Now, let us look at the important art of braking and stopping. First of all, you need to know what brake lever operates which brake. Under British Standards, the brake lever for the front brake should be on the right hand side of the handlebars with the rear brake on the left hand side. Check your Swifty scooter as this may not be the case. My Swifty Zero came with the brakes lever cables unattached and no instructions which cable was for which brake. I would suggest, if you are a bicycle rider, to make them the same as your bicycle.
The basics. To brake efficiently, your front brake is there to stop you and the back brake is there for slowing down. Roughly 75% of your braking power comes from the front brake with 25% for the back brake. So, when approaching a hazard such as a dog walker with an uncontrolled dog, use the rear brake to scrub some speed. If you find yourself having to slow down even further, or perhaps stop because the dog is heading in your direction, also use the front brake. Once clear of the hazard, release the brakes and continue scooting.
One of the secrets of safe braking is not having to brake at all by using advance planning. As you scoot along you should be looking out for potential hazards and adjusting your speed accordingly by simply not kicking and allowing the scooter to slow itself down. This can often be enough that you need never use the brakes. A little bit of planning makes for smooth scooting.
Regardless of the situation, always apply brakes with caution. If you have correctly setup V-brakes, or have installed powerful hydraulic brakes such as Maguras, it can be very easy to loose control in some instances. For example, applying the front brake hard when cornering on wet, loose or slippy surfaces may cause the front wheel to loose traction and you will fall of. Same with the rear wheel. It is very easy to lock the rear wheel in the above situations.
Some hints and tips:
- use the rear brake first, followed by the front.
- keep your brake pads and wheel rims clean for better braking.
- look at where you want to stop rather than the front wheel.
- keep your arms and body relaxed for better control.
- never suddenly grab the front brake or you may loose control.
- brake very gently on wet, loose, slippery or sloping surfaces.
- avoid braking on bends, reduce your speed before the bend.
Copyright ©2019 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.