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Old 06-23-05, 06:28 AM   #1
oboeguy
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Transferring weight to the front wheel

I am absolutely thrilled (still) with my Dahon Speed Pro, totally convinced I chose well... but there's one nagging issue. If I take a certain route home, the minimize-cars-by-using-greenway route, when exiting the greenway, there's a brutally steep switchback. On my road bike, I drop to a 39x24 (lowest) and power like crazy to keep from falling over. On the Dahon... I get off the bike. "WTF?" you're thinking, right? The Dahon has way lower gears so why get off when I can ride up it without a granny chainring?

The answer is that my front wheel start to come off the ground on the Dahon. Yes, it's that steep. So, what to do? I'm not really comfortable out of the saddle on a steep grade like that on the folder with the backpack on (on the road bike I really have no choice, backpack or not). I'm going to adjust the handlebars down a bit when I find my darned metric hex wrenches again to see if that makes enough of a difference (want to do it anyway to get a little more "aero"). Any other suggestions?
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Old 06-23-05, 08:03 AM   #2
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I can sympathize with you on this one. Even on my Boardwalk 6, the front wheel comes off the ground on any energetic start from a stop.
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Old 06-23-05, 08:21 AM   #3
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How 'bout taking the backpack off and mounting a front rack for a pannier? that would decrease your back-sweat factor, too. But . . . it involves installing a rack, which you may not want to do.
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Old 06-23-05, 08:24 AM   #4
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oh - better yet, bar ends. that's what mtn bikers do for this exact purpose. forces your whole body forward and thus the weight further up. combined with the lower bars, I bet this would do it.
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Old 06-23-05, 02:45 PM   #5
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I usually have to stand and push down and as one foot goes into the downstroke, I am pushing down on the other side of my handlebars for the foot going into the upstroke. It works for me.

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Old 06-23-05, 03:04 PM   #6
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I'm a backpack guy for commuting so the pack stays (thanks for the suggestion, though!). I have the fancy Cane Creek (sp?) bar ends, actually. I'm still getting used to getting out of the saddle with them. I can't put my finger on why it feels weird -- I used to mountain bike a little so it shouldn't feel too weird, right? I know about the leaning forward thing -- heck I do it on the road bike in that spot to not tip over. I guess with lower bars it should be a bit easier. Now where's that bleeping hex wrench?!?

I'll have take the folder down to that spot without a backpack to practice Koffee's technique (err, and try it on easier grades too!). I guess I usually pull up with the hand opposite the downstroke for leverage... should be a bit of an adaptation.

Now I want to get a Garmin Forerunner just to compute the grade there...
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Old 06-23-05, 03:09 PM   #7
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My handlebars are way low too. I like my seat to be REALLY elevated for a full leg extension. That may have something to do with it too, I guess.

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Old 06-23-05, 06:20 PM   #8
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You have drops, though, right? Mine is a flatbar.
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Old 06-23-05, 07:39 PM   #9
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I do have drops. But doesn't matter. As long as you have handlebars, you should be able to push on one side as you apply force to your downstroke on the opposite leg.

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Old 06-24-05, 02:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
I'm a backpack guy for commuting so the pack stays (thanks for the suggestion, though!). I have the fancy Cane Creek (sp?) bar ends, actually. I'm still getting used to getting out of the saddle with them. I can't put my finger on why it feels weird -- I used to mountain bike a little so it shouldn't feel too weird, right? I know about the leaning forward thing -- heck I do it on the road bike in that spot to not tip over. I guess with lower bars it should be a bit easier. Now where's that bleeping hex wrench?!?

I'll have take the folder down to that spot without a backpack to practice Koffee's technique (err, and try it on easier grades too!). I guess I usually pull up with the hand opposite the downstroke for leverage... should be a bit of an adaptation.

Now I want to get a Garmin Forerunner just to compute the grade there...
How about transfering the backpack to the handlebars just for the climb and then returning it.

Another possibility is the low track aerobars.

Or- drag racer style anti-wheelbars .
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Old 06-24-05, 07:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
I do have drops. But doesn't matter. As long as you have handlebars, you should be able to push on one side as you apply force to your downstroke on the opposite leg.

Koffee
I agree with Koffee and I think generally you ought not be pulling up on the handlebars (though I have caught myself doing just that on my infrequent and often disastrous mtn bike outings on very steep grades.) Out of the saddle may help a lot here with proper technique and a smooth pedal stroke. But in my opinion it feels very different to get out of the saddle in a 20" wheel bike. In order to get it right (on any bike) the bike has to lean away from your downstroke. If you don't lean the frame, you end up cranking up hard on the bars -- really hard if it's a grinding cadence or an all out effort. Anyway, you oughtn't be pulling up on the bars -- a relaxed grip is the ideal. On the smaller wheels, that lean feels very exagerrated to me and, with the quicker steering, it definitely takes some getting used to.

(Of course pushing the bike side to side is something quite different from the swerve-o-rama I often see.)

Now, please tell us where this steep piece is so we can all try our own advice! I recall at last year's NYC Triathlon, we exited the transition area along the hudson up a ridiculous grade. Because I entered the wrong way (pre race) I saw the grade and had my bike shifted into my 42 - 23. I saw others in their big rings dead stopped right out of the gate. curious if it's around that same area.
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Old 06-24-05, 11:15 AM   #12
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That might be the same spot. It's near the Hudson Greenway entrance/exit at W181st St. Coming from lower Manhattan, when you pass the basketball courts under the highway, keep going, pass the tennis courts, do a steep but short climb directly under the Bridge, go under the highway, and then suffer. It's particularly brutal because it's a very narrow switchback, with a pole smack in the middle, probably there to discourage speeders on the way down (but very nerve-racking on the way up, swaying side to side). Curiously enough, it's next to the place where the crazy landslide happened a few weeks ago (I have pics of the aftermath if anybody wants ). When you finally exit you then have the pleasure of climbing up a very steep, very poorly maintained section of 181st. If you turn left at the top and climb 2-3 more blocks (more gradual) you reach the highest natural point in Manhattan. So yeah, it's all steep there because you go from river-level to highest point in a very short span...
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Old 08-03-05, 01:32 PM   #13
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An update for all of you waiting with bated breath... I was derailed a bit by a dooring (thread elsewhere here, probably in Commuting). I got back on the bike 2+ weeks ago and finally this past Friday I had the confidence in my folder-handling skills and recovery from a sprained elbow (see dooring) to give it a go. I made it! The wheel still threatens to lose contact with the ground with every pedal stroke, but I haven't tumbled yet after three consecutive days of riding up.

One of these days I'll have to provide pics. I'd show you on Google Maps but it doesn't show-up well.
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Old 08-04-05, 09:09 AM   #14
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I have the same problem - a sudden and sharp slope that makes the bike rear up like a wild horse. So, I'm interested to know how exactly you managed to conquer your incline. Are you standing up on the pedals? Are you leaning way forward over the handlebars? Do you have any front or rear racks on the bike? I really need help on this one. My success rate on the incline in question is one out of five so far, and that was only achieved by unicycling the final 10 meters!
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Old 08-04-05, 12:16 PM   #15
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LOL at the unicycling. I'm reasonably powerful so the severe uptick in slope is not a wattage issue for me. I can get over it on my road bike in a 39x24 standing up. The key, as I've mentioned, is that the front wheel jumps off when I get into my powerstroke, so to speak, sitting down. I lacked the confidence to get out of the saddle on the folder at first.

Now I have no trouble getting out of the saddle, but get this -- I don't bother on that slope. I drop it into the lowest of the low granny gears and pedal away. I must look ridiculous, though, because I'm about as far leaned over the bars as I can be while still having my butt on the saddle.

No rack on my bike, BUT I do use a backpack. For worthy reasons I've taken two days off from bike commuting. I'm wondering if I'll have lost my nerve by tomorrow... I'm always worreid some moron going to fast around on the way down will cause a wipe-out (the passage is very narrow and has a post in the middle which in fact encourages people to go on the left side going down if they have any sort of speed going -- bad, very bad).
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