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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 05-02-10, 05:53 PM   #1
Missbumble 
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Why do I ride faster with no hands?

So this weekend I rode up a storm. 30 miles Fri, 62 on Sat and 30 on sunday. I discovered that when I want to catch up to the group and go like a banshee...I just shift into a harder gear...and let go of my hands and sit up. Then man can I pedal. I think it makes me have to use the entire pedal stroke in order to balance. So I am getting use of my full leg?? Not sure - am tempted to go get a super duper fitting to figure this out....
Thoughts?


EVen if I do not go i to a hrader gear - in the same gear I am about 2-3 MPH faster no handed.
Man can i ride no handed.
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Old 05-02-10, 05:55 PM   #2
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Tail Winds are so nice.
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Old 05-02-10, 07:40 PM   #3
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It sure sounds like sitting up lets you develop more power. That suggests some sort of fit problem, but I don't know what it would be. Seat too far forward?
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Old 05-02-10, 08:09 PM   #4
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It's because you are forced to keep pedalling.......
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Old 05-02-10, 09:26 PM   #5
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I think its because that all of your body weight is now in the pedals and none on the hands
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Old 05-02-10, 09:46 PM   #6
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Did you slide forward on the saddle any when you sat up? Maybe you sit too far back with not enough or too much leg extension when sitting...

I could ride the Allez I had no handed like it was meant to be ridden that way. The bike just tracked straight as an arrow! But, with my extremely bad aerodynamic profile, I was NOT faster :-X
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Old 05-02-10, 11:04 PM   #7
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Maybe because you are awesome!

I can almost ride hands free when I'm speeding along. You've hit the sweet spot where fluid motion and balance work beautifully with each other. I'm sure there is a proper physical science reason for it but I slept through high school physics.
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Old 05-03-10, 12:23 PM   #8
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There are a number of possible reasons, all hit upon above:

Tailwind, and your body acts like a sail.
Multiple fit issues.

The first thing I'd consider, since this is the C&A forum, is that you're improperly fitted. If you're leaning too far forward or have your bars too far down, then having your belly in the way of your pedal stroke can sap your power. (Apologies on the assumption if you have rock hard 6-pack abs.) Even those of us with just a small paunch will notice the difference if the fit isn't correct. That little bit of additional forward lean can cause just enough discomfort to be a power drain. I notice it if I let my weight fluctuate; as little as a 5 pound gain (which isn't much when you're talking about 230 pounds total) will alter the fit on my bikes.
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Old 05-03-10, 06:08 PM   #9
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I think its because that all of your body weight is now in the pedals and none on the hands

That feels right - Somehow I need to redistribute my weight - maybe gain more core muscles.
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Old 05-03-10, 06:11 PM   #10
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There are a number of possible reasons, all hit upon above:

Tailwind, and your body acts like a sail.
Multiple fit issues.

The first thing I'd consider, since this is the C&A forum, is that you're improperly fitted. If you're leaning too far forward or have your bars too far down, then having your belly in the way of your pedal stroke can sap your power. (Apologies on the assumption if you have rock hard 6-pack abs.) Even those of us with just a small paunch will notice the difference if the fit isn't correct. That little bit of additional forward lean can cause just enough discomfort to be a power drain. I notice it if I let my weight fluctuate; as little as a 5 pound gain (which isn't much when you're talking about 230 pounds total) will alter the fit on my bikes.

Thanks - Definitley not tailwind/sail effect...
MY stomach is pretty flat - but I am not thin -so that may be it! And I have agined about 5-10 lbs...but not since I was fitted.

I think I better go get fit - or maybe have an expert ride with me. It sure would be awesome to be able to ride the way I can when I am no handed. Man I could go go go, but it is dangerous - and not a great solution!!
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Old 05-03-10, 08:44 PM   #11
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I'm no expert, but look down at your knees when riding in the down position; are they deflected out? When you sit up in the saddle you have no choice but to have you knees in the right position, directly over the pedals making this a more effective pedal stroke.

I think it has more to do with riding form than bike fit.

Again, I'm no expert and I take my own advice with a grain (bottle) of salt.
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Old 05-03-10, 08:50 PM   #12
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You're using pedal power on the downstroke to help hold your torso up. I do this in hotel gyms when I ride the stationary bike. If I want to sit up I have to pedal harder to maintain the position. The downside is that you get tired faster, so it's not actually efficient.
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Old 05-03-10, 10:40 PM   #13
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+1 probably indicates a fit issue. You actually stumbled on one of the best ways to fine tune your fit. With a proper fit you should be pedaling along at a pretty good clip with very little weight on your hands. You should be able to hover your hands just above the bars, using your back muscles to hold up your torso, without changing your posture much (some people say you "play the bars like a piano")

Saddle position and angle affect this as well as handlebar position. If I hover my hands over the bars while pedaling and my butt slides forward, I need to slide the saddle back or angle up, if I slide back when I hover hands the saddle needs to go forward or tilt down. If I have to press much harder on the pedals to keep the body up when i take the hands off, I need to shorten or raise the stem. It goes like that, trial and error, any adjustment affects two or three things at once. (any "fit session" that doesn't include several miles worth of pedaling isn't going to be much help.)
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Old 05-04-10, 05:21 AM   #14
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+1 probably indicates a fit issue. You actually stumbled on one of the best ways to fine tune your fit. With a proper fit you should be pedaling along at a pretty good clip with very little weight on your hands. You should be able to hover your hands just above the bars, using your back muscles to hold up your torso, without changing your posture much (some people say you "play the bars like a piano")

Saddle position and angle affect this as well as handlebar position. If I hover my hands over the bars while pedaling and my butt slides forward, I need to slide the saddle back or angle up, if I slide back when I hover hands the saddle needs to go forward or tilt down. If I have to press much harder on the pedals to keep the body up when i take the hands off, I need to shorten or raise the stem. It goes like that, trial and error, any adjustment affects two or three things at once. (any "fit session" that doesn't include several miles worth of pedaling isn't going to be much help.)

Awesome advice!! Thank you - Sounds like i could try playing with this myself to see the difference. I rememeber a year or so ago they did a fitting and asked when my butt did not hurt. Well it always hurt so it was pretty hard to say!! I do slide forward and have to work hard pedalling to hold my self up. So maybe I will tilt seat a bit....will call for a fitting too as soon as I have money.
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Old 05-04-10, 05:22 AM   #15
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You're using pedal power on the downstroke to help hold your torso up. I do this in hotel gyms when I ride the stationary bike. If I want to sit up I have to pedal harder to maintain the position. The downside is that you get tired faster, so it's not actually efficient.

Excellent point - yup it's not too efficient, but when I am tired it does help to catch me back to the group.
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Old 05-04-10, 05:23 AM   #16
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I'm no expert, but look down at your knees when riding in the down position; are they deflected out? When you sit up in the saddle you have no choice but to have you knees in the right position, directly over the pedals making this a more effective pedal stroke.

I think it has more to do with riding form than bike fit.

Again, I'm no expert and I take my own advice with a grain (bottle) of salt.

Hey Ross - Thank you, but I think it's a cpmbo of fit and riding. Need to pedal with power and a full round circle too. My knees I tihnk are ok. pointed staringht ahead. I think alot of men point knees outward abit ...for me they are looking ok... I think it's other stuff - definitely not fitted right nor am as efficient as I could be.
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