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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-12-09, 05:44 AM   #1
prxmid
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Holding a line

I'm by no means new to cycling, but not hard core, maybe 1200 miles a year.

On the road the other day about 25 miles into a ride, my head was down(ish) and a guy rides up behind me and says 'weaving"..And I was.

So I started thinking about holding a straight line. When I ride with my eyes 50 yards ahead, no problem.

When i get tired and start chewing on the bars, I drift a few feet to the left.

Any good methods for holding a line.
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Old 08-12-09, 06:36 AM   #2
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You answered your own question. Look further ahead.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:08 AM   #3
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Practice.

Find a road that is very, very lightly and has anice clean fog line.
Attempt to ride and keep your tires on the fog line.
Do this at varying speeds.
The fog line is typically 4" wide. If you can keep your wheels in that 4", you should never have any issues with holding a line.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:27 AM   #4
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You answered your own question. Look further ahead.
Yep - riding with your head down is a really bad idea.
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Old 08-12-09, 07:28 AM   #5
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When I ride with my eyes 50 yards ahead, no problem.
If you have your eyes on the front tire, you might be taking more of a risk than you want to. Never know what's gonna be up ahead that you can't stop for, if you can only see 10 feet in front of you.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:13 AM   #6
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don't any of you get tired? I don't think I intentionally ride with my head down. but on a hilly ride (which is all of them) I start dragging and 'drooping' Guess I'll have to fight doing that
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Old 08-12-09, 08:47 AM   #7
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The best answer - practice. I find myself doing what you do, especially when struggling up hills. I have to refocus often to keep my viewpoint outward, and to make sure I hold my line while riding. I'm getting better, but still have days/times when I feel quite tired and the head flops down.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:52 AM   #8
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agree...

know this from motorcycling... you go where you look...

just try it look at a rock or a dead bird or something odds are you'll run it over....

have to look out front and 'visualize the line'

Last edited by RatedZeroHero; 08-13-09 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:52 AM   #9
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Frame design and weight distribution also play a role.
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Old 08-12-09, 08:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by prxmid View Post
don't any of you get tired? I don't think I intentionally ride with my head down. but on a hilly ride (which is all of them) I start dragging and 'drooping' Guess I'll have to fight doing that
There was recently a discussion on the LD forum about just this issue; neck pain and sagging noggin on long (20hr +) rides. Some of the highlights from the discussion:

- Overall bike fit. Might need to raise the bars or shorten the stem if you're straining your neck to look forward.

- Core strength. Sounds weird, but strengthening your core will reduce fatigue at the neck and shoulders by taking strain off the arms from holding your upper body in position.

- Neck strength/endurance. A light weight on the helmet can help improve strength. REALLY LIGHT, like 2 or 3 ounces is all it takes to notice a difference. A headlamp with a couple AAA batteries, basically. You want some endurance strength, not a neck like Henry Rollins.
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Old 08-12-09, 01:16 PM   #11
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There was recently a discussion on the LD forum about just this issue; neck pain and sagging noggin on long (20hr +) rides. Some of the highlights from the discussion:

- Overall bike fit. Might need to raise the bars or shorten the stem if you're straining your neck to look forward.

- Core strength. Sounds weird, but strengthening your core will reduce fatigue at the neck and shoulders by taking strain off the arms from holding your upper body in position.

- Neck strength/endurance. A light weight on the helmet can help improve strength. REALLY LIGHT, like 2 or 3 ounces is all it takes to notice a difference. A headlamp with a couple AAA batteries, basically. You want some endurance strength, not a neck like Henry Rollins.
interesting point. my trapezious/neck was sorer than my butt after my first century. they weren't bad - just enough to let me know I actually exerted myself. I did spend a lot of time zoning out on the front wheel.
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Old 08-12-09, 03:07 PM   #12
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interesting point. my trapezious/neck was sorer than my butt after my first century. they weren't bad - just enough to let me know I actually exerted myself. I did spend a lot of time zoning out on the front wheel.
I'm willing to bet much of that is bike fit. Lots of shops will concentrate on getting your lower body in the right position, but spend too little time with the upper body unless you're doing a full (expensive) fitting.

Here's my basic fit test for handlebar positioning vs. core strength (specifically for drop bars):

Find a large empty lot or flat MUP to ride in/on.
Get down into the drops and cruise around for a bit. Get good and settled in.
Once settled into the drops and comfy, switch directly to the hoods. Both hands at once.
Q: Did you have to push or "spring" yourself up the the hoods, or were you able to gently release your hands and move them up without having your upper body collapse onto the stem?

If you aren't experiencing shoulder/back pain but have to spring from the drops to the hoods, you're likely in the right position on the bike but need to work on core strength.
If you needed to spring up to the hoods and you get shoulder/back pain, you likely need to adjust the position of your handlebars relative to the saddle.
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Old 08-12-09, 03:09 PM   #13
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winter isn't that far away, get some rollers. you drift, you fall
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Old 08-12-09, 03:39 PM   #14
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don't any of you get tired? I don't think I intentionally ride with my head down. but on a hilly ride (which is all of them) I start dragging and 'drooping' Guess I'll have to fight doing that
$@%#%$##^#%$#^#&#&*#*#*#&#******** NOOOOOOO I DON'T DROP MY HEAD!!!!

Yeah, I get very tired on some of the climbing rides we do but never do anything stupid like dropping my head. I did once and I came inches from ending my life. If you're that tired, then you need to stop!
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Old 08-12-09, 05:28 PM   #15
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If you're that tired, then you need to stop!
No stopping! Our creators gave us sleep to replenish ourselves, but modern science has given us No-Doz and 5-Hour Energy so we don't have to sleep.
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Old 08-12-09, 05:34 PM   #16
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I don't touch the stuff. If I can't do it on Gatorade and Fig Newtons, then its too tough for me!
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Old 08-12-09, 10:10 PM   #17
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The only time it happens to me is when I get looking at my computer. That ended this spring when I rode right off the road at 25k resulting in a very well executed back flip. I do drop my head from time to time but it's not the best thing in the world especially when riding in a group.
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Old 08-13-09, 05:33 AM   #18
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so I'm sensing taking a mental break is not a good idea
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Old 08-13-09, 08:11 AM   #19
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Start riding on busy roads. That will scare you straight - pun intended. Worked for me.

Ride Safe and Have Fun

SF
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Old 08-13-09, 08:24 AM   #20
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No stopping! Our creators gave us sleep to replenish ourselves, but modern science has given us No-Doz and 5-Hour Energy so we don't have to sleep.
Have you tried 5-hour energy on a long ride? Most reports I get is people having very poor reactions to the stuff.
I don't have to worry about that stuff I ride laying down so I can take a nap whenever I want. Heck I even have a nice pillow/headrest
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Old 08-13-09, 08:34 AM   #21
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i learned my lesson, when it comes to staring at the front wheel and pushing thru.

I was on the local MUP and was glancing ahead every minute or so doing about 18mph. Very straight MUP about 12 feet wide and low traffic so i wasnt worried about running into anyone. Well right as i was about to take one of my peeks a turtle appeared in my view. Because i was basically looking right in-front of my tire i didnt see it till it was 6 feet away. I had very little time to react and ended up hitting its back end. I could feel my tire slide down and off its back. When the tire cam back down it was at an odd angle and the bike tried to buck me. I held on heading off toward the edge of the trail and some woods. Just managed to get myself turned before riding though the palmettos and getting myself all scraped up.

Decided after that, that paying more attention and keeping my head up might be a good thing
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Old 08-13-09, 08:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griffin2020 View Post
Practice.

Find a road that is very, very lightly and has anice clean fog line.
Attempt to ride and keep your tires on the fog line.
Do this at varying speeds.
The fog line is typically 4" wide. If you can keep your wheels in that 4", you should never have any issues with holding a line.
Yes, practice makes perfect. It is very annoying to pass a weaving cyclist especially on my morning commute or alongside any well traveled rode for the matter. Yes I know the burden is on me to wait until it is safe to pass so really we don't have to go there. It's still annoying that every time I start to run up to pass they sway back to the left. (Right if your on the other side of the pond ) 9 times out of 10 these cyclists have head phones on.

Your idea about the white fog line is good but I would strongly advise against riding directly on top of it. The white painted line is very slick when it's wet (if you don't believe me the next time it is raining ride on top of it and grab your back brake, it will lock up really easy compared to the wet pavement), your best bet is to ride right along side it if you want to use it as a guide rail.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:04 AM   #23
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Your idea about the white fog line is good but I would strongly advise against riding directly on top of it. The white painted line is very slick when it's wet (if you don't believe me the next time it is raining ride on top of it and grab your back brake, it will lock up really easy compared to the wet pavement), your best bet is to ride right along side it if you want to use it as a guide rail.
When it's dry you get lower rolling resistance. I recommend riding directly on top of it when it's not wet.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:09 AM   #24
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I always hear it was alot harder to see broken glass on top of the white painted lines. Is that just the old people trying to keep us off their line or something.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:18 AM   #25
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Start riding on busy roads. That will scare you straight - pun intended. Worked for me.

Ride Safe and Have Fun

SF
When I ride on busy roads, it isn't weaving. It's avoiding road hazards.

Kevin
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