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Look ma, no hands!

Old 09-15-21, 12:12 PM
  #1  
gthomson
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Look ma, no hands!

So I wanted to share this goofy thing because maybe as older guys you can relate. Years ago as a young man I would ride no hands and not really think much about it because most kids could. Well, I got older, married, kids, ect... and stopped riding a bike mostly and got fat.

I started riding more seriously again about 5 years ago and haven't looked back and since I'm on the bike a lot these days, taught myself how to ride with no hands again. Not sure I can take off a shell jacket and pack it in my bike carrier with no hands but working my way towards it!
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Old 09-15-21, 12:18 PM
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Look Ma No Hands... Look Ma No Teeth...



As a kid we did many tricks. One of the tricks was to take an extra bearing outta the top and bottom of the head tube... Ha

But all and all I am happy for the reattaining of your skills. Always a good thing...
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Old 09-15-21, 12:44 PM
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I know what you mean. Use to be no handed riding was a cinch. Now I feel insecure about it. I probably should practice it more too.

Maybe we can have a contest to see which of us can take of a shell and put it in our back pocket while riding. But first, I really do need to get a shell jacket. I've done without for way too long.
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Old 09-15-21, 01:10 PM
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When I was a kid, bike geometry included a lot more rake and trail in the forks. Riding no hands was a lot easier because of it. Newer bike geometry is a bit more "twitchy" because everyone thinks they are riding in the TdF.
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Old 09-15-21, 01:14 PM
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I guess I missed some aging. I do it all the time, always have, to stretch, to change layers, get a better view over the corn, empty the water bottle, use the air brake on a descent, etc. Even with a touring load--I can reach to the back rack, pull out my rain jacket, put it on, and the reverse without stopping. I've always thought the handlebars were one of the least important parts of a basic bike.

My wife can juggle on her unicycle. I feel like a klutz compare to her.
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Old 09-15-21, 01:47 PM
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What I learned is that it is not easy to ride no-handed on a lightweight carbon bike when there is any substantial wind.
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Old 09-15-21, 07:43 PM
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;I ride with no hands sometimes, but always feel that I shouldn't. Too likely to pull a Chris Froome,
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Old 09-15-21, 08:04 PM
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I'm glad that you, now at your age, have reclaimed such a "trick" skill of your youth. Now, don't do it again.
Seriously, it is a totally dumbass move!!!
If you decide to continue this practice, I do suggest that you keep your Orthopaedic Surgeon neighbor/pal on speed dial.
Look at it this way, if you played your last FOOTBALL game as a College player -OR- just back in High School, thirty-five years ago,
would you be Stupid enough to consider playing in a full pads/full contact/Tackle football game today? Answer: Hell No, because you
might get hurt so badly that your crummy HMO and all the docs around won't be able to get you back to 85% of where you were before
you were injured.
OLD FOLKS DON'T HEAL AS FAST AS SOMEONE That is between 17 and 22.
Fourteen year old you could shake of the pain and probably bounce off the pavement without likely breaking any bones, but now, YOU, at 52, or 72, or 87
are not gonna be so lucky.................just forget about the No Hands $h!t because sooner rather than later you'll be wishing that you weren't so
stupid and foolish! This is almost as stupid as the other old fossil morons that proudly exclaim that they will never wear a bicycle helmet because
we didn't have them or need them in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's. If he'd allow me to print his contact info and tel no., my neighbor, an Orthopaedic
Surgeon, is a serious tri-athlete, and long time cyclist, who could tell you just how many dumb Old Fools that he has operated on in just the past few years.
Hey, whether we like to recognize it or not, but age makes it much more difficult.......and you have about zero chance of just bouncing off the pavement with
no injury and just shaking off the minor scratches, bruises & minor road rash as you might have when you were 14.
If not for you, then give up this No Hands $h!t, and do it for all the loved ones in your life.....
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Old 09-15-21, 08:39 PM
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No problem for me as a kid. I could ride for several miles through city streets carrying a pizza.

I didn't ride for 30+ years and now I can't do it. Geometry probably plays a bit of a role as I can handle it briefly on one bike and not at all on another that is definitely twitchier. But I think age is a larger factor.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:21 PM
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I do it generally to stretch and drink some and take a break and look at the ocean. Itís windy here though and I got knocked on my arse back in like Feb. riding no hands, happy as a lark, crossed an intersection as a gust blew across it and I was instantly down. Like zero warning. Scraped up my shoulder and leg but thankfully that was it. Mainly I was happy there were no (new) scratches on my 50 year old Falcon, other than the brake lever but thats soft aluminum and cleaned up. I was really surprised how little it hurt but I was a skater and bmxer for a long time and I think it probably helped.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:33 PM
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It's a useful skill, congrats.

When i ride my recumbent, it's super annoying to have to stop for something that would be ezpz with a few seconds no hands. Zip up a jacket, peel a banana, open a wrapper.

Needles to say, I can ride my unicycle no hands all day long. Forget about simultaneously juggling though. I'm definitely not circus material.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:41 PM
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I can still ride with no hands. Great for stretching out the arms on long rides. But I can’t adjust my hydration pack with hands off handlebars for that I must stop.
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Old 09-15-21, 10:58 PM
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Racing frame and fork geometry of the newer bike makes no-hands more of a challenge. I limit my no-hands to switching water bottles - down tube to seat tube. Not brave enough to try removing or putting on a jacket on the go. It is definitely more challenging without the old gently sweeping fork.
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Old 09-16-21, 02:10 AM
  #14  
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I can still do that on a mountain bike, but cannot (and do not think anyone can) on a recumbent or my 20-inch wheeled Bike Fridays.
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Old 09-16-21, 05:01 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
I'm glad that you, now at your age, have reclaimed such a "trick" skill of your youth. Now, don't do it again.
Seriously, it is a totally dumbass move!!!
If you decide to continue this practice, I do suggest that you keep your Orthopaedic Surgeon neighbor/pal on speed dial.
Look at it this way, if you played your last FOOTBALL game as a College player -OR- just back in High School, thirty-five years ago,
would you be Stupid enough to consider playing in a full pads/full contact/Tackle football game today? Answer: Hell No, because you
might get hurt so badly that your crummy HMO and all the docs around won't be able to get you back to 85% of where you were before
you were injured.
OLD FOLKS DON'T HEAL AS FAST AS SOMEONE That is between 17 and 22.
Fourteen year old you could shake of the pain and probably bounce off the pavement without likely breaking any bones, but now, YOU, at 52, or 72, or 87
are not gonna be so lucky.................just forget about the No Hands $h!t because sooner rather than later you'll be wishing that you weren't so
stupid and foolish! This is almost as stupid as the other old fossil morons that proudly exclaim that they will never wear a bicycle helmet because
we didn't have them or need them in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's. If he'd allow me to print his contact info and tel no., my neighbor, an Orthopaedic
Surgeon, is a serious tri-athlete, and long time cyclist, who could tell you just how many dumb Old Fools that he has operated on in just the past few years.
Hey, whether we like to recognize it or not, but age makes it much more difficult.......and you have about zero chance of just bouncing off the pavement with
no injury and just shaking off the minor scratches, bruises & minor road rash as you might have when you were 14.
If not for you, then give up this No Hands $h!t, and do it for all the loved ones in your life.....
So dramatic and so off base.
Im curious though. Do you also vigorously advocate against yard work and/or shoveling snow?

Last edited by downhillmaster; 09-16-21 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 09-16-21, 05:21 AM
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Over the past 15 years since I re-engaged in cycling I have occasionally ridden no hands to stretch out. I never did anything with my hands while doing it since I didn't want to risk a crash. A year ago, at age 72, I got diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, which is currently under good control with meds.. I have occasionally popped the hands off the bars to see how my balance is holding up. Pretty good - I could probably still do my on-the-bike stretches but I am not going to take the risk. The last thing I need these days is a nasty crash because I was goofing around with my hands in the air.
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Old 09-16-21, 06:43 AM
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I'm glad I posted this because I now know I'm not the only one that thinks about this. For the last 35 years or so (probably when I grew past my stupid teenage years) I thought the idea of riding no hands was stupid, "what if my front tire hit something?" and would never even consider it.

I guess I watch the modern day pro's ride and think how cool it looks as they cross the finish line, hands in the air throwing a victory punch. I also like to challenge my balance because I know it's a hard thing to maintain as we get older and I feel it declining these days.

Interestingly enough, I only try it on my vintage road bikes which is in line with some of the comments above that newer bike geometry makes it more difficult. I don't try it on my newer road bike or mtn. bike.

I will be careful
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Old 09-16-21, 07:28 AM
  #18  
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No-hands riding - for brief periods - is a great way to gently test how well a bike handles and feels. Obviously one starts with the hands a couple of inches above the bars to make sure it's not gonna dive to one side or another. Doing so is GREAT for stretching on the bike, taking a momentary rolling break, etc. If I ever get a decent rando bag setup on one or more of my bikes, I'll learn how to put on or take off a shell jacket.

I only ride no hands on nice straightaways with nothing coming or going around me. I'm also picky about which bikes I will do it on. The '86 Cannondale ST600 is aggressively stable and invites all-day no-hands riding. The '88 Specialized Sirrus is surprisingly calm and steady with my hands off the bars, but there's some sort of special-sauce juju going on with that bike, and some mysteries I prefer to leave well enough alone.

This was once a routine part of what experienced cyclists did, along with eating while riding, reaching down to use downtube shifters, whisking stuff off tires with gloved palms, etc. The scary grim warnings make me think of the earnest 30-something-year-old who made some snarky comment about how unsafe it was for me to remove my hands from the bars to operate a friction downtube shifter. I resisted the urge to tell him I had been safely making shifts that way since before his parents graduated from high school.
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Old 09-16-21, 08:18 AM
  #19  
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Definitely depends on the bike. I do it on my gravel bike, but not road or hybrid. And I rarely do it on gravel bike, because at 65, why take the risk of biting the dust and possible injury?

Vintage Schwinn may be speaking from experience. Remember Izzy Mendelbaum (Lloyd Bridges) from Seinfeld? "Its Go Time!"

The mind sometimes forgets that the body can't do what it once could. As an early teen I'd ride miles with no hands just for the fun of it.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
The scary grim warnings make me think of the earnest 30-something-year-old who made some snarky comment about how unsafe it was for me to remove my hands from the bars to operate a friction downtube shifter. I resisted the urge to tell him I had been safely making shifts that way since before his parents graduated from high school.
LOVE THIS and totally agree with you, something I only do going straight, no one around, and staying focused to right any wrong. I have 4 vintage bikes, of friction or index shifters and don't really think twice about the action when I'm doing it. Some bikes keep steady and others don't for some reason.

Like to see pictures of the Cannondale and Specialized bikes if you can.

Chuckles1, now I'm going to have to search through the seasons to try and find that reference ha ha
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Old 09-16-21, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Like to see pictures of the Cannondale and Specialized bikes if you can.
a
They're here in this post on this other thread in this forum. The Cannondale, which I really need to fit with the correct crowned Tange fork, was both a Clunker Challenge 100 contender this year AND my first non-ferrous bike. I was not at all prepared to like it as much as I do. The Specialized Sirrus was a $50 purchase because once I started doing the Clunker Challenge I couldn't stop myself. It has become my current go-to bike, eclipsing all of my other vintage treasures and custom-built bikes.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
When I was a kid, bike geometry included a lot more rake and trail in the forks. Riding no hands was a lot easier because of it. Newer bike geometry is a bit more "twitchy" because everyone thinks they are riding in the TdF.
I have thought about that myself. I will also add that I think the more the bike weighs in relation to you the easier it is to balance...I think. Also my new-to-me 20-inch folder, seems to be the easiest bike I have to ride no-handed. I haven't figured out why.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:38 AM
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Like many here I do it for a quick stretch or to rest my neck or change the pressure on my arse. I have one bike that is pretty easy to go no hands and one that is not so easy. If its windy ? fuggedaboutit !! Switching back and forth between bikes has made it harder to ride no handed on both of them so I tend to do it less than last year.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:51 AM
  #24  
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I was riding on the bike path at the beach and it goes through a parking structure for a bit. A young woman was riding behind me no handed and she reached up to touch the structure and down she went. Lucky she wasn't hurt.

I sold a Landshark bike to a friend and we were finishing a ride and he was no handed through a parking lot and ran into a large potted plant buckling the top and down tubes on the frame. Since it was lugged and brazed Landshark was able to replace those tubes.

I don't have the skill or desire to ride with my hands off the bar for more than a few seconds. I also don't have the "wheelie gene".
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Old 09-16-21, 11:03 AM
  #25  
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No so long ago, I was riding my tallbike with my 30-something friends and decided to stand on the top-tube like I did as a kid. They freaked out; which I found hilarious.

I couldn't bring myself to put my other foot on the stem and let go of the bars, so I guess technically not pertinent to the OP.

I could have fallen, been seriously hurt, paralyzed, died. That also could have happened when I was 13, which would have been tragic.
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