Anyone Using Foot Brakes?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by 5-7HEAVEN, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Today I rode "The Iron Dragon", my twin-engined monster six miles east to the bike shop, then five miles west to Home Depot and Checkers for an electric roto-rooter and sparkplugs.

    Last night I installed a Cateye speedo so this was the first time I recorded speeds. Since sunday traffic was very light, I used the highway mostly.

    36.8mph tops on level ground. Maintaining traffic speed at 31-32 mph.

    Stopping at the lights became a problem. Front and rear brakes started fading until I started rubbing the front tire with both of my rubber-soled steel-toed boots.:idea:

    It worked GREAT!! especially along with front and rear brakes. I started using foot brakes at every traffic stop.

    Boots look fine. No damage to front tire. Rubber on rubber. All is good.

    Switching to front chain drive this year, so disc brake is not an option.

    Anyone else using foot brakes?:grin5:

  2. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    Ah, shades of Fred Flintstone...:grin5: Seriously though, the only time I've tried to use foot braking was on my '46 Columbia, before I added a front drum brake. I lost the nut and bolt that anchor the coaster brake arm to the frame, and I was going down a slight grade at about 20mph. I was lucky, and that incident got me to add a front drum brake to the bike. Since then, I've had enough stopping power that I don't need to use foot braking.
  3. mabman

    mabman Member

    Hopefully you are the only one. Please be careful, stopping from those speeds is not a joke.
  4. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Mabman, I don't see foot braking as a joke. I see it as extra braking power. I'm not gonna stop doing it because naysayers think it's funny. You go ahead and crash when your bike's brakes fail. Me, I'm applying foot brakes.

    It works for me and it makes sense to me to do that than to experience brake fade and hit something.

    This is how I rationalize it. If you travel on the sidewalk at 3-5mph or the shoulder at OCCASIONALLY 20 mph, your vee brakes should serve you well enough with good maintenance. When I claim the traffic lane I need to maintain 25mph in town and 35mph highway. At high speeds I need disc brakes or higher-quality vee brakes, good maintenance...and foot brakes.

    When I ride on the street or highway, I will NOT ride on the shoulder alongside 5,000lbs of steel and inattentive drivers. When traffic is heavy I wait for the cars to stop at the lights. I wait at a safe spot 50 feet ahead of the light. When the cars stop, I take off. When they catch up, I pull over and wait for the lights to stop traffic again. If traffic is very light like today, I claim the lane and keep up with traffic.

    Motorized bikes with only coaster brakes are accidents waiting to happen.

    I've had coaster brake with front vee brake and the coaster locked at speed.

    Dual vee-brakes work MUCH better than front vee and coaster.

    Dual vee brakes WITH foot brakes work MUCH better than dual vee brakes.

    It might seem like "ghetto" but it works great for me.

    Since the brakes faded, I will upgrade to better pads, but I'm still dragging my foot brakes.

    If things work well for me, I keep doing it regardless of naysayers.

    When you go fast you need maximum braking. On my next push trailer, optimum speed is 40 mph.

    That'll be with dual vee brakes, trailer drum brake...and foot brakes.

    On every run, when I get close to home, I turn off both engines so as not to bother the neighbors and coast slowly downhill about 150 feet. For practice, I use only footbraking and that's good enough to bring the bike to a complete stop.

    Like we use to say in the 1970's, don't knock it until you've tried it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  5. mabman

    mabman Member

    That would be Ghettoe in your case. :jester:
  6. graucho

    graucho Active Member

    Good one. My only adventure was parking in the driveway with my 56 PU truck and forgot
    the parking break. Skidded down the driveway in my sandles hanging onto the window frame
    screaming the "F in himer". Stopped it in about the middle of the street. Lucky there wasnt traffic.
    Nothing to report on my bikes.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  7. LOL That was all I had on my 1st in the 7th grade. I INVENTED stoppies around 1949.
    there wasn't a clutch either, but 2-3 legs along and it was running again. A very mild reliable Briggs and Stratton off a washing machine with a suction carb and horizontal sparkplug. A WI as I remember. About 5/8 hp but it got me to school 10 blocks each way every day for a year. All I had was a choke cable for a throttle. Talk about basic transportation ! KW
  8. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    I've used my foot as a brake on the top of the rear tire before, but never on the front. Be careful you don't accidentally lock that thing up or you'll be doing the superman.
  9. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I like your description, 5-7, of the way that you stagger yourself to be away from traffic.
    kudos. "Share the road" they say. That's doing it in a way that works for every one. It's bound to build good will.

    I've often considered converting to a single speed, coaster brake with hand brakes front and rear. That ought to get some pretty decent, double redundant braking.

    I haven't made the swithch because I only have one grade in my neighborhood that is too steep for two handbrakes. And there are ways around it; longer distance, but less steep.

    but it sounds like a good idea for you.
  10. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Yeah Bluegoat, ya can't make the drivers mad. It'd be so easy for one of them to take me out. All they have to do is gently guide me into the gutter/post/pole/whatever and nonchalantly drive away.

    Staggering is much safer, especially if I fall. That way the guy behind me doesn't squash me like a toad.
  11. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Today I returned the analog speedo I bought recently to the bike shop. There was a scary warning sign on the box that said.....


    So I returned it and bought the best vee brake pads available, and a second mirror.
  12. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    The "foot brakes" seem to work well for you, but not everyone has thick boots to wear to go riding, and I'd be afraid of getting my foot caught, because sometimes I find myself applying brakes at speed due to the occasional non-driver in a car cutting me off.

    5-7, speaking of V-brakes, I have found the best solution, is to go to Wal-Mart and get the Bell extra-length performance brake pads. My mountain bike (like most) has no coaster or disk brakes, so I had to make the most of the standard V-brakes. (EDIT: I see by your prev post that you upgraded your brake pads)

    The regular short V-brake pads fade REALLY bad, especially with a heavy trailer at speed, and they don't have near enough friction surface. Changing to the better pads causes more tire wear because they are actually stopping like they are supposed to. Also these pads wear much slower and last long, because they are made of harder-compounded rubber.

    The best solutions for safe braking, is to slow down long before you plan to stop, so less energy is wasted in braking, and I find myself coasting to a slower speed a lot more now, so coming to a stop is easier.

    Coaster brakes are scary to me, because they are so easy to lock, and I don't want the rear tire coming out from under me. :ee2k:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  13. graucho

    graucho Active Member

    5-7 sorry for butting into your thread.

    Znsane you may have covered this before...
    When you where taking about braking I was picturing your pusher set up in my head. Then I pictured every pusher out
    there that people are talking about building.

    I invisioned a truck pulling a travel trailer and how the trailer brakes assist in the overall breaking of the entire set up.
    Have you, or anyone thought of a disk break on your pusher axle. You could have a dual hand break lever that goes to
    the rear wheel and also the pusher axle. (Like the power trailer brake principle) Triple stoping power.

    If I ever made a pusher I would make it with a minibike/minichopper type set up. These set ups have a disk brake.
    It dosent have to be as large as my set-ups, but you'll see the basic principle.
    Just an Idea. Sorry if its been brought up already.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  14. nickk

    nickk New Member

    foot brakes

    my mate lintern use's his feet as brakes due to slack to use front brake on handle bars(removed to fit throttle) and **** rear brake so he just drops the feet to stop haha and almost hits cars some times
    does this apply to this foot brakes, he has to ride for transport to work
    haha nick
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  15. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    Znsane, I find myself automatically applying foot brakes even while coasting. However, when mixing it up with stop-and-go traffic, not easy to coast and lose speed unless no one's behind you. Wiith the extra mirror, if I can see that no one's behind me I will coast more often.

    I had a hair raising experience coasting downhill on my new electrified bike when my brake locked up in traffic. :sweatdrop:

    Thankfully, I was able to bring the bike to a halt. The only damage to the bike was the coaster internals and the rim. Everything was replaced with HD top-quality parts after the incident.
  16. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    I normally coast away from cars in bike lanes or sidewalks, so you have a really good point there.

    I guess there is no bike lanes, and you go with the flow of traffic huh? I see....

    Hey, I see why you have 2 engines, and you want to build that trailer, you want to go fast because you have to in Hawaii!
  17. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    That's totally cool with me. I'm one of those folks that doesn't mind a good idea coming up every one in a while, repeated or not.
  18. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member


    If I were forced to one time in an emergency, it would be the only time and I would count myself lucky.

    I do know I would never factor it as a workable solution and if braking was that suspect on a particular bike I would put it aside until I reconfigured something.
  19. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    When you ride on the shoulder or on the bike lane/sidewalk, it's less demanding on bicycle and rider than claiming a lane in the middle of the road. On these alternative paths, you can coast, stop or pull off the road. No need to apply foot brakes.

    When you're in the middle of the road, the drivers behind you expects you to keep up with traffic or pull onto the shoulder. Many times it's stop-and-go traffic and you must keep up or pull over. Sometimes there's no room to coast to the next stop.

    I realize that bicycles are not engineered to go as fast as cars. There was this one rider two years ago who expected to cruise the highway at 50 mph on an interstate jaunt. Now that's crazy.

    So far I have seen absolutely no disadvantages of using foot brakes. When you consider the brake surface area of two steel-toed boots as compared to tiny vee brake pads, I KNOW that braking capacity has increased immensely.

    Yesterday I rode my bike to and from work, a rount trip of 12 miles. At lunch time, I rode home to check the mail. Top speed was 37 mph. When traffic slowed to a crawl, I took to the bike path(slow speed of course)until I passed the jam, jumped back on the road and motored home.

    The only spooky part is overtaking cars or a long line of stalled cars. Ya never know when one of them will cross your path.

    Foot brakes work like a charm for me. I expect to always use it when riding wherever I go. It's just part of my braking routine. My tire, wheel or botts seem none the less for wear and I stop much faster than normal braking.
  20. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    That's cool. I'm just imagining what it must be like in Hawaii to ride a motoredbike, LOL! :tt1:

    Now Hawaii would be GREAT for a souped-up bike trailer than can go FAST.

    I go comfortably at 35-40, but at 45-50, my engine is going too fast in RPM to wanna keep it there for very long. 37 is a good speed. I don't drive as fast as 37MPH often, but find in spurts, you NEED top speed to be SAFE! I'll go wide open sometimes. I usually keep it only about 20-30Mph. BTW, how's your OHC Subaru-Engine'd trailer coming along? Gear that thing fast for Hawaii, and the higher revving OHC engine, should make it sweet to ride there. Hope you get 45, 50 or more :jester: