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Old 07-15-11, 01:44 PM   #1
TromboneAl
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Wobbling in the TdF

I had always thought there was a big advantage in keeping the bike dead steady and avoiding all unnecessary movement in the upper body. But in watching the TdF I see that a lot of riders wobble and move their upper bodies even when seated.

Is my thinking outdated?
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Old 07-15-11, 02:32 PM   #2
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Could it possibly be that you are looking at Sorenson? Put him in any colour shirt and that is one rider that I can always pick out. The bike travels just as far from side to side as it goes forward at times.

I try to keep the bike steady at all times although I have found that when I get tired- the upper body sways a bit. Now when the bike starts swaying- I know I am knac*ered.
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Old 07-15-11, 03:26 PM   #3
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Could be also a case of the bike weaving side to side under the rider while the overall center of gravity of the rider follows a steady path.
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Old 07-15-11, 03:54 PM   #4
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I've always been told to keep the bike as still as possible but then I watch Contador when he stands up and that bike is flipping back and forth like crazy.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:01 PM   #5
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Al, from your understanding how did the big advantage manifest itself? What was the reasoning behind it?
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Old 07-15-11, 04:12 PM   #6
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Trying to keep the bike and upper body still while standing on climbs takes more effort than letting the bike rock side to side.

When seated, rocking the shoulders is a sign that the rider's getting tired. Some riders do it more than others. There are some guys that manage to make pro with less than ideal pedalling style.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:18 PM   #7
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Next time I am averaging 30 mph or more I will note if its better to be steady or if rocking is better. Especially at the one hour mark.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:26 PM   #8
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Personally, I closely watch the DTF riders and try emulate their riding style. I see them rock their hips a bit, wiggle slightly, and move their shoulders a small amount with a natural efficiency, fluidity, and form. The degree changes depending on the nature of the riding they happen to be doing at the time. They don't flail and they don't expend energy needlessly trying to constrain motion based on some half-baked theoretical notion. That's my approach anyway.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:34 PM   #9
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I don't think many of the top riders remain motionless - I'm sure it's a matter of personal development, preference and coaching. Even so, pronounced bobbing up and down of the upper body is still routinely called out by commentators as a sign of advanced rider fatigue. I'm sure that's right, at least most of the time.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:38 PM   #10
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Most of the riders in the peloton never move their upper bodies (no bobbing heads or shoulders, and backs are straight) when seated cruising. When climbing standing up or sprinting, bikes move from side to side naturally.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:39 PM   #11
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Every time I read where someone tries to keep the bike from moving side to side while standing to climb or accelerate, I wonder why. I let the bike go where it wants as I concentrate on keeping my body stable. That seems to be what most of the pros do and doing otherwise seems like a waste of effort.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Al, from your understanding how did the big advantage manifest itself? What was the reasoning behind it?
I seem to remember being told that if the wheels aren't going exactly straight down the road, you are traveling a slightly longer distance. Also, that if you are moving your upper body, you are expending energy that is not going towards propelling the bike forward.

I took a minute to find an example. This isn't very wobbly, but check out the guy in orange at around 6:11:

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Old 07-15-11, 06:50 PM   #13
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Contador is rocking a lot more then usual, a result of his not having the legs this year to accelerate like past TdF's. I suspect the body L to R/R to L is a reaction to not having enough muscle power to get the leg turning over the pedals. The rock of the upper body towards that leg is an attempt to have the upper body help the legs get turned over on the pedals. That at least is how it feels it me when I'm in the same situation standing on a hill climb.
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Old 07-15-11, 10:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Al, from your understanding how did the big advantage manifest itself? What was the reasoning behind it?
When I was learning to cruise at much faster speeds than I do now, we were "taught" (actually brow-beaten) to keep the bike steady mostly to keep the peloton safe. I suspect, but certainly can't prove, that part of the story of the large number of wrecks on flat stages these past few years has to do with the riders being so much more wobbly than in decades past. Of course, there are also a lot more strong riders than back in the old days, so it could just be the larger crowds they're riding in.
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Old 07-16-11, 07:38 AM   #15
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I was in a support van following a pro rider and commented to the driver how steady his upper body was compared to the other riders. Then later on a real race the same pro rider was tired and during the middle stages of climbing, he had that body movement. I think its tiredness and the will to keep the pace up in real race conditions.
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