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  1. #1
    Member fatman's Avatar
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    Proper saddle height and safety

    The saddle on my bike is properly set not only by my inseam measure but after experimenting with different settings until I found the perfect one. Legs are extended properly with a light bent on the knees, in line with my hips which are not "rocking" while pedaling. Bottom line is that I feel comfortable pedaling bike. The problem is that I can barely touch the ground with the tip of my feet. Today I was riding the bike and the road was wet, the back tire skids and I almost crash. I was able to regain control of the bike but then I realize that if I need to put the feet on the ground to avoid a crash it will be very hard to do it.

    Do you have any comments?

  2. #2
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    thats the way it is you will get used to it.You should not really put your feet down unless you are really able to stop, like going at a slow rate of speed, or using your brakes. If you are on the move and go down your best bet is to tuck and and go with the bike, or tuck and roll, less chance of injury when doing that. Not that it is any guarantee but I have found in my experience it works.
    Matthew 6

  3. #3
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    Not that it is any guarantee but I have found in my experience it works.
    And just how experienced with this situation are you?
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    Mr. Fatman, I agree with NGateGuy.

    I don't know if you can reproduce the emergency situation is a safe context, for example, by trying quick turns on wet leaves. If so, it might help to lower the saddle by 1/2 to 1 inch, practice a few quick turns/catch up scenarios. When you are comfortable, raise the saddle by 1/4" or so at a time, until you reach your ideal level.

    Also, when you stop at intersections, practice staying on your saddle and extending your left (or right) toes to the ground. That's yet another way to get practice at reaching the ground quickly. Besides, one added advantage of that stopping method is that, when it rains, you keep your butt on a dry saddle.

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    Michel Gagnon
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    When you stop you can move forward off the saddle and put one foot flat on the ground.

  6. #6
    Member fatman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgagnonlv
    Mr. Fatman, I agree with NGateGuy.

    I don't know if you can reproduce the emergency situation is a safe context, for example, by trying quick turns on wet leaves...
    Wow!!! you are a phsychic. This is exactly what happens early this morning but this time it was the front tire. I was turning passing over a bunch of wet leaves the front tire loose traction, I try to regain control but I was unable to put my feet on the ground and down I went I got a laseration in the right elbow and my right foot hurts it seems that at the moment it touch the ground the bike was too inclined and the foot twist. Luckily nobody saw me so my pride didn't get hurt too. The bad news is that my new rear derailleur get an ugly scratch . The rest of the bike seems to be fine, but I don't like that scratch .

  7. #7
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    Bike handling is a skill you have to practice. I rate it at the same difficulty as skiing, and I know that I benefitted from skiing lessons.
    On club rides I have seen tricky stretches of road pose no problem to old hands, even on tandems and with child trailers, but a newbie on a full sus MTB will go flying off the road.
    Find a place to practice, an empty parking lot. Lay out some empty drink cans and practice slow cycling, turning sharp corners, emergency stops, and track stands. Other useful techniques are jump turns, bunny hops over potholes and kurbs, countersteering, looking behind, riding one handed.
    You should also carry a mental list of troublesome conditions, such as wet leaves (sand, puddles, outside camber, white paint, metal etc etc.)
    The book Effective Cycling has all of this stuff in.

  8. #8
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatman
    I was able to regain control of the bike but then I realize that if I need to put the feet on the ground to avoid a crash it will be very hard to do it.

    Do you have any comments?
    Putting your feet on the ground is not how you avoid a crash. Indeed, if you put your foot on the ground at cruising speed, you'll probably induce a crash, or break your ankle, or something worse.

    Putting a foot down only helps you if you're already nearly stopped anyway.

    Michael's point is precisely on target. Bike-handling skills must be developed. Many new riders, for example, are suprisingly awkward and uncomfortable with such basics as standing up on the pedals, low-speed maneuvering, or riding "no hands" (which is not a trick or a stunt, but a necessary skill in emergency situations, such as getting your helmet off if there's a bee in there).

    RichC
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Clark
    or riding "no hands" (which is not a trick or a stunt, but a necessary skill in emergency situations, such as getting your helmet off if there's a bee in there).

    RichC
    Sorry, I beg to differ. A bee anywhere on your body is no emergency, unless you are allergic to them. Be stings hurt and cause some discomfort, but in general won't kill you.

    Riding no hands on the road, attempting to take your helmet off because a bee in in it is, in MHO really kinda stupid anyway--unless, as I mentioned before, you are allergic. Pull over, take the helmet off and let the bee go.

    And if you are that allergic, I'd recommend covering your helmet with some sort of mesh to keep the bees/buggies out of it. Use a helmet cover or perhaps some nylon stockings. Plus you'll give everyone you pass a good laugh if you are using the stockings.

  10. #10
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    My point was that a rider should be able to take his or her hands off the bars without crashing. If you can't, you're not in complete control of your bike (or there's something wrong with it).

    RichC
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  11. #11
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    I have to agree with Foehn. I have yet to come across an instance when I would have to take both hands off my handlebars, and I can't think of one either. I am not very comfortable riding with no hands, though I can do it in a controlled situation, though I don't think I would have much success in an emergency situation. And I feel I am in complete control of my bike, in fact I know I am at least when I read about all the issues that many bike riders have in the above posts. I can do any manuever discussed above, and have been able to since I was a pre-teen learning to ride (not to brag), but I feel as comfortable on a bike as in any other position other than my own two feet. And BTW, I can take my helmet off with one hand! How's that for a trick, haha.

  12. #12
    60mph in the 42 ring! Dave Stohler's Avatar
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    a rider should be able to take his or her hands off the bars without crashing. If you can't, you're not in complete control of your bike
    Excuse me, for a minute, while I state something which is incredibly obvious:

    If you have both hands off the bars, you are not in complete control of your bike
    Cycling Addict
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  13. #13
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Stohler
    Excuse me, for a minute, while I state something which is incredibly obvious:

    If you have both hands off the bars, you are not in complete control of your bike
    Thank you, yes if you do not have your hands on the wheel you are not in control.
    Matthew 6

  14. #14
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Stohler
    Excuse me, for a minute, while I state something which is incredibly obvious:

    If you have both hands off the bars, you are not in complete control of your bike
    Bikes are controlled by balance, not steering.

    RichC
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  15. #15
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    Riding no-handed is a useful skill, and kind of fun. Its something I do on a deserted bike path, but I wouldnt try it in traffic, or if there are pedestrians around. If you can turn corners and do chicanes no handed, then you are really in control of your bike.

  16. #16
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
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    It's also useful to be able to ride no-handed if you need to stretch your back during a ride. Also, on club rides you may need to put on/take off your windvest or arm warmers without stopping and then trying to catch up with the group. with a fast group you may find yourself riding solo for the rest of the day.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  17. #17
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    There are situations where it's useful and sometimes even necessary to ride no-handed. But that's not my point.

    My point is that if you take your hands off the bars and your bike starts going in an unintended direction, then there's either something wrong with the bike or something lacking in your skill level, because bikes are controlled by balance.

    If you really can't ride no-handed on a properly functioning bike, practice until you can. You will discover than even if you rarely actually need to, your overall bike-handling skill will have improved. It's part of the same set of skills and reflexes that contribute to track-standing, curb-hopping, bunny-hopping and other bike-control techniques.

    RichC
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  18. #18
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Clark
    Bikes are controlled by balance, not steering.

    RichC
    no they are not controlled by balance they steer by balance ie tip to the right you turn right. The bike is controlled by the rider. No hands you are not in COMPLETE control of your bike. That is to say you can't or shouldn't do it just don't justify it as being in complete control of your bike because you ain't. It is true that it is not a bad skill to learn because it can come in handy.
    Matthew 6

  19. #19
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    no they are not controlled by balance they steer by balance ie tip to the right you turn right. The bike is controlled by the rider. No hands you are not in COMPLETE control of your bike. That is to say you can't or shouldn't do it just don't justify it as being in complete control of your bike because you ain't. It is true that it is not a bad skill to learn because it can come in handy.
    You seem to be intentionally not understanding what I am saying.

    I did not say you should still be in complete control of your bike if your hands are off the bars.

    I said that you are not in complete control of your bike unless you CAN take your hands off the bars.

    If, when you take your hands off the bars, the bike doesn't continue to go where you want it to, then you were de facto compensating for lack of balance by applying constant steering correction up to the point where you removed your hands from the bars. That's indicative of a control problem.

    no they are not controlled by balance they steer by balance ie tip to the right you turn right. The bike is controlled by the rider.
    What, by force of personality? The rider controls the bike by shifting his balance.

    RichC
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  20. #20
    I am a Viking
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    Rich,

    I agree with you... Oh BTW I can ride with no hands and take turns plus I can ride my bike sitting on the handle bars facing backwards.



    -Dude
    I don't ride my bike for the pleasure. I ride it for the pain.

  21. #21
    Senior Member keithnordstrom's Avatar
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    Thank you, yes if you do not have your hands on the wheel you are not in control.
    well, yeah, riding in traffic commuting you'd be an idiot to take your hands off the handlebars. but go for a long ride on the road, off the beaten path, and it becomes a necessary skill. i do it all the time, tho never in town, and have never had the slightest problem with it.

  22. #22
    dirt eat'n fool BicycleBrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithnordstrom
    well, yeah, riding in traffic commuting you'd be an idiot to take your hands off the handlebars. but go for a long ride on the road, off the beaten path, and it becomes a necessary skill. i do it all the time, tho never in town, and have never had the slightest problem with it.

    Speaking of riding no handed....you can't really ride on rollers unless you can do so, right? And if you fall you don't have to worry about traffic or trees, just a carpet burn.

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