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Old 04-18-11, 08:44 PM   #1
slipknot0129
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how do I get better at looking behind me?

I try looking behind me by turning my torso some then turning my head but I dont have good control of my bike when I do that. I can see fully behind me. Be cool if I could do that and have good control of my bike. Are you able to turn your torso more if you stretch? How good of control do you have of your bike when your look behind with your torso turned?
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Old 04-18-11, 08:52 PM   #2
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Well, in general turning your torso means your shoulders naturally turn, which basically steers you in the direction of your turning torso. My best intuition says that controlling your bike when stretched to look back leaves minimal control as well as not having the vision to maintain a straight course. If you're talking about stretching to improve torso flexibility that is plausible, but again, the shoulders turning (given that you have both hands clamped on the handlebar) makes it difficult to ride straight. I've found that you don't really need to have complete 180 vision behind you to check for cars as you should have audio cues, and a turn of your head should provide enough peripheral vision. Otherwise, you might already be aware (or not) of mirrors you can buy that clamp on your handlebar or glasses.

Simple answer is that your bio-mechanics don't allow for good control with your torso turned to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:16 PM   #3
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Use a mirror. If you're riding on country roads with cars going 60+ mph your peripheral vision just isn't reliable enough. Shoulders are often narrow and don't allow much margin for error to begin with. Some braver souls will simply "take the road" and take their chances.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:18 PM   #4
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How about using a MIRROR?

(as above)
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Old 04-18-11, 09:37 PM   #5
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The mirror is a good idea, and I'd recommend using one, but they're not always 100% reliable. My mirrors often get out of adjustment, or sometimes they catch a glare.

You can do exercises to strengthen your neck muscles, torso, and whatever else; for improved control, quickness, and flexibility. Most people can improve their control, quickness and flexibility for any movement with the right training and practice.

When I'm riding a bike and need to look back to check for a car before turning left or whatever, I'll usually extend my bands and torso forward and lower on the bars, almost horizontal to the frame, before taking a quick look over either shoulder. I've found that helps me to look over my shoulder quicker and with the least torso rotation. With an almost horizontal upper torso and neck position, I'll rotate my neck about 90 degrees toward the shoulder and then do a chin tuck toward the shoulder (2 quick movements) to see behind the shoulder. Then I sweep my chin back forward in one movement. I'm cautious about not looking back too long. Since my hands position are extended in the bars, they're close to the brake levers if I need to brake on return to looking forward. So, I make 3 or 4 quick movements, and minimize rotation of my torso.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:51 PM   #6
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practice. lots of practice. turn a little bit, and back, then a bit farther and back, until you can see behind you. also try dropping the opposite elbow (if you look left, drop right elbow) a few inches to sort of counter the head turn. eventually you will be able to look behind you (As you should before changing lanes or turning) and keep your bike straight.

you aren't looking back for a full minute, it's a quick glance. if you are looking back for more than five seconds it's too long. spend a few days and you'll get it.

Last edited by pablosnazzy; 04-18-11 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:57 PM   #7
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I have a mirror on my helmet, but I occasionally (less than 5% of my mileage) ride without the helmet, therefore, no mirror.

I have shoulder arthritis and a constant stiff neck. I have no issues looking behind me on an upright bike. It's harder on my recumbent (those seats aren't meant for turning around in).

You could try stretching. I do that just to help with my neck/shoulder issues. Practicing holding a line while looking back too. Sometimes it's just a matter of practice.

The best option is still the mirror.
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Old 04-18-11, 11:37 PM   #8
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Practice, practice , then try a mirror.
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Old 04-19-11, 12:26 AM   #9
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Here's how I do it (assuming you're riding to the right of the lane - no crazy "ride/drive on the wrong side of the road, aka Britain/England):

-position right hand hold on an inboard position of the handlebar. Road bike: on top between stem and hoods, mtb/flat bars: covering brake mounts. This ensures minimal steering inputs keeping you tracking on your intended route.
-using left arm as a sight line, point towards the rear where you want to look

This works great for me when I want to be absolutely sure I know what's going on behind me at speed. The quick turn your head method is ok for slower speeds.

IMHO, mirrors whether bike or helmet mounted would just get broken by me, I'm pretty rough on stuff. That and I associate helmet mirrors with "Freds". lol!
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Old 04-19-11, 12:37 AM   #10
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Just do what this guy does at 1:30:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxcY2hvBQZs

And, as others have written, practice, practice, practice.
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Old 04-19-11, 02:55 AM   #11
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Try looking under your arm to see if you like it better. I mean, raise your arm, tuck your head and take a look back.
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Old 04-19-11, 07:26 AM   #12
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practice grasshopper....
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Old 04-19-11, 07:35 AM   #13
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I tuck my chin to my left shoulder. I'm most likely to wobble when I'm done looking, and bringing my head back. Bending my right elbow seems to counteract this. I've clearly given this way too much thought.
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Old 04-19-11, 08:57 AM   #14
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It's a matter of remembering that your natural tendency is to steer in the direction you're looking. If you're looking over your left shoulder, your natural tendency is to steer to the left.

Keep this in mind and work on maintaining a straight course, (possibly even intentionally steering slightly to the right to compensate) as you practice, practice, practice. You're working against millions of years of evolution, so it takes time and work.

One thing that helps me is that I let go of the bar with my left hand as I shoulder-check. It gives me more freedom of movement and helps keep the right hand pointed correctly.
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Old 04-19-11, 10:24 AM   #15
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A friend does it really well but I never think of trying what he does. He keeps is right hand on the bar to steer, sits straight up, puts his left hand on his tight or hip, and then turns his head and entire torso around to the rear.
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Old 04-19-11, 12:05 PM   #16
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Practice. I'm living proof that it can be done. I really don't like mirrors, though I do think about them from time to time.
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Old 04-19-11, 12:36 PM   #17
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+N on mirror.

Oddly, since getting my mirror, I've gotten a lot better at the torso turn when looking back and not veering all over the place. Maybe it's because I have a better idea of what I'm looking at.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-19-11, 01:45 PM   #18
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It helps to move the right hand closer to the stem and let go with your left hand to look over your left shoulder. Practice this a few times, it just keeps your right arm closer to the center of the steer tube, helping to swerve less.
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Old 04-19-11, 02:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 04-19-11, 03:38 PM   #20
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It helps to move the right hand closer to the stem and let go with your left hand to look over your left shoulder. Practice this a few times, it just keeps your right arm closer to the center of the steer tube, helping to swerve less.
This + practice. Moving your hand closer to the stem reduces the torque you can apply to the handlebars.
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Old 04-19-11, 07:14 PM   #21
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Get a mirror and become one with the mirror.
I've aimed for that oneness because my recumbents don't lend themselves to looking over the shoulder to get a rear view.
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Old 04-20-11, 03:20 AM   #22
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Female Joggers
and practice
but mainly the first one
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Old 04-20-11, 07:20 AM   #23
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Mirrors are good because you can check out the famale joggers surreptitiously, which is good when you're old and creepy looking like me. The downside to mirrors is you won't see vampires that happen to be approaching from behind.
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Old 04-20-11, 07:23 AM   #24
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Mirrors are good because you can check out the famale joggers surreptitiously, which is good when you're old and creepy looking like me. The downside to mirrors is you won't see vampires that happen to be approaching from behind.
Literally just chuckled in class, thanks alot ass now the professor is eyeing me
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Old 04-27-11, 10:43 PM   #25
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Take-a-Look glasses mounted mirror. It could save your life.
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