How to Safely Ride a Bicycle Downhill

While most of us have been riding a bicycle since we were young, chances are we’ve never been taught the proper way to ride downhill. Below, we’ve shared a list of tips for descending, courtesy of Gretchen Reynolds for The New York Times. Enjoy!

  1. Have your brakes checked. You should have a general checkup once a year.
  2. Tires matter, too. Reynolds writes that you shouldn’t overinflate your tires. For road tires, do not exceed 110 pounds per square inch (PSI). This will leave the tires slightly squishy so they make better contact with the road, which provides more stability. Other tires, such as mountain bike or hybrid tires are wider and require less pressure.
  3. Sit correctly. Reynolds writes that you should carry most of your body weight on your feet rather than straightening, locking your elbows, and moving backward on your seat. Your shoes should be pressed firmly against the pedals with your “hindquarters centered on the seat.” Keep your elbows bent, she says, and relax your shoulders.
  4. Avoid tensely clutching the handlebars and brakes. Instead, “lightly rest your palms on the bars, with the brake hoods nestled in the crook of your thumb” and one finger on the brake lever itself.”
  5. Curve ahead? Reynolds says that as you approach a curve, you should position the pedal on the outside of the curve down, toward the pavement. The idea is to keep your weight on that outside foot.
  6. Look down the road. Reynolds says that this is the most important tool for safe descending and safe bike riding.
  7. But don’t stare. Reynolds writes that if you fixate on something, such as stone or bump or pothole, you’ll likely steer right into it because your bike follows your vision. Instead, look to where you want to go, which would be around the obstacle.

For the rest of Reynolds’ tips, click here to read here article in its entirety.

Where Can I Rent a Bike?

Bicycle tips for riding downhill

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Looking to rent a road or mountain bike for your next excursion? Rent It Today can help! The most comprehensive rental resource online, Rent It Today can provide a list of rental bike companies in several other great cycling cities across the country. To browse a set of listings, visit!

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