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So we were on a local bike trail, and I kind of went over the speed limit (posted at 20mph). Came to a point where I needed to brake, and was going faster than I'd really expected. I was able to stop in time, but took longer than I like because I still have a fear of the front brake.

What is the proper way to use the front brake and not go over the handlebars? This particular bike is a Trek 7.5 but I'm assuming the proper way would work on a road bike as well.
 

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Squeeze it smoothly. Worst case, shift your weight off the back of the seat. In an emergency stop, where you might need to bail, that's what you should be doing anyway. I would suggested you practice on flat ground, perhaps even dry grass. You want to find the point where the wheel is about to lock, but doesn't. And that varies by tire and terrain.

With practice, it becomes second nature. When I do an emergency stop on my motorcycle, the back wheel makes a little chirp as it leaves the ground and comes back down. I can find that point where braking is right at the threshold of skidding the front wheel, and the weight transfer will lift the back wheel off the ground, but only an inch or so. And I got that skill from bicycling.
 

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Don't be afraid of the front brake. Can you go over the handlebars? Yes and its happened to me, but in that case my rear brakes totally failed. The odds of that are a million to one, and less than that if you are not a 13 year old that didn't pay as much attention to maintenance as he should have. Didn't hurt either me or the bike, other than the ribbing I have taken over the years for flipping over a snake. Thought I had finally lived it down till one of the guys that saw it found me a few days ago, and he was still laughing. Wanted to know if I wanted a pet water moccasin.

When I got back into cycling I had years of steering with my feet, and often brakes were as much of a part of the steering as anything so I ended up understanding brake balance. Pressure had to be equal or you went to one side or the other.

Knowing that I started slow, maybe 5 mph and used both brakes to stop. A computer is a big help. I used a local park where no cars were allowed and the trail was narrow enough that if I had fallen over it would have been in grass and not on asphalt. Here is where I began to experiment. First mostly back brake (which you already do) than add more and more front brake till I had a smooth balanced stop. The increase the speed and try it again.

I also did a stop really slow on just front brake. I wanted to be so slow that I couldn't go over the bars, but I wanted to feel the sensation when too much front brake is applied so at a higher speed Id know when to back off the handle before it was too late.

You get a lot of sensation from your hands and your backside. Trust them. They know the bike.
 

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i use both equally or slightly more front brake... what Hack said about coming off the back of the saddle is helpful. when mountain biking i do it all the time. sometimes i catch myself doing it on the road bike... where it is usually not needed.

once you get used to the front brake if you are anything like me you will realize you could ride without a rear one but never without a front one... sounds crazy but it is true.
 

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So we were on a local bike trail, and I kind of went over the speed limit (posted at 20mph). Came to a point where I needed to brake, and was going faster than I'd really expected. I was able to stop in time, but took longer than I like because I still have a fear of the front brake.

What is the proper way to use the front brake and not go over the handlebars? This particular bike is a Trek 7.5 but I'm assuming the proper way would work on a road bike as well.
Maybe this can illustrate the good advice already offered.

The photo shows an officer executing a quick stop technique taught in the League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Classes and the International Police Mountain Bike Association Training Programs.

There are two keys to the quick stop. First, get your weight as far back and as low as possible. If you can’t get far back, at least get as low as possible. Second apply both brakes using more pressure on the front brake than the rear brake. A skidding or lifting rear wheel means you're trying to stop too fast, so, if the rear wheel starts to lift or skid, ease up a little on the front break until is sets back down. You'll stop fast and under control.

Here is a link to an IPMBA video. Maximum Braking (IPMBA)

Once you do the quick stop a few times it becomes almost automatic.
 

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YAY BAIKS!
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Maybe this can illustrate the good advice already offered.

The photo shows an officer executing a quick stop technique taught in the League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Classes and the International Police Mountain Bike Association Training Programs.

There are two keys to the quick stop. First, get your weight as far back and as low as possible. If you can’t get far back, at least get as low as possible. Second apply both brakes using more pressure on the front brake than the rear brake. A skidding or lifting rear wheel means you're trying to stop too fast, so, if the rear wheel starts to lift or skid, ease up a little on the front break until is sets back down. You'll stop fast and under control.

Here is a link to an IPMBA video. Maximum Braking (IPMBA)

Once you do the quick stop a few times it becomes almost automatic.
This technique will also keep you from going over the bars because as you can see the seat will hit you square in the balls and stop your forward momentum. LOL!
 
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