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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Mrs. KnottedYet

    Riding no hands. Who does it and why?

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    Started with a non-scientific observation; we're on a typical walk to the store and see at least 4 men riding on the MUT hands free. It's a beautiful day and a great skill so why not? Today's unusually busy on the trail so I question the safety but still if you got it, flaunt it.

    Then Knott and I were talking about this and both observed; we never see women riding hands free. Why is that?

    So do you ride no-hands, if not why not and do you wish you could?

    If so when and why?

    Talk amongst yourselves.
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Katy, Texas
    I am primarily a road rider on Texas chip seal however there are stretches of certain roads that I will ride hands free from time to time,. mostly to check my balance and coordination but also to prove myself that I can do it. So far my longest distance isn't much more than 1/2 mile but it's on a road with no traffic or other riders. As for hand free on a MUT, I question whether its safe. Maybe guys feel more of a need to prove that they are good at ridi8ng hands free. trail
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"

    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Never. I'd kill mydelf I think. Lol barely can leave one hand for few seconds. On flat bar I can ride a longer time. But never on road bike.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    I could probably my teach myself to ride with no hands, but I see no reason to. I guess it would come in handy for things like eating or taking off a jacket while riding, but it's easier and safer to just stop when I need to do something that requires two hands.

    (Plenty of people have no concept of how to ride safely on a MUT. I've turned into that crazy lady who yells at people who pass when it's not safe.)

    Greetings to Knott!!

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    It’s a useful skill and I'll ride with no hands for a number of reasons. Showing off isn’t one of them though. If someone is comfortable doing it and doing it safely why not do it. If someone isn't comfortable and needs to stop then they need to stop.

    Now on a bike path when someone is riding towards me with no hands, listening to an iPod, cranium protected by a hoodie at most and front Vbrake not even connected properly I do get a little nervous ....but then I'm also good at quickly unclipping and using my leg/foot to protect myself from someone riding into me.

    eta 'if so when and why'......when i feel it's safe and for food/drink, clothing, stretching, relaxing, get some deep breaths, helping get into or just feeling a smooth pedaling motion, balance and hip/body control etc.
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 06-21-2014 at 08:59 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Concord, MA
    Never. I can barely manage the water bottle, and only with my left hand. I can barely signal with my right.
    I stop if I need to do something like make a clothing change.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I never have been able to ride hands free, although I haven't ever been interested enough to try to work out how to do it.
    Of course I can do it on the tandem, but that doesn't really count.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Quote Originally Posted by malkin View Post
    I never have been able to ride hands free, although I haven't ever been interested enough to try to work out how to do it.
    Of course I can do it on the tandem, but that doesn't really count.

    I don't see young girls when they bike, do no handlebar hold either. I think part of this is a risk thing /difference....what we're willing to try when we were younger.

    I can hang on well, when I'm holding on handlebar with right hand, but I'm not good the other way. So I'm even more limited.

    Oh well.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    I see people riding without hands on a crowded MUT. It's not safe. I can't do it, but I don't want to, so it's not a problem.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    What I've learned after riding lots of bikes:

    Not all bikes are created equal.

    I found certain celeste colored bike (Bianchi) which was designed specifically for Crit racing was next to impossible to ride hand free for me.
    My all time favorite road bike was actually a tri bike from litespeed. It was not only really comfortable, it was very stable enough that I could ride hands free for miles. And everything in between.

    I rode hand free to give my back some break. I also rode hand free to relieve pressure in my wrists. When riding 100+ mile events everything gets really sore and you need to move around on your bike to relieve pressure and pain. I still don't know why I participated in those rides where you are on your bike for 7-20 hours non-stop. I do have some fond memories of the rides though. Not so much at the time though.

    And no I didn't ride hand free to show off. It never occured to me until someone mentioned here.

    I ride with at least one hand firmly on the bar these days. One of my major crash happened from inattention and riding hands free.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Columbia River Gorge
    There are several really good reasons to learn to and practice riding without hands. Obviously it has to be done in a safe manner and I'd say on a heavily trafficked trail is not one of them.

    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.

    It allows you to explore the stability of your bike. The more you intuitively know your bike, the better you are at other skills like descending.

    It builds frontal plane stability skills that in turn will translate into better balance with other activities including walking on uneven surfaces. As we age our balance/stability in the frontal plane (side to side motion) deteriorates and is one of the contributing factors to falling, not just while riding but also walking and hiking.

    And of course there is the argument about the functional aspects of being able to take a vest or jacket off, reach in your pockets for something, stretch... The better you are at riding without hands, the better you are at doing other functional activities on the bike one handed, like reaching and replacing a water bottle.

    Having said all that, it's a good idea to explore your balance standing on one leg first before trying to ride no hands. For eg this and this.

    Doing front plank, side plank and bridging exercises are also a really great way to build strength that can help with finding better stability on the bike.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    I never learned as a kid, but have always wished I could. Thanks for the learning tips, Wahine.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  13. #13
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Southern Maine
    I also wish I could...it would help if I could get up the nerve to try but that just hasn't happened. I have no trouble holding a straight line while one hand is off the bars to grab or replace a water bottle etc. but feel like I would swerve and crash if I tried to take them both off (despite being on a bike that should be easy to ride no handed...touring bikes are known for being very stable).
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Erin, Ontario
    I have tried it several times over the last couple of years. My husband does it quite easily. I have to work at it and it depends on the bike. Today on my cross check, I found I could ride no hands while pedalling if I flail my arms around for balance. I was on a pretty empty rail trail so I felt safe. I wouldn't do that on my road bike on the side of a road. I have managed on my mountain bike on a rail trail but no pedalling. I only ever tried out of curiosity. I see them doing it in the TDF. But it hurts my girly parts to sit in that podition on my saddle for any length of time.
    Lucy 2012 Surly Cross Check
    Sally 2009 Specialized Dolce Elite
    Peppermint Patty 2009 Trek 4500 WSD
    Marcie 2008 Giant Sedona
    Violet 1994 Norco Kokanee

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    pacific NW
    I just like my front teeth too much to even try it. (and that's not sayin' that handsfree riders don't, just a measure of my confidence in my own ability to do it)

    Rodriguez Adventure
    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross
    2012 Trek Mamba



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