Slow Riding

As a cyclist for most of my life and a motorcyclist on some pretty huge bikes for quite a number of years and I learnt some good skills.

Here I’d like to share with you some tips for slow riding – a skill which seems to cause many riders to stumble.

On my vintage DaHon III. Low speed control is especially important on 16″ wheels.

1. Keep off the front brake

Your front brake stops you, your back brake slows you. Even slight use of the front brake will pull your steering to one side and will start the inevitable wobbles. Gentle use of the back brake and practice in a local carpark will soon build up your slow riding skills and you’ll be balancing at the lights in no time!

2. Cranks Horizontal!

When slow riding, or freewheeling in general it is good to keep your pedal cranks horizontal. Having one up or down on a folding bike is a bad idea especially on rougher terrain as having the crank shaft so low to the ground (as is the nature of most folding bikes) leaves you prone to catching things sticking up such as roots and rocks. Of course when making tight turns it is often an idea to raise the foot nearest the turn to raise your ground clearance even more.

3. Stick to a middle gear

When approaching any prospective slowdown or pinch point it’s always best to anticipate a gear and change across in one or two shifts. If you’re on a seven speed I’d suggest third or fourth. It allows for less hard pedal pushing (and possible loss of balance) to get you moving and gives you a fairly fast acceleration when you do finally need to go.

I know everyone has their own methods, but the first two in particular are key even when I’m riding my BMX.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips you can share!

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