Index Home About Blog
Subject: Re: Rear brake misuse-was: Fixed gear converter?
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 06:25:21 GMT

Sheldon Brown writes:

> This can happen on a fixed gear, because with a fixed gear you get
> feedback through your legs the instant the rear wheel starts to
> slip.  This is why fixed gear bikes are preferred for slippery
> conditions.

This is the technique used to ride on frozen lakes or ice glazed
roads.  One uses the highest gear available and pedals as though it
were a stiff hub while braking only with the rear brake.  The feedback
loop to the brake lever is so closely coupled that the instant the
wheel slips, the feet stop and the brake is released.  It's a highly
effective anti-skid system.

Jobst Brandt    <>

From: (Jobst Brandt)
Subject: Re: How do track hub lockrings work.
Date: 26 Apr 2001 21:22:22 GMT

Andrew Muzi writes:

> I'm not going to disagree with you in general but I find the lack of
> complexity, consistent slowing (can't say "braking", but it's
> consistent unlike rim brakes) and the subliminal feedback to make no
> sudden changes all valuable in salt-water/ice winter riding.  Plus
> it's like being reborn every spring when I can (joyfully) coast once
> more!

There is a better way.  For my ice riding I ride top gear and slow
down with the rear brake while continuing to pedal just enough to not
coast.  You'd be surprized how well that works and how much faster you
can stop.  The mental linkage between brake hand and feet skid sensor
is amazingly fast and effective.

> I have never claimed to be mature anyway.

By all means don't do that.  I'm against that as well but that doesn't
mean you need to do worthless routines to prove you can't learn.  I
discovered ice riding years ago in a great adventure:

Jobst Brandt      <>

Subject: Re: Best bicycle for icy conditions?
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.misc,uk.rec.cycling
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 06:17:48 GMT

John Kaiser writes:

> Last year I fell on the ice and now that the cold is about to return
> I'm looking at options for a more stable bicycle for a 14 mile
> commute to work and back.

> I've been riding standard road bikes with 700 by 23 wheels. I'm
> thinking a better configuration for icy conditions would be a
> mountain bike with fat wheels and lots of tread. But I've hardly
> ridden mountain bikes so I'm not sure.

Lower pressure and slick tires is your best bet.  The lower the
pressure on the ice the less lubricious it is.  Knobby tires do the
converse with their localized contact at most any pressure.  In that
vein, fat slicks on a MTB work better but riding style does more.

Braking and pedaling is where the most improvement can be made.  Ride
in a high gear to keep torque low and when braking, that is done with
the rear wheel only, keep the pedals turning so you can tell whether
the rear wheel is skidding or not.  The sensation of a skid, instant
stop of the feet, is so well coupled with the hands that the brake can
be released almost instantly to avoid loss of control.

I've ridden many miles of frozen lakes with clean and snowy ice with
good results using this method.  I ride my highest gear.  Tire tread
patterns only reduce contact (increase pressure) and only have benefit
where an impression is made in the road.

Jobst Brandt    <>

Index Home About Blog