. . . that you should use your front brakes when biking? And here I thought they were just there for decoration — to balance things out.
But no, the front brakes, when applied with the rear brakes, can help you stop faster than applying the rear brakes alone, which might be useful in an emergency situation! As I consider myself a rather experienced cyclist, I make this admission with a bit of embarrassment. I just bought a new pair of rear brake pads, while the front pads look almost brand new — time to conquer my front brake fear.
Apparently my fear of touching the front brakes on my bike is irrational, and you can, in fact, use the front brakes without causing your bike to flip over the front tire. The strange thing? The situation I so fear has never happened to me.
There WAS a close call a couple of years ago. My eyes exceeded the size of my backpack at the farmers’ market, so I foolishly biked home with a bag of produce hanging from my right handle bar. The bag started to slip, so I reached my right hand out to adjust it. Next thing I knew, I braked hard with the only hand available, my left hand (front brake), and my bike and I came THIS close to taking a little flip.
I’m not sure what, if anything, I did to prevent it, though if you find yourself in this situation and have the presence of mind, all you have do is release the front brake and the back of your bicycle will return to the ground.
After yesterday’s enlightenment (at a bike course, which I found to be very useful, even after 5 years as a bike commuter), I’m forcing myself to use both my front and rear brake. I feel my left hand cramping up already from all of the unaccustomed exercise 😉