Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dangers of fast descents on a cheap frame.

When I got my first road bike I got a real kick out of being able to go downhill at 30mph, then it crept up a bit and I could get to 42mph even on Suffolk roads, then I went up North and got nearly to 55mph. It was when I reached nearly 55mph that I realised the cheapo audax frame I ride isn't really cut out for speed. A realisation I soon forgot. Until today.

I was descending a hill in Richmond Park, just about to knock it into my highest gear and go into an aero tuck when an oncoming Merc pulled onto my side of the road to overtake a cyclist. I feathered the brakes, feathered some more and decided to try and squeeze through the gap that would be left between the car and the kerb. Not ideal, there was a fair amount of gravelly debris in that narrow margin. As I tried to relax my grip on the bike and continued to attempt an emergency deceleration the bike started leaping about under me like a bucking bronco. I really had to work hard to keep my calm but I was loosing control fast so had to go where the bike wanted to take me, which was off the road. I managed to stay upright somehow and came to a halt at the end of a deep furrow carved by my wheels in the grass.

That's it. I'm DONE with descending fast, at least until I get a bike fit for purpose...

I was on that hill three times, can you tell which descent went a bit wrong?