In our daily work as we deal with bicycle safety, technology and user manuals we come across lots of safety risks. The most frequent ones are published in articles of the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR – Europas Rennrad-Magazin Nr. 1, BIKE – Das Mountainbike Magazin Europas Nr. 1 and E-Bike – Das Pedelec-Magazin to make this information important for the sector accessible to a wider public.
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Some cyclist climb uphill for the only reason to subsequently run light-heartedly downhill into the valley; for some others the fast downhill ride is a necessary evil when riding in the mountains. A pity actually. As with a little knowledge and practise both could be fun. And with the proper riding technique you reduce the fear that the electric drive may be not enough to bring you to the peak.
Our tip: Don’t wait until you're in the mountains to make yourself familiar with riding your pedelec uphill. Try on small uphill sections or even on motorway bridges and see how the pedelec behaves uphill, how to relieve your legs by changing between riding in the saddle and out of the saddle and how to brake properly at high speed. But: Always do these test rides off public roads!
Riding uphill is all in the head; the occasional change between continuous pedalling in the saddle and out of the saddle relieves both your bottom and your legs, as riding out of the saddle activates other groups of muscles.
When riding in the saddle switch down into the lowest gear possible. This allows continuous pedalling. Always ride with your elbows slightly bent. This allows you to absorb minor shocks due to uneven ground. In doing so your bottom slides almost automatically on the saddle to the rear. Vary the assistance rate in relation to the route. The assistance rate should be higher on uphill sections and lower on flat sections. Read the uphill course. You may face steeper uphill sections and you should be prepared to them. Always ride with this fact in mind. Avoid potholes in the road that may get you out of the step and never take the serpentine road at its steepest way – the outside of such sharp bends are much more flat than the inside. (…)
FAST AND SAFE DOWNHILL
Downhill it’s getting faster – due to the higher weight of the pedelec it gets faster than you're used to it from the trekking bike. Higher speeds act on the riding stability of frames, forks as well as brakes. The most important point to avoid negative surprises is to ride with this fact in mind. A number of pedelecs tend to bob heavily during the ride. This dangerous bobbing of the handlebars can result in the rider losing control of the bike – insignificant actions suffice already, for example riding with only one hand on the handlebars to close the zipper of your jacket. Therefore, stop before you set off downhill, put on your jacket or vest, close the zipper and take a sip from your bottle. Now you are fit for riding downhill and can keep both hands on the handlebars. (…)
A bicycle is not a car – according to the rider’s abilities no more than 10 to a maximum of 70 percent of the deceleration values can be achieved with a pedelec compared to a car. Therefore, the most important rule for riding downhill is: Keep your distance from cars as well as from cyclists ahead!
As well as: Avoid permanent braking. Dragging brakes may heat up and fail. Backpedal brakes and roller brakes are particularly prone to fading brake performance. But rim brakes can also heat up the rim and result in a damaged inner tube.
Always actuate the front and the rear brake simultaneously to spread the heat generated by braking. Brake with force and release the brakes subsequently to allow them cooling down by the wind blast. (…)
SAFE THROUGH THE BEND
1. Approaching a bend
Look ahead and observe the course of the road. (…) Look for a riding line which is free of dirt, oil and potholes. Keep to the right when braking before riding into a left-hand bend, keep to the middle when riding into a right-hand bend and keep just right of the white centre line. Also observe the traffic approaching from behind, slide your bottom as far as possible to the rear and decelerate with both brakes (…)
2. Entering a bend
Look far ahead into the bend (…). Adapt the line to the conditions. And what is also important: Bring the pedal on the side of the bend in upright position. In this position it will not hit the ground. Release the brake before you adopt an inclined position and continue rolling.
Keep as long as possible outside until the course of the road is clear in front of you. Only then turn softly to the inner side of the bend (…).
4. Riding out of the bend
Slowly return to the outside of the bend (…). As soon as you've come out of your inclined position, you can start pedalling to gain speed.
Author: Dirk Zedler
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