Have you ever felt like your brakes are too powerful?
Or that your brakes don’t have modulation?
If so, then this article will explain why.
I’m going to use wheelies as context, but the theory can be applied in other circumstances too.
First off, brake modulation is when you're dragging your brakes, somewhere on the continuum between off and on.
In order to feel modulation for wheelies, your rear brake needs to be loaded, and this load is dependent on your Float Zone Weight Distribution.
For example, you WON'T be able to experience modulation when:
You’re in the front of the float zone or lower, or in other words a position where your front wheel wants to fall down forward when you’re not pedaling. If you add speed to this, then any hint of rear brake will throw the front wheel down without any chance to experience modulation. (Great for when you’re training your finger to rear brake habit).
Modulation during wheelies is...
From the Ryan Leech Connection Mtn Bike Skill Coaching Website
I have spent the last few months working on a variety of skills/challenges: manuals, bunnyhops, balance, technical climbing, etc. Because of this, I haven’t actually tried to wheelie in quite a while.
This morning, I decided to go to my local supermarket parking lot, and reacquaint myself with this skill. I started out with the basics– 1 stroke, 2 stroke, 3 stroke brake– no problem. Then I tried to hold a wheelie, having completed the 30 Day Wheelie Challenge (twice) over a year ago. Yikes! I fell to the right, I fell to the left, I came close to looping out. I was low in the float zone, I had trouble getting beyond 5 or 6 strokes. I got FRUSTRATED, and thought– I forgot this skill that I had worked so hard to achieve!
Luckily, I had my iPhone in the car. I pulled up the Ryan Leech Connection website, and went straight to one of my favorite lessons in the challenge: Day 16, future...
Wheelies took a very long time for me to learn. It was one of the very first tricks I worked on with my first mountain bike. I practiced relentlessly to learn it.
Once I overcame my frustrations and finally learned to wheelie, I had the belief that I could learn other technical bike tricks. I then discovered trials riding, and with my trust in practice, believed I could learn trials with enough dedication.
Essentially, I came to believe in the power of practice.
With yoga, I thought I was just a stiff biker dude, and would always be that way. My yoga teacher told me otherwise, and with practice I now enjoy, among many other things, an incredible range of motion.
With meditation, I thought it was a waste of time, both scientific and anecdotal evidence told me otherwise, so I practiced and sure enough, the benefits have been profound.
If you have an hour to practice something, how are you going to make use of that time? I remember when I was learning trials, I’d go on group...
This is a modified excerpt from The 30 Day Wheelie Challenge:
There is a common phenomena in technical sports where big gains are made AFTER giving up. This has been my personal experience too, though I find it’s not a matter of trying too hard, or needing to wait until you get to the point of giving up, it’s a matter of knowing when to take some time off!
I remember trying to balance down a wobbly chain on my bike for a video, tried about 200 times without success. Then came back a week or so later, and cleaned it within just a few attempts.
While there are fun days with no instruction built in to the Wheelie Challenge program with this exact phenomena in mind, you may need, as a strategic move, to take a step back for multiple days with zero practice. I’d recommend this for those who are overly frustrated, or those who are feeling some repetitive strain discomfort developing from their dedicated practice.
Everyone has a different idea of what ‘trying too...
For me, wheelies took a very long time to learn. It was one of the things I worked on when I got my first mountain bike. I practiced relentlessly to learn it, and for a while I never thought I actually would.
Eventually I did! It gave me the belief that I could learn other technical bike tricks. So when I discovered trials riding I was equipped with the belief that with enough practice I could achieve all the fun tricks I wanted.
Is there anything you've learned in or outside of riding based on your dedicated practice or study that would have otherwise seemed like a bit of a longshot?
I like to think of myself as a pro-practicer and that’s what led to my career as a pro-rider.
I remember when I was learning trials, I’d go on group rides. We’d be out riding and practicing trials for a few hours, and I would practice ten times more than anyone else in that same period of time. People would come up to me and say, “wow, you’re such a natural at...