1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: My first fall

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81

    My first fall

    Today, while coming down a steep fire road, I hit lost control of my walmart bike, and went head over handle bars. I was coming down 20-25mph, I hit my rear brake to slow down for a sharp turn, my rear brake locked up and lost control, hit the bank, flew over the bars. Good thing for helmets. I have some slight discomfort on my neck and and can't fully move my right ankle around. Be careful out there folks.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    63
    Heh, I had my 100,000th or so crash today. I was shooting down some nice singletrack and came upon two sets of kickers. I cleared the first no problem, but totally cased the second, slammed into my seat then went airborne over the bars (I guess on the rebound) and ate the landing on my right shoulder/ribs.

    Got a nice (though inexplicably symmetrical & geometrical) bruise, and some mighty sore ribs, and trashed my saddle.

    Mountain biking is fun.

  3. #3
    College Boy
    Reputation: Timeless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    768
    welcome to the world of mountain biking. You meet one of your final requirements to join the ranks and that is your first crash. It was you first and it sure as hell will not be your last.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    hehe, lets hope the second one doesn't come soon.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Modena's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    126
    I wouldn't really worry about the second crash too much, just look at what went wrong with the fall and make some tweaks to prevent it from happening again.

    Remember to use the RICE method on your ankle to help it heal faster. Just wait till you start getting cuts and bruises and people start asking questions.
    "If I am cut, do I not bleed?" -Kane

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    what is RICE?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Modena's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    126
    Link to R.I.C.E.

    But because we are all lazy, it stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate.

    I think all the elements are pretty self explanatory, but compression just means wrapping the joint or whatever in an ace bandage.
    "If I am cut, do I not bleed?" -Kane

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    Thanks, I didn't know RICE stood for that. I just got back from the Chiroprator, fixed the neck, wrist, and ankle. I wasn't a believer in Chiroprators until recently.

    Lessons learned from the fall.
    1) Don't allow the bike to go faster than my abilities.
    2) Don't ride on a shitty walmart bike (tomorrow will be replaced with a SJ Pro carbon)
    3) Don't lock up the rear tire at 20mph on lose dirt.
    4) Apply even pressure on both rear ond rear tires when braking.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by aztec31
    Thanks, I didn't know RICE stood for that. I just got back from the Chiroprator, fixed the neck, wrist, and ankle. I wasn't a believer in Chiroprators until recently.

    Lessons learned from the fall.
    1) Don't allow the bike to go faster than my abilities.
    2) Don't ride on a shitty walmart bike (tomorrow will be replaced with a SJ Pro carbon)
    3) Don't lock up the rear tire at 20mph on lose dirt.
    4) Apply even pressure on both rear ond rear tires when braking.

    1) Yes, good idea.
    2) See 1).
    3) Don't lock up your tires ever, unless you're on pavement and trying to look cool to a bunch of 10-year-olds. It's bad for the tire, the trail, and for stopping distance.
    4) Actually, on loose or slippery surfaces, that method can cause fishtailing, because as the front slows down and the rear gets light, it can suddenly lock and consequently speed up, and try to pass the front tire. This usually equals a crash. Unless the conditions absolutely prevent it (i.e. applying front brake would cause your front to wash out) you should brake entirely with your front brake.

    If you don't believe me, believe Sheldon Brown:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

    That Stumpy ought to be tons of fun! Good luck.

  10. #10
    Ride 2 Work, Work 2 Ride!
    Reputation: thebigred67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,485
    #4) Foot down on the inside and let the rear slide. That way even if you do go down you have more cotrol. More then likely you will be able to slide around the corner. Pratice in a gravel parking lot or dirt field. And I am not saying it should be a habit (screws up trails) just in a pinch. #1) is best!
    "Don't give up, Never give up!"

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    38
    im glad your first fall wasn't too bad. mine was terrible. i fell w/ my tail bone landing directly on a rock, which just to let you know, tend to be very hard. it hurt so bad that i threw up, and i couldn't sit down for longer than 30 mins. ouch

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    So, when going downhill I should only use my front brakes?

    What happened to me is I was coming in fast to a turn, moved over to the side to take it as wide as possible, however i soon realized i was going to fast, i used my rear brake then it locked up started to fish tail, I also started to use my front break thats when I lost total control.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    63
    Coming downhill you should use fronts when the angle of the hill allows (i.e. it wouldn't shift weight too far forward). You can scrub some weight with the rear if you have enough weight over it, but it's easy to lock the rear coming downhill because it's not weighted very heavily. And as you found out the hard way, a locked wheel = no control. But yes, except in sketchy traction conditions (whether it's due to trail surface/weight distribution/whatever), it's always better to use the front brake.

    A rear locked by itself can't really cause a true "fishtail", although you can slide it nicely. It's not good for the trail, but it's better than eating a mouthful of rocks. Just throw it sideways and ride it out like you did when you were a kid. That's an emergency maneuver only, as bigred said.

    It sounds to me like you need to work on your brake control. Getting on the brakes too suddenly causes lockups. You need to be gradual and smooth on the levers to get the most stopping power out of the available traction, especially on loose or gravelly trail.

    In future, if you're coming into a turn too fast, remember that your tires only have a given amount of traction, and you can brake, turn, or share the traction between the two. It's often better to just ride the turn at what seems like too great a speed -- the worst you can do is wash out the front and go down. If you suddenly grab too much brake while going fast and turning, you can high-side and have a really nasty wreck, or wash the front out and go down.

    The best solution in that situation is to brake while continuing straight (or as straight as possible) until you get down to a speed you can handle, even if that takes you to the apex of the turn and the edge of the trail.

    Of course the best thing to do next time is know the trail and you and your bike's abilities before you go charging around corners.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    I've always been afraid to use my front brake because of locking the front tire and going over the bars.

    So, when coming down hill if my wheels are straight and I'm on the seat, I should just apply pressure on the front brake, but not enough to lock it up, right? What if I'm on the turn already, just slide out? Hopefully hydralic brakes will make it easier to modulate that point before lockup.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    63
    If you're in the turn already, you've missed your braking point. Like I said above, you should brake while going straight, then turn. That's how you go fast (it maximizes traction). As an emergency action (ie unexpected object in path) you can throw the back brakes on and slide it sideways, or put a foot down, or both, etc. But ONLY as emergency. It's poor technique if used as an everyday method.

    Yes, use your front brakes. Practice stopping with only your front brake in a parking lot to start. This is the best traction you're going to get -- but be smooth on the lever until you get a feel for it, or you can go over the bars. Get it to where you can stop quickly and surely. Your rear tire will almost lift off the ground when you're stopping at maximum. Then move to grass (softer landing if you make mistakes, less traction). Once you've mastered that, go to gravel/dirt. Then experiment with braking over obstacles. That's where it gets really tricky.

    If you haven't already, read that article by Sheldon Brown I linked above, he goes into good detail.

    edit: I just realized it hasn't been mentioned yet -- but when braking really hard, it's best to get out of the saddle and shift your weight back, use your arms to resist the tendency of hard braking to throw you forward.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    Thank you, I've read that article. I will go out this weekend and try on a parking lot to learn how to brake with the front tire. Then go out to a dirt road. Getting out of the saddle for me will take some time, I've tried that and find it a little difficult.

  17. #17
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,898
    You have to brake before you enter the turn or the sketchy section.

    Hit the brakes in a turn or on loose surface and you lose traction. The way I think about is: a tyre has only so much traction, if you expend spome of it in braking, there's less left for turning.

    Hit the brakes over some nasty rocks in a steep descent and you go OTB. The front will find a way to get stuck on something.

    When you are in the tricky spot you let the wheels turn.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    This is all great info. Would it be safe to go downhill on a new bike with brakes that haven't been fully broken in?

  19. #19
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,898
    I'd want to know that my brakes are fully functional before I ride anything steep with them.

  20. #20
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    25,589
    Body armor is awesome
    Formotion Products
    http://www.formot

  21. #21
    College Boy
    Reputation: Timeless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    768
    I might like to point out your front brake is where 70% of you stopping power comes from even on flat ground most of the stopping power comes from the front. The is a reason why cars have bigger brakes on the front wheels.

    For coming down hill like you I was afraid to you my front brake in fear of going over my bars but now I am to the point where I hardly ever use my rear brake. I use the rear to bleed off minor speed or when I need to stop fast. other wise it all front.

    I would also tell you what got me over the fear was flying down a hill and the rear brake was just not doing it and I figure out it takes quite a bit to lock the front and it sure has hell bleeds a lot of speed.

    As some else point out once you enter a turn you missed your braking point from that point it just better to go with out your brakes because you have a much better chance of making it though the turn and not crashing than if you tried to brake (I am still working on this one) You have to remember you have only a limited amount of traction to split between braking and turning. Start braking in a turn that means less traction to use for the turn.

    Once you get over the fear of the front brake and learn that it is friend you will find you self making that your primary brake.

  22. #22
    Ride 2 Work, Work 2 Ride!
    Reputation: thebigred67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,485
    The key is to control your speed. Also braking in a rough section will make it even rougher and harder to ride. Get to your speed before the section. Finding your control speed is the hard part and also why newbs crash allot. To slow and you just fall over, to fast and you go flying! I did it myself. I sounded like a tree falling when I went down. Just a dead thud. It always made me laugh even though it hurt.
    "Don't give up, Never give up!"

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    81
    This is all good information. When it coming down hill is it better to feather the brake, meaning holding the lever slighly to control the speed or is it better to do it in bursts (pull hurt, then release, and repeat)?

  24. #24
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    25,589
    Depends on the rider, i feather the brake in certain sections but in others you want to jab kinda late brake.

    If your a fast rider you tend to late brake with some drag to scrub speed but speed is your best friend in many cases. No throttle to pull off the corners.
    Formotion Products
    http://www.formot

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •