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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Northeast Borders, UK
    Posts
    42

    How can I stop myself wobbling when I look round?

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    Has anyone any experience/tips to share on how you taught yourself to keep riding in a straight line when you look behind or to right or left? I ride a road bike with drops and really need to get this sorted before I end up in trouble with the cars (or other cyclists) around me . Any advice much appreciated.
    Jul 2013 - Genesis Croix de Fer
    Nov 2012 - 5yr old Specialized Ruby Comp
    2007 - Giant Cypress hybrid

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Is it a neck/shoulder flexibility problem, or a focus problem (or both)? Start with figuring out why you're doing it.

    If you're weighting the arm you're turning toward, then you can do some neck stretches at home so that you can turn your neck without shifting the weight on your hands. (Consciously putting an equal amount of weight onto the other hand isn't necessarily a good idea, because then you've got a death grip on your bars. Work more on *not* weighting the hand you're turning toward.)

    If it's because you're shifting your focus, work on consciously keeping your focus forward in spite of your glance back (if you practice Chi Running, they call it y'chi, which they say is what it's called in tai chi). This is part of avoiding tunnel vision and target fixation.

    Either way, practice where you can do it safely - in an empty parking lot if you're confident you won't fall; on grass if you think you might.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    6
    The way I have conquered this is to use a small rearview mirror which attached to my glasses. I don't care how dorky some people think it is...they said that about helmets, too. It took a whole 15 minutes to get used to using the mirror. Listen, would you drive a car without a rearview mirror? I don't think so! It is especially helpful when riding alone, which I frequently do. It can mean the difference between bending a wheel in a huge pothole or seeing it's okay in less than a nanosecond to move left.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Oh, I can't stand riding without a mirror! I surely didn't advise the OP not to use a mirror!

    A mirror doesn't do anything about a rider's need to be able to look around.

    To clear your blind spot (I wouldn't pilot a motor vehicle without mirrors AND turning my head to clear my blind spot before any maneuver, would you?? please say you do, that's how cyclists and motorcyclists get taken out all the time, by people not clearing their blind spots to merge) ... to look to the side to see what cross traffic is going to do ... to look at your rear tire if you've run something over ... etc., etc., etc.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,267
    I find it easier to look back if I grip my hand close to the center of the handlebars.
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,176
    I think I grip further out on the side away from where I am looking.
    Not completely sure about this.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,545
    I wobbled a lot at first -- what solved the problem was lots and lots and lots of practice in a safe place. I would focus on an object in front of me, turn and look behind, then focus back on the object.

    I also use a mirror, but sometimes you need to look.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    Try practicing moving your chin to your left shoulder, while still glancing forward. That's the basic movement.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Keep your shoulders parallel to the horizon and your core in line with your shoulders. The only things that should be moving are your neck and chin.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Northeast Borders, UK
    Posts
    42

    Smile What wonderful help - Thank you TEers

    Thank you, thank you THANK YOU ALL! All your replies are so generous with experience and creative ideas and it's given me some useful pointers. I think neck flexibility may be part of the problem so trying some flexing exercises should help. Thinking about the altered pressure on the handlebars had not occurred to me, nor had using a forward fixing point (do you mean like a spinning ballerina does?). Holding eyes to the front till moved head will be useful... Well it's ALL useful and I've got lots to practise. Where I live is a bit limited on quiet carparks for practising - but I've realised there are plenty of modern housing estates with very quiet roads, where the odd wobble wouldn't be a disaster. Although I realise that a mirror would be an undoubted help, I do agree that, anyway, turning one's head is essential to deal with blind spots. I've never noticed a racing/road bike with mirror and don't have one myself - but will think about it. I imagine our roads are much narrower in the UK than yours in the USA and also much more congested on average, so skilled bike/traffic handling is very much a life/injury/death matter. Lucky for me I live in a beautiful and less-populated rural area of the UK but if I want to ride with groups I've got to get this right. So thanks again to all of you for your thoughts.
    Jul 2013 - Genesis Croix de Fer
    Nov 2012 - 5yr old Specialized Ruby Comp
    2007 - Giant Cypress hybrid

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    PS! When moving your chin to your shoulder you might want to think about moving your left shoulder forward to meet your chin. That counteracts the tendency of the opposite shoulder following your head and therefore turning the bike.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,516
    The tip for keeping your hand in the middle of the handlebars is a great tip. You can look around once you figure how to keep your weight balanced later by having your hands out wide, but here is the concept. If you have your hands out wide, when you look to the right you tend to weight your right side, thus putting your weight to the right side handlebar and swerving to the right. The whole concept is this. Keep your elbows bent really well so that your are taking the weight in your core, you are not resting all your weight on the handlebar. When you rest your weight there, the bike moves with your weight. If you are holding yourself with your core and not resting so much weight on the handlebars, your core keeps you straight. So, relaxed on the handlebars, elbows bent, hold yourself up by your core, keep your hands in middle of bar, then keeping your weight centered over the seat and middle of bike, look to the right and the left.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    Another option is to sit up, leave one hand on the handlebar, and turn from your torso. I feel more stable that way.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    7
    Melalvai said what I usually do: use just one hand.

    In a group where riders are close, sometimes I find it helpful to rest my free hand on the shoulder of the rider next to me while I turn to look back. I usually speak to that rider first so they're not surprised. :-) With my hand on their back I can judge my path relative to theirs and avoid too much of a swerve.
    Respectfully,

    Damon Rinard

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    Ditto to Melalvai. I take a quick glance back for traffic and such by just turning the neck and keeping torso parallel to bars, as another poster mentioned. However, If I want a long look-see, longer than just a glance (such as when I am changing lanes at an intersection to make a left), I put my right hand on the top of the bar, not too close to the stem, then take my left hand off as I sit up straighter, turn and place my left hand on my thigh which is at the highest position in pedal rotation. I am actually twisting the torso and head and using that hand on the thigh to counter balance the twist. I'm also not pedaling. HTH.
    Last edited by velo; 03-03-2013 at 06:31 AM.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

 

 

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