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Are you comfortable riding with hands off bars?

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Are you comfortable riding with hands off bars?

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Old 06-07-13, 02:48 PM
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hobkirk
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Are you comfortable riding with hands off bars?

I cannot (or am too chicken) to peel off a rain jacket while riding. I hold (or rest my hand on) the bar when I take off or put on gloves. I need to be moving fairly fast (for the gyroscopic effect, I assume) to be remove both hands. Sometimes it's better when I am pedaling, sometimes when I am coasting. I am ultra vigilant sans hands - I keep my focus 100% on the road, I swerve with my hips to avoid flush manhole covers, etc.

You probably know exactly what I am describing. Maybe you can educate me. I am asking in this forum because maybe it's different for older folk.

I think I remember being comfortable riding w/o hands when I was younger, even though I never rode lots of miles like I do now. My 2007 Specialized Roubaix seems like it must be the definition of a "non-twitchy" bike. I like "adventure" more than most folks (i.e., I am a dope about caution). I am 67 but my general sense of balance (scrambling on rocks, climbing trees, leaning to the side from ladders) seems undiminished.

PS #1 - I have a handlebar bag that is immensely convenient for snacks, bandanas, swapping water bottles, etc.

PS #2 - I am not worried about shimmies. I do get a shimmy occasionally (including at least once with no hands), but I can stop it by pressing a thigh against the top tube. I got one at 43 MPH once (the fastest I've gone) that did NOT seem to go away when I pressed my legs against the top tube.
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Old 06-07-13, 02:52 PM
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No, I ride to be safe...that safe ain't for me.

I could ride my motorcycle 10 highway miles at one time no hands, and even pass up car by just moving my knees.
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Old 06-07-13, 02:55 PM
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I never quite got right at pedaling hands off because my toe-out posture puts a lot of (wasted) side force into the bike. I can twist a collet tightening stem 20 degrees before I'm 2 blocks away from the house. I don't even try anymore or worry about it. I got at least one hand on the bars for 35 years now.
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Old 06-07-13, 03:01 PM
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I can and do ride hands free but only when I need too, i.e. taking off a jacket or arm warmers, changing glasses, tearing open a Clif bar, etc. While I feel relatively secure with hands off, I do try to make it as infrequent as possible.

I haven't noticed any difference as I've gotten older (63 now).

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Old 06-07-13, 03:07 PM
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Haven't checked for a while but on some of my bikes it is easy and on some of them it is a bit precarious. Sussed it out and it depends on weight distribution on the bikes. I have noticed that "IF" I get the weight back on the saddle- then it is fine. My old OCR that was a size too small and I would never chance it but Boreas and the TCR are fine.
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Old 06-07-13, 03:25 PM
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I can, but seldom do.
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Old 06-07-13, 03:43 PM
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I never ride with both hands off the bars and only do one handed riding when I grab for my water bottle. It's just too dangerous.
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Old 06-07-13, 03:50 PM
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A lot depends on the bicycle IMO. Some are natural no handers, some others not so much.
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Old 06-07-13, 03:58 PM
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I am not good at hands off riding and my main bike has a distinct shimmy which discourages me further.
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Old 06-07-13, 04:06 PM
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Like most things, it depends on experience. If you practice, you'll get good at it and be able to do it safely - in the right circumstances.

I used to ride with someone who could descend at quite high speeds with his hands behind his back, steering with his hips. Good bike handler.
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Old 06-07-13, 04:10 PM
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Depends on which bike I'm on.

The American Eagle/Nishiki is rock solid hands free.

The Specialized Hard Rock will do it, but I have to be very careful that the rear wheel alignment is correct.

The Bacchetta Giro 20 refuses to cooperate.
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Old 06-07-13, 04:11 PM
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I do it sometimes, when I'm on the quiet streets of my neighborhood. I have a few bikes and its easier on some than with others.
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Old 06-07-13, 04:15 PM
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Depends on the bike.

Cross bike is fine.

Road bikes are both ok provided I slide back on the saddle first.

MTB- Well, if my hands aren't on the bike, chances are good the rest of me isn't either..
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Old 06-07-13, 04:34 PM
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[h=2]Are you comfortable riding with hands off bars?[/h]

no
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Old 06-07-13, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Are you comfortable riding with hands off bars?



no
nope.

I did it in my youth sometimes but I never did do it really well. Not going to risk doing it now.
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Old 06-07-13, 05:12 PM
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Only when I cross the finish line and raise both my hands in the air.
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Old 06-07-13, 05:18 PM
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Yes. Although I never quite regained the nerve I had before I broke my collarbone doing it in 7th grade.
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Old 06-07-13, 05:20 PM
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Old 06-07-13, 05:48 PM
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I like riding no-hands on bikes I can.
Some older bikes, if the headset is a little loose or something, I wont risk it.
In Vermont I rode for a mile or two at a time with no hands, but only because of
super wide and smooth shoulders.
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Old 06-07-13, 05:55 PM
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Anything more than a 7% grade with a camera in one hand and a recorder in the other makes me uncomfortable (GMR) .

I've gotten up to 25 on a downhill with no hands but I don't do that often, just for testing purposes.

I can ride for miles and miles with no hands. I often record my videos with no hands recording riders behind me. I can ride standing up with no hands and arms out to the sides.

I can even ride a for a bit with no hands on the tandem but Gina doesn't like it.



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Old 06-07-13, 06:48 PM
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When will our unicycle riders check in?
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Old 06-07-13, 07:01 PM
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I could do it for miles when I was 18. Now, I can do it for brief periods on flat roads but I sure ain't comfortable. And would never try taking a jacket off.
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Old 06-07-13, 07:10 PM
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Two words, and you will be able to ride with no hands:

Lean Back

I have removed my jacket and rolled it up and put it in my jersey pocket with my hands off the handlebars, but that was only because there was a woman rider behind me, and I was showing off. I have decided I will never do anything like that, or anything that prevents me from quickly putting my hands back if necessary. Also, I don't do it if it is windy.

I view it as an important skill, because it lets me stretch my back/neck/shoulders. Also, if I'm tired, and a long gradual descent is coming up, I can just sit back and rest. It's just like taking a break on a bench, but the miles keep clicking off.


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Old 06-07-13, 07:42 PM
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I can ride hands free if I want to but at 56 I have lost the need or desire to do this any more, I guess I am not "comfortable" as you asked. I read some articles on a few pros that stressed the skill of hands free riding as necessary and good for balance, with their need to eat on the fly and remove or add clothing I understand and will agree about it. I just don't need to eat or modify my kit as I ride any more, I stopped racing many years ago and I was so slow then I could have stopped and no one would have noticed it . it was fun when I was a kid and it was useless showing off too, I don't want to or need to prove anything now, I just love to be able to ride ....... with my hands on the bars.

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Old 06-07-13, 07:49 PM
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I do it quite often on downhills, but it does depend on the bike, and the design of the fork and wheelbase.

The fork is the major factor, in my experience. I have a Fuji Touring circa 2000, and it had the standard fork on it. I had a lot of trouble keeping the bike on track from new, let alone almost never rode it no-hands unless doing 35km/h downhill. Last year I replaced the fork with a Surly one, and the transformation in handling and feel was remarkable.

My new Thorn touring bike has a similar fork on it, and it's much easier to ride no hands at a lower speed -- around 20km/h -- loaded and unloaded.

My rando and road bikes are less so. And I won't take the risk on the tandem.

Sitting back does help.
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