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How do I brake?

Brakes can quickly stop the rotating wheels of a bicycle. On some bikes you can stop by pedaling backwards, which activates a braking mechanism (coaster brake). On other bikes, you activate the brakes by squeezing levers located on the bike’s handlebars. While a person’s leg strength is far greater than the strength in his or her hands, a hand brake uses a set of three levers that increase the original squeezing force, making it strong enough to stop a speeding bike. A compressed hand brake pulls a cable connected to two metal arms with rubber pads that grip a bicycle tire rim, causing enough friction to stop it. After a quick stop, feel the brake blocks on your bike—the friction makes them hot.

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