Braking on a Mountain Bike
Spend some time getting the feel of the brakes, first on pavement, then in gravel and dirt.
Begin by using both brakes equally while riding slowly, then crank up the speed a bit and do the same again. Once you're comfortable, see how applying one brake harder than the other affects your handlingbut do this very carefully at first. And do this only while pedaling in a straight line, for you shouldn't be using your front brake at all when you're turning hard; stopping the front wheel's rotation at such a point can cause it to fall away (wash out) beneath you. Such a fall is better than a headplant, but it still hurts.
You will find that your front brake (the left grip) applies far more stopping power than your rear (remember "right-rear, right-rear"), and that locking up your rear wheel in gravel or on dirt causes you to skid. Do some skidding on purpose in the gravel, so that you get the feel of it and how to control it (by letting up on that rear brake). Practice this on a trail and you'll be doing the same kind of damage that's done by riders who don't anticipate the required braking up ahead, and who fail to use the "sit" positionshift their bodies backwardbefore hard braking.
After a while, the most common form of proper braking on a mountain bikesimultaneous front and rear braking, with slightly less pressure applied in frontwill become second nature. As will an intuitive sense for when to use only one brake or the other.
Practice too the art of "feathering" your brakes. This is the process of slowing your wheels, front and rear, through light and intermittent squeezes of your brake levers. Like the constant attention required in any good relationship, the loving touch is good for both concerned.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication