Ride, Don't slide.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    jalepenio jimenez
    Reputation: mudflap's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Ride, Don't slide.

    As I was watching a medical video at work the other day, my thoughts drifted to fantacizing about those times not long ago when you could ride a hardtail through our foothill trails and not feel the need to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor immediately after. Today, thanks to multiple inches of both front and rear travel suspension, most of us are still able to curl our fingers around a cold one after spending a couple hours slamming through our foothills and skipping off the washboards that have grown up on almost every trail. Believe it or not, those washboards didn't exist back in those early days of riding. My first bike (G.F. Montare) didn't have any suspension and my second bike had only a pathetic elastomer front fork.

    This evolving degradation of both washboards and channeled ruts are unquestionably the most destructive results of the impact we mountain-bikers have on our awesome maze of foothill singletrack.

    While most of us are aware that skidding and excessive, uncontrolled speed are the cause of this degradation and practice the necessary techniques to minimize it, we all occasionally contribute to it, albeit unintentionally. With the advent of disc brakes, we now have an incredible amount of control over our speed and braking modulation. Where we used to have the choice of either locking 'em up or not even feeling their effect, we can now ease into a corner without having to send that precious dirt flying in all directions.

    It still amazes me to ride Hull's Gultch and see where someone going too fast had to so abruptly slow down that they not only had to lock 'em up, but then they skid off the trail. Whether you realize it or not, you are riding out of control when you have to lock up your brakes to slow down: your excessive speed is out of control and once you lock up your brakes you are pretty much out of control.

    So, save your tires and the trails by riding under control. With the current numbers of riders in the foothills, our trails are more and more vulnerable to the impacts of excessive speed and the resulting excessive braking/skidding. Practice using that front brake for most of your stopping power. Any time your rear tire begins to skid, use a little more front brake and let that rear tire roll through the deceleration.

    Going fast doesn't have to result in an abrupt skid for the next corner. I 'trooly luv' hauling ass down trail 4, but by anticipating the terrain ahead and using a little foresight, I manage to ride "the ride" with minimal skidding through any of the approaches to the next corner or drop. Not sliding doesn't ruin the ride for me. Instead, it makes me feel like I am in complete control, and who doesn't feel better when they are in complete control of their actions?

  2. #2
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Another factor....

    'back in the day' the ridership was a fraction of what it is now. Truly an equal, if not greater component than simply blaming brakes and shocks. I have been monitoring this debate for oh, 15 years or so...it is just one of those 'unkowables', like the debate that snowboarders carry more snow off of a pitch than skiers....bottom line, beginner skiers and beginner boarders use more edge....advanced riders of either ilk use far less. Conclusion?
    If your brakes are boiling on a CC trail, it is either too steep, or you are entering turns too hot!
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

    Thrill Bikers Unite!

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