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  1. #1
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Do you ride a straight line?

    How many people ride perfectly straight, without any side to side drifting?

    I assume that cyclist riding in a pace line need to ride a straight line, with little or no drifting. So I've been working or focusing on my technique; spinning tight circles, balancing push-pull (or right vs left leg), staying centered, well balanced, keeping upper body quiet. And spending more time riding the single speed. I've also dialed in bike fit and believe it's pretty close, but that's only my opinion.

    The problem is, I still feel I move to much and don't hold a line very well. Naturally, this has me wondering what is normal, how do other people ride. Guess I'm just trying to improve my efficiency on the bike without knowing what's realistic.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I reckon I do but I have a problem. Occasionally the road is clear enough of other traffic to practice some technique. Lane markings at the side of the road or that straight bit of road repair and I try to follow that line. Lane markings are 4" wide and I can't stay on the line. Maybe the paint turning me off but try to ride 4" off the line and I still wander. Perhaps because I am concentrating too hard but pick a spot in the distance on a wet road and I do ride a straight line. Look behind at the tyre marks left in the rain and I can see how everyone else has done 20 miles to the 19 I have recorded.
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  3. #3
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    I ride very close to a straight line if I try. When riding solo on dry roads, one of my little games is to ride on the white "Fog Line" between the right lane and the shoulder of the road.

    Otherwise I'm afraid I do wander a bit from side to side.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I can keep a pretty straight line. I can ride right down the fogline on the shoulder of a road without much trouble. Sometimes the painted line is smoother than the surface

    edit: d'oh, cranky beat me to it
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  5. #5
    tsl
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    Everyone does. It's part of how we keep our balance on the bike. Even pros. The difference between them and us is how far they meander from the perfect line.

    If you were to make a bike that didn't steer and would maintain a perfectly straight line by itself, you wouldn't be able to keep your balance on it. Nor would a pro, although they may go a longer distance.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    I'm starting to concentrate on maintaining a straight line. I decided to make a concerted effort for two reasons. First, to be safer on the road and more predictable for vehicles, and second, I'm going to be doing two organized centuries, April 20 and May 11 respectively. With all the people riding at the same time for the Tour de Cure:Hampton Roads and the Capital 2 Capital, Richmond/Willamsburg, VA, it would be safer for me and other riders if I'm riding straight.
    Please support diabetics like myself, a red rider, by supporting the American Diabetes Association.
    If you see a Tour de Cure event, consider participating or supporting a Red Rider or other participant.


    My nephew's and his two friends' blog about their riding the East Coast, Maine to the Keys:
    http://brobreak.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I think there must be a correlation between mind drift and bicycle drift. When riding with a group, it takes on a whole set of dynamics, compared with just riding solo.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    For the most part, yes! However, I do keep an eye on the road in front of me for objects that my cause a flat and I will swerve to avoid running over those objects. When on the MUP, I ride a straight line unless there is a strong head or cross wind or when I'm looking at the scenery around me. Then I look like I drank my beer before, instead of after, the ride.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I ride a very straight line on my recumbent, even from a stop. I have read that in some rides or races they make recumbents start first or last because they wobble on start up. That seems rather dumb to me and somewhat annoying.

  10. #10
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    OP, if it's a straight line you want to ride, get yourself a set of rollers. Kills two birds with one stone, you ride straight and smooth out your form pronto.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Looking at my rear cam videos of my tire tracks on rainy days, I meander side to side ever so slightly, so no perfectly straight line riding being done on my part.

  12. #12
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    OP, if it's a straight line you want to ride, get yourself a set of rollers. Kills two birds with one stone, you ride straight and smooth out your form pronto.
    +1, riding rollers in the late 70's helped me tremendously in my bicycle riding skills. Hole the line and pedal smoothly or else.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  13. #13
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    I also ride on the fog line. The key to riding a straight line is not to focus on the front tire, but rather a point some 20-30' in front of the bike. That is your aiming point - besides which, it is easier to see flat-causing items and you'll still have time to swerve to miss it. Similarly, it you concentrate on that sharp item or other object, you're sure to hit it. I found that to be true also when riding in a draft line or pack.

    Training on rollers for a smooth stroke helps. One thing I can't stand is riding behind someone who wags from side-to-side a foot or more.

    BTW, landing a plane is much the same - pick a point on the runway as your aiming point and that's where you'll end up.

  14. #14
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    It's strange, but the more I TRY to ride in a straight line, the less I am actually able to do so, but I can ride like an arrow if I'm not thinking about it. The problem is, I can't help but try when I need it, such as when I'm riding close to the curb...

  15. #15
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
    I also ride on the fog line.
    Me too. Smoother ride and less resistance. Plus, it gives me something to do.

    Not if it's wet, though.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    OP, if it's a straight line you want to ride, get yourself a set of rollers. Kills two birds with one stone, you ride straight and smooth out your form pronto.
    So true. But, although some do very well, no one rides an absolute "straight" line.

  17. #17
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
    BTW, landing a plane is much the same - pick a point on the runway as your aiming point and that's where you'll end up.
    This is also motorcycling truth. Go where you look. FWIW handling works much better if you look up the road and not right in front of your bike.

  18. #18
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    Yes I try to ride a straight line. I do so to be predictable for other cyclists and vehicles.It drives me crazy when a cyclist is all over a bike path or road. Its hard to pass without risk of a bump.A little kid is unpredictable and I accept that.An adult should know to stay to the right.But they get into their own little world.

  19. #19
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    OP, if it's a straight line you want to ride, get yourself a set of rollers. Kills two birds with one stone, you ride straight and smooth out your form pronto.
    +1000 Rollers are definitely the way to go if you want to improve your form! (Learn riding rollers, pedaling using only 1 leg, riding "no hands"); take a look at this, there are many others!)

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

  20. #20
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
    One thing I can't stand is riding behind someone who wags from side-to-side a foot or more.
    Yes, I don't want to be "that" guy.

    Since almost all my riding is solo, I have no idea what's considered normal. Or how advanced cyclist ride, assuming that these people ride with greater control and efficiency. Pedaling straight, with little or no wobbling seems like a worthy skill to master and something I can work on while pedaling through the countryside.

    Rollers....watched a few videos and read a few warnings on using them. Thanks for the advice, but for now, I'll pass. I admit that rollers appear intimidating.

    Are there other skills I should work on while riding?

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dropping a wheel in the gap along side the trolley tracks certainly grabs the wheel into a straight Line.

  22. #22
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    When there's 1 to 2 inches of snow, and no ice underneath (which is a rare combination here), I like to ride my mountain bike. A very small lean with sideways pressure on the tires starts them slowly sliding out.

    So I ride very balanced over the bike. It's interesting how I start to really notice the balancing effort. On a dry road, it's easy to just steer a little, instead of trying to stay balanced. Snow riding must be a little like riding on rollers.

    Even so, the tire track does show the different tracks of the front and rear wheels, even riding on a straight line.

    ~~~~~
    Like the other posters above, I also like to ride on the fog line, and it works best when not trying too hard, and when looking down the road.

    Now I need to practice a steady effort for pulling a group. I tend to push a little too hard on slight rises in the road. It's really nice to be behind a competent rider holding a steady pace.

    For group rides, at least try to see the riders in front of the rider directly in front of you. I don't like being behind riders that roll up too close to the rider in front, then slow down, opening a gap, and then do it all over again. Grrr.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 03-08-13 at 04:49 PM.

  23. #23
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    It's strange, but the more I TRY to ride in a straight line, the less I am actually able to do so, but I can ride like an arrow if I'm not thinking about it. The problem is, I can't help but try when I need it, such as when I'm riding close to the curb
    Look further ahead. Impossible to ride straight if you are focussed on something immediately in front of you. And look at where you want to go, not at anything you want to avoid. You'll go where you're looking.

  24. #24
    Senior Member timvan_78's Avatar
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    I ride on the fog line too, when it's dry. It's like riding on the wood 'skinnies' on the mountain bike. If you want to see crazy straight-line riding, you should see the mountain bikers on the north shore here. Go to youtube and search for "immonator fromme".

    Cougrrcj is right. Focus ahead, not down.

  25. #25
    VNA
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    Most of the time!

    The trick is to keep the upper body relaxed.

    One can improve by riding rollers from time to time and definitely in winter when too much rain or snow ooutside!

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