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  1. #1
    Senior Member bboseley's Avatar
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    How do I look behind?

    I have been road biking for a while now, and the skills are improving nicely. One thing I can’t seem to master is the “Lance Look…”. That is turning to look behind yet keeping the bike in a straight line. I have tried getting the weight off the saddle, various hand positions on the bar, but invariably I veer a little to the left. (Look back to left) Is this just another of those experience things or is there a technique? I like to know what’s going on behind me from time to time. Maybe I’ll put me a big old mirror on the bar. NOT

    Little aside – I may need a bell. Today I saw two women, one pushing a baby carriage walking along taking up the width of the trail. I obviously slowed to almost a stop as I approached but they were in their world. Finally I said in a very low voice “which side may I pass on?” Well, it scared the **** out of these women. I apologized, but they were indignant. Walkers are my far the worst hazard on the trail.

  2. #2
    Airborne Titanium EricDJ's Avatar
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    Might just be a learned thing. I've been doing it since I was a kid. If you can't get it, theres always a mirror as an option. I don't ride trails but a bell or something that makes noise might be a good idea for you.

    On street, can you ride without hands? Learning this might help balance and make the over the shoulder easier.

  3. #3
    Plano, TX saintboy8's Avatar
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    One thing that works for me is to put one of my hands on my leg when turning around. I don't seem to move off line much. (Example: to look behind my left shoulder, I remove my left hand from the bar and put my hand on my left thigh which is at the top of the pedal stroke and then I turn around to look) It's not the "Lance Look" you're after but it's a lot safer.
    Laissez le bons temps rouler! Geaux Tigers!

  4. #4
    Prefers Aluminum Sprocket Man's Avatar
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    It's really difficult to turn your head around enough so that you're looking directly at approaching cars. Learn to use your peripheral vision - while off your bike, practice staring straight ahead while focusing your attention to objects off to the side. Then, when you're on the bike, all you'll need to do is look to the side to see cars approaching from the rear.

  5. #5
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
    It's really difficult to turn your head around enough so that you're looking directly at approaching cars. Learn to use your peripheral vision - while off your bike, practice staring straight ahead while focusing your attention to objects off to the side. Then, when you're on the bike, all you'll need to do is look to the side to see cars approaching from the rear.
    Good advice. That is what I do.

  6. #6
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Take you left hand off the bars and swing your left arm behind you as you turn your head. This works for the majority of riders.
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  7. #7
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Another trick is to put your chin on your shoulder.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    +1 on the chin to the shoulder thing., after you get it down, work on looking under your arm, ala horse jockeys.

  9. #9
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    You might want to check out the "Time to Get A Mirror?" thread in the Fifty+ forum.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    The ladies with the strollers tick off a lot of people.

    Practice riding no hands and the chin on shoulder thing at your local supermarket parking lot when nobody else is around. Also, take track classes if you live near a velodrome.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Cycli-Bot5000's Avatar
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    I don't know how well they actually would work but at some point, it might have been on E-Bay, i saw a set of mirrors designed to fit as end caps in road bars. Might be something to look into. Gives you the advantages of mirrors without messing up your aerodynamic profile and you can stear clear of looking doofy with a big ol' mirror on yer handle bars or helmet.

  12. #12
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    Practice turning your NECK to face your head back. Don't turn the shoulders. Another thing to do is to relax your grip on the bars and wiggle all your fingers freely before looking back. This prevents shoulder movements from yanking on the bars and turning you.

  13. #13
    Lost in Los Angeles Bizurke's Avatar
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    I hold the arm of the opposite side kind of out and down as I look back. If I'm looking back to the left I swing my right arm out and I guess it counters the movement or something. I never realized I did this till a few weeks ago when someone pointed it out to me. I just have to make sure to not appear like I'm signaling with which ever army I'm throwing out.

    Over all, I just say practice. It may sound stupid but go ride down a quiet street and practice looking back different ways from different positions until you've found a way that works best for you.

  14. #14
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    Practice in an empty parking lot, one handed or with a hand on the tops.
    I might get a bar-end bell

  15. #15
    Senior Member bidaci's Avatar
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    When I need to keep things super stable I grab the rear of the saddle before I turn. As you get more comfortable turning, you won't need to grab the seat as often.
    Bill

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  16. #16
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbruce
    +1 on the chin to the shoulder thing., after you get it down, work on looking under your arm, ala horse jockeys.
    +1 or between your legs if posting in the drops.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  17. #17
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    When you do get a bell, be sure to ring it well in advance. Especially if there are no road noises, you can get someone to move long before you get to them.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  18. #18
    Behind EVERYone!!! baj32161's Avatar
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    I also move my hands to the center of the bars as oppoed to leaving them on the hoods.

    Cheers,

    Brian
    “A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence. ”

    ― Bruce Lee

  19. #19
    Senior Member mudskipper99's Avatar
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    I have the same problem. Its extremely frustrating. I used to be able to look behind, and ride really fast, but now I can only turn my head slightly if im going under 10mph. At 15mph I cannot turn my head at all, or even turn my eyes to look in my rear view mirror. Sometimes I need to signal with my arm to traffic I want to cross over to the left turn lane, and if I take my hand off the handle, I start loosing control, so I have to stop in traffic, and get off my bike and haul it up on the curb, or wobble into a speeding car. When I go down a hill, I have to ride the brake all the way down. I think I have fluid in my ears from a kazillion alergies messing me up. I miss being able to look behind, and take my hand off the handlebars! I even feel like im being pulled to the left, and I have to push hard on the right handlebar to keep my balance, and I lose the circulation in my hand after 5 miles or so. Is there anyone else out there who developed balance problems, after having great balance, or is it just me?

  20. #20
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    As someone who both uses a mirror and turns to look, let me suggest that a mirror should be a supplement to actually looking behind you when necessary or appropriate, not a substitute--too many blind spots. You don't want to become the subject of one of those "cyclist hit by car/pedestrian/etc" threads....

  21. #21
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    I can look behind in almost every riding situation except while climbing a steep hill. Then I have to stop pedaling and look behind. Also, looking behind you while you are accelerating from a dead stop is also not a good idea
    I really have nothing to add. The techniques I use are already mentioned.

  22. #22
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    To look over your left shoulder move your right hand close to the stem.

    motto: start slow, then ease off

  23. #23
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    Give a good "on your left!" as you approach, than a "thankyou" as you pass.

    If they dont move, i keep saying it until they get the idea.

  24. #24
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    I've had the same problem with mulit-use trails, even travelling at jogging speeds.

    People must have bad nerves. I scare the crap out of people whether I speak in a soft voice from 3 meters, ring a bell from 10, or blast an air horn from a quarter mile out. (okay, even at that distance that last one was my fault)

    Or they get scared if I just glide past silently. I dont know what thought process they are in to assume there are no other human beings anywhere on the public access trail they are walking.


    And I have to say it. Once you pass them, give them *the look*.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudskipper99
    I have the same problem. Its extremely frustrating. I used to be able to look behind, and ride really fast, but now I can only turn my head slightly if im going under 10mph. At 15mph I cannot turn my head at all, or even turn my eyes to look in my rear view mirror. Sometimes I need to signal with my arm to traffic I want to cross over to the left turn lane, and if I take my hand off the handle, I start loosing control, so I have to stop in traffic, and get off my bike and haul it up on the curb, or wobble into a speeding car. When I go down a hill, I have to ride the brake all the way down. I think I have fluid in my ears from a kazillion alergies messing me up. I miss being able to look behind, and take my hand off the handlebars! I even feel like im being pulled to the left, and I have to push hard on the right handlebar to keep my balance, and I lose the circulation in my hand after 5 miles or so. Is there anyone else out there who developed balance problems, after having great balance, or is it just me?
    The loss of circulation and not being able to turn your head without steering is caused by the same problem: a death-grip on the bars. Practice resting your hand on top of the bars with your fingers completely loose. You shoudl be able to wiggle all of them including the thumb. When you're able to do this, you'll be able to turn your head without steering and you'll have much better circulation as well. Remember that a bike rides a perfectly straight line by itself. When coming up to these situations where you need to look behind you, just imagine hopping off your seat backwards without disturbing the bike, you'll see that the bike will continue down your original path with no wobbling, no turning. It's you pulling/pushing on the bars that's causing it to swerve or turn.

    One of the things I do a lot is sit up and coast no hands when I see a distant light turn red. Gives me time to rest. I'll also grab a water-bottle and suck on it as I'm coasting. This gives me time to look over my shoulders to see what kind of cars are coming up behind me as we're approaching the intersection. Riding no hands is good practice because it prevents you from messing with the steering, the bike stays aimed straight ahead.
    Last edited by Mothra; 07-22-06 at 10:29 PM.

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