If there’s one thing about Mountain Bikers, it’s how nice they generally seem to be and how willing they are to share any knowledge they may have with others.
In that spirit, Jem recently returned from an MTB skills course to dispense all manner of useful advice along the lines of ‘Pedal, pedal, pedal’, said in a kind of All Mountain yodel.
But one nugget of information he imparted did at least seem to lodge itself in my consciousness and I’ve been trying it out ever since. I’m talking about using the rear brake more effectively, not just in moments of major ‘I’ve got to stop’ panic when all anchors are thrown overboard.
Some people seem to pick this up unconsciously but for those of us with feet of clay here’s a quick rundown of this technique – why use it, and what you do.
Why do you use it?
The idea is that you use the rear brake to help balance yourself and the bike when you are travelling slowly, in particular trying to negotiate tight obstacles on the trail. The natural tendency to wobble is reduced through simple physics, or as I suspect, the use of anti gravity circuitry hidden inside the frame of the bike that it activated by the rear brake.
However it does it, you find yourself able to magically hold a line you would normally have lost, or bring you bike speed down to ridiculous levels without falling. All very useful.
So what do you do?
It’s quite simple really. When you feel you need a bit of extra help, drag the rear brake by gently squeezing the lever. Don’t yank it on, but just feather it until it starts to bite and gives you the control you need.
A good way to practice is by riding round in an ever tightening circle, maybe in an empty car park. You be surprised at how tight you can go once you’ve mastered this technique.
Out on the trails, it’s amazing how often this comes into play.
Try it, I hope it helps.