I was taking my usual morning ride before dawn on an 'adventure' road bike. It is a very steep hill with bends (Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex, England). I was descending and noticed (too late) some debris on the road and applied the brakes on the first corner. My front wheel skidded, and I hit the road and slid quite some distance with very unpleasant consequences. No bones broken but a cracked helmet, torn clothes and some very nasty grazes and bruising. I have been riding a road bike for less than a year and obviously this is down to my lack of skill and judgement as a rider. I would like to learn from this experience. Factors I have considered are:
- Light. A better front light may have allowed me to see the debris earlier thereby braking before the bend, maybe not. Can you recommend a good front light?
- Braking technique. Perhaps I should not have used the front brake at all. I didn't think I applied it excessively, the bike just seemed to go before I realised it.
- Tyres. The tyres I have are mainly smooth with a very slight tread at the edges. Are there tyres that would prevent this kind of accident more than others?
- Clothes. My head hit the road very hard and the helmet saved me from serious injury I'm sure. However, as I was going downhill at speed I slid for some distance. When I came to rest I had large holes in my cycling trousers, gloves, tops and skin. Are there clothes that offer more protection without limiting movement or comfort?
- Experience. Assuming I want to continue riding downhill, in the dark, on less than perfectly clean and dry roads, what techniques should I aim to learn and how best should I learn them?