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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Croatia
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    I think the one mistake people do while learning to ride no hands is just removing their hands off the handlebars slightly and then panicking upon losing control. The thing is, in that position your back is arched and it's super difficult to maintain balance that way.

    However, if you move away enough to sit upright and straighten your back, you will realise how much easier it suddenly becomes! It sounds daunting, I know, but it becomes so much easier to control your bike and remain in balance that way. It also helps, imo, to keep pedaling at a steady pace, maintaining a nice speed of, say, 15 km/h.

    It is perfectly natural to be scared at first and for learning to be a gradual process, so go somewhere where the pavement is smooth and the road is straight and traffic free. Don't start by removing one hand off the bars and then the other because you will throw yourself off balance like that. Just keep pedaling at a steady pace and get comfortable doing so.

    When you end up letting go of the handlebars, try to sit up straight, even if just for a brief moment before you plant your hands on the handlebars again. When you get there, just keep doing so until you overcome the initial fear of letting go.

    Of course, don't overdo it. This step can take days, but I find it goes quite fast once you achieve this and it comes down to pedaling steadily and maintaining that momentum from there onwards. It takes effort and may seem impossible at first, but it's worth sticking through it. It's a bit like learning to ride the bike - once you get the hang of it, you just keep getting better.

    So keep at it, and do let me know if you decide to give this technique a try! I really hope it will help those of you who want to learn
    Last edited by brigada; 06-23-2014 at 06:13 PM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    I ride hands free at times, usually near the end of a ride, especially when cooling down, to stretch a bit. I also do it to demonstrate to people that turning a bike is something you accomplish with your hips and core, not your handlebars (I can ride figure 8's hands free) and of course it comes in handy for removing jackets/arm warmers etc.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259

    Riding no hands. Who does it and why?

    I recently crossed the 10,000 mi. threshold on my road bike and still can't do this, in spite of planking at least 2 min. every day. Is it a geometry/fit thing? My SuperSix is fairly aggressive and maybe a hair long through the top tube.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
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    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    A caveat to this is my current road bike, a Pinarello racing set-up. It turns very fast, handles great, but hands-free is dangerous for me because the wheel turns unexpectely.

    Hands free is convenient. It allows you to sit up and rest on long rides, or if you are not feeling well, etc. Also allows you to eat, etc., more easily. (But not, repeat NOT! on my current bike).
    So maybe it is my bike...it's twitchy. I should try it on my CX bike when riding on the road, sometime. That's far less nimble.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,545
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    Riding without hands allows you to learn to control your bike with your trunk/core and legs, this makes you more stable on the bike in all situations and allows you to control your bike with less input to the front end from your arms. The latter comes in very handy if you hit something with your front wheel, you're less likely to crash. It also helps you develop the skill needed to correct your bike if you've done a quick evasive maneuver. .
    Thanks for the information on balance. I probably won't ride without hands, but what you said is interesting.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I am aware that it helps balance, but since it's fairly amazing I can even ride a bike, this is not something high on my list. I can plank for a minute and have much improved balance on one leg, but no amount of practice with certain bike skills has helped. Considering where I started, I'm good.
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    113
    It probably helps to acquire these skills as a kid because you have no fear at that age hindering you. I learned most of those skills when I was a kid, but I never learned how to do decent wheelies so I still struggle with it now :/

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,066
    I do it quite often, to stretch my back, warm a cold hand, open my lungs up a bit and just for fun. I haven't always been able to, but I taught myself about ten years ago, and was surprised at how easy it was. I had to tuck my tailbone well in and sit really upright, to "get" it. Now I enjoy feeling how I can move around, look over my shoulder, remove my pack and jacket and put my pack back on (on a good day), and in general steer my bike well no hands. I will usually put a hand on the bars if I see someone approaching, mostly to be polite so that they won't worry that I'm about to ride into them.
    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
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  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    113
    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    I will usually put a hand on the bars if I see someone approaching, mostly to be polite so that they won't worry that I'm about to ride into them.
    This should really be basic riding-no-hands etiquette. I really don't like seeing parents with kids fret over someone who can't be bothered to stop riding no hands for a few seconds until the kids are in the clear.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    Quote Originally Posted by zoom-zoom View Post
    I recently crossed the 10,000 mi. threshold on my road bike and still can't do this, in spite of planking at least 2 min. every day. Is it a geometry/fit thing? My SuperSix is fairly aggressive and maybe a hair long through the top tube.
    If your bike has a more aggressive headtube angle or the front end is heavy for some reason, it will make it more difficult to balance. Tire width plays into it, wheelbase length all kinds of stuff. But too much weight on the front end (like clamp on tri bars or a handle bar bag) will make it nearly impossible.

    When I mentioned planking, front plank is only a small part of the picture, a strong side plank is much more important and so is low back strength like bridging. So if you can do a front plank for 90 sec, that's great. but if you can only side plank for 30 sec, you don't have muscle balance or functional stability.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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  11. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I'm even better at side planks and bridges than front plank.
    My balance issues are very specific to direction and movement, totally based on my crappy spatial orientation and visual perception.
    The comments about learning to do stuff as a kid is so true. I was such a timid kid about this stuff, and it was reinforced by my family. By the time I wanted to do certain things, the learning curve was really steep.
    So, if you have kids, encourage them to be daring.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    507
    Only on the back of the tandem (I am not captaining so it will not cause an accident).

    I do it to open food packets for my captain, scratch his back, stretch my back, help another cyclist tuck something back in their pocket etc.

    Otherwise there is no way I would do that on a single.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    113
    what is a front plank?

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I'm even better at side planks and bridges than front plank.
    Me too. I do front and sides one day and bridges the next -- alternating days. And I don't have anything extra on the front end of my bike, aside from a little bento box. Huh...?
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  15. #30
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,668
    I tried it yesterday, in the parking lot of the community center...only a few seconds, but better than I have done before. Keeping up a certain speed seems to be key. I do have a handlebar bag that I carry repair kit etc. in so that probably isn't making it any easier, but when I was using a rack bag it was a PITA when I needed to attach panniers. Might be interesting to try with it off and see how much easier it is.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

 

 

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