arise is that you lose traction on your rear wheel and it becomes easier to lock up your wheel, making it skid. This makes you lose steering control.
Additionally, hard braking will overheat your rims. The increased heat in the rim will likewise increase pressure on a tire that is usually over-inflated, causing blowout or even a crash.
Feathering your brakes (both rear and front) is a good bicycle braking technique can do. You engage your brakes just hard enough that you barely feel your weight starting to shift in your handlebars, but not enough for it to start placing additional strain on your hands. If you do such, your weight will still be on your saddle and you could still maneuver your bicycle. You’ll find this bicycle braking technique very helpful in a number of ways. But practicing this skill is paramount. Here are some ways to practice this bicycle braking technique:
(1) Simply squeeze your brakes while continuing to pedal, so you could feel the speed change with your legs. It’s best to practice different braking pressures to see how much pressure it would take before your weight is shifted into your handlebars and begins to affect your steering control. You have to be very good at this, so it becomes instinctive.
(2) Any time you stop, continue pedaling through your braking. You’ll learn how to better control your braking when you do so. Practice decreasing and increasing your braking force while making a stop.
Learning to feather your brakes will help you prevent a number of common effects. This is when you overlap your wheels then brake a bit too hard, a gap develops and then you bridge just to overlap again and then continue the cycle of slowing down and speeding up. Pedaling through while braking will help you keep the pace line tight, and sustain a more even speed, and moving forward.
Also, learning to better control your braking thru feathering can solve some cornering issues. Many people will advise that you can’t brake while cornering. This is because they basically don’t know how to feather their brakes, and have a tendency to engage their brakes too hard. Take note that applying your brakes too hard will shift the weight of your body forward, destabilizing your bicycle in corners.
Practicing these bicycle braking skills and techniques is paramount to a safer ride. For bicycles with premium braking systems, visit the website of Zize Bikes, the only maker of custom built, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.