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Standing on the Bike ???

Old 01-19-20, 02:24 PM
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TheDudeIsHere
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Standing on the Bike ???

Are there any other cyclists out there who have a hard time standing on the bike? I have a ride partner who is really awkward standing on the bike. We ride together often and take turns at the front pulling one another. There are a couple of real short steep ramps that we climb and if I am behind him on those sections, WATCHOUT! He stands and doesn't quite rock but also doesn't seem very stable forward, backward, or side to side. Actually scary trying to hold his wheel at times. I have to back off and let him pull away safely then hop back on his wheel when we level out.

Also my wife, she has done 100 miles on her single bike, few centuries on the tandem, and climbed as much as 5,000 ft in 20 miles, and plenty of 2300-4,000 ft climbs all withing 17 miles. Plenty of climbing but she can not stand if her life counted on it. The few centuries we did on the tandem, I would have loved to stand on the climbs (7%) and a local short climb, partial way up Mt Baldy Rd that hits grades of 11%. I've tried to get her to stand, gave her pretty good instructions, but still, she struggles to stand so those tandem climbs can be a struggle. Also can't get the feel for me standing on the tandem while she remains seated.

But it puzzles me. She is very well coordinated in sport activities. Rides really well but can not stand on a bike for snot!

Who here has a problem and why? I am not asking to say anything silly like "I am a dufus", I mean why, as in is it a balance thing? Is it unnerving to some riders?

Well yeah, put a bike stand on the bike and it's easy!

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Old 01-19-20, 03:23 PM
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There are lots of people like that. A guy I used to race against was terribly unsteady pedalling out of the saddle to the point that nobody in the pack liked being close to him. He wasn't the only one, there was another guy we used to refer to as the "zig zag machine" for his out of the saddle pedalling style
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Old 01-19-20, 03:49 PM
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It doesnít feel natural when I stand out of the saddle, and typically the only time I am out of the saddle is when crossing a busy intersection, combination of clipping in and trying to cross quickly. I donít have mountains near me, and all of the hills I am able to climb without standing.
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Old 01-19-20, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
There are lots of people like that. A guy I used to race against was terribly unsteady pedalling out of the saddle to the point that nobody in the pack liked being close to him. He wasn't the only one, there was another guy we used to refer to as the "zig zag machine" for his out of the saddle pedalling style

Ah good! So I know it is not all that uncommon. I have many cycling buds and these 2 are about the only 2 I know who have problems so it is good to know it's not a really rare thing.
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Old 01-19-20, 04:31 PM
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A guy I used to train with had a bad habit of jerking the bike backward about 6 inches whenever he stood to accelerate or climb. He was unaware that it was happening. It didn't take him all that long to break the habit once he was, ahem, invited to do so. I would think that anyone, once informed of such a problem, would be able to learn to control the bike better.
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Old 01-19-20, 05:04 PM
  #6  
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Standing to pedal takes practice and better conditioning. It's often harder on the leg muscles, especially for folks who can spin fast to compensate for using relatively easier gears. Standing really works the legs.

And some bikes balance better than others for standing. Hybrids and comfort or city bikes with swept or arced riser bars can be trickier than a road bike.

With a road bike it seems to depend on the overall setup between handlebar/stem height relative to the saddle, design and length of the hoods -- assuming the rider is on the hoods for standing. Some folks use the drops. The tops are very difficult to balance on for standing to pedal, partly because it's like using the world's narrowest flat bars -- very twitchy.

I really had to work to be able to stand to pedal. When I first resumed cycling in 2015 I could stand only a few seconds at a time before my legs gave out. Gradually I built up some strength but mostly avoiding it by sitting and spinning. Last year I finally switched methods from spinning to mashing harder gears and forcing myself to stand to pedal longer distances. On a good day I can stand to pedal from 1/4 to 1/2 mile on gradual inclines. On one really exceptional day in December I stood to climb most of a 1.2 mile hill, sitting only a couple of times for a few seconds where the hill flattened out briefly. I couldn't repeat that yesterday on the same hill.

My balance is pretty good. I check my on-bike video cameras and I don't rock much. But I worked at it a lot to be smooth in group rides.

Speaking of which, don't draft someone who stands to climb. Watch the pros. Even they drop back a bit when following a rider who stands to climb. If you're close enough that the other guy's rocking bothers you, you're too close. Even if it means losing the draft or getting dropped on fast group rides, I won't ride too close beside or behind someone with sketchy bike handling. Sometimes they're stronger and faster so I can't simply stay ahead of them either. Some rides ya just gotta choose between hanging on despite the risks or bailing out and riding safely.

It's hard to convince casual cyclists to endure the burning muscle pain it takes to get stronger at standing to pedal. Sorta takes the fun out of it for casual cyclists who are just in it for some low stress exercise. I wouldn't try to push anyone into "getting stronger." Their own goals will motivate them. If their goal is to just relax and enjoy the ride, there won't be much motivation to endure the burning muscles and sore legs the next couple of days.
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Old 01-19-20, 05:08 PM
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Interesting.

I suppose in some instances it might be a 'balance' issue, but I'm sure that in others it's a 'set up' and/or technique issue.

On the first: one needs one's bars somewhat 'forward' (reach) and 'down' (saddle to bar drop) in order to ensure that the transition from seated to standing pedalling is a balanced transition. Standing on the pedals and climbing on a 'Dutch' bike, for example -- a sit-up-n-beg position when seated -- is not a natural position.

On the second: I suspect many folks forget or don't realize that one needs to drop a gear or two to maintain fluidity. When standing, one is adding one's body weight to pedalling force, and so a slightly 'harder' gear in relation to climbing the same grade seated is appropriate.
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Old 01-19-20, 05:36 PM
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Mountain biking is a great way to learn and practise how to ride while standing on the pedals. The nature of mountain biking is such that it forces you to get out of the saddle very often especially when riding on technical terrain.
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Old 01-19-20, 06:15 PM
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I tore my right tricep and right rotatorcuff. That was my dominant side and is now my weak side. I have the leg and core strength but not the right shoulder strength to stand and press for long periods. I can usually stand and pedal up an incline for about 60 strokes before I have to sit because I can no longer hold my weight on the right side.

I once was able to complete sets of push-ups totaling 300 now I struggle to do 40. Really sucks when trying to be a better climber.
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Old 01-19-20, 06:40 PM
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I certainly have cycling weak spots, but if you can't stand on your machine I would think you would work on it until you could...
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Old 01-19-20, 08:41 PM
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Gosh, I've tried and tried, but am totally unable to get up out of the seat while riding this bike..........................I'll keep working on it.

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Old 01-19-20, 09:20 PM
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There are two main components to standing that could be the issue.

The first is the fact that taking weight off the saddle means it has to go somewhere. In a hard sprint, itís going to the pedals. A lazy climb, itís going onto your hands. This is *significantly* harder on your body. Some people have the cardio and the muscular endurance to put down respectable power all day, but lack the torque necessary to stand up. Or, they may lack the upper body strength to support a big chunk of their body weight on their hands.

The second is the handling aspect. Putting more weight on the bars changes how your bike handles. It can also be very off-putting to people who are afraid of flying OTB. Then, of course, you have the rocking aspect. Unless you want to get a ridiculous isometric arm and back workout (most casual cyclists do not have the strength to do this), the bike needs to rock at least a little. Enough to counteract the pedal torque you are putting down.

Besides good instruction, some solid calisthenic or even weightlifting exercises can make a world of difference when it comes to command of the bike.
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Old 01-19-20, 09:23 PM
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Your friend with the bike flopping around. How does he feel about standing?

Perhaps that is simply the way he rides. One may, or may not keep the bike on centerline, and it may not matter a lot.
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Old 01-19-20, 10:03 PM
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Could it be something subtle about the geometry of the bike?
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Old 01-19-20, 10:12 PM
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I know my knees don't like it any more
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Old 01-19-20, 10:30 PM
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I'm not great at standing on the bike - it's a work in progress. I rarely feel the need to stand on a climb and am generally faster grinding it out while seated (though short steep rollers, sprints, and single speed rides are a different story.)

I generally let my riding companions know that I will alert them when I intend to stand, with enough time to back off the wheel a bit, then call out 'standing!' when I intend to get out of the saddle. Some of my fellow riders do the same.
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Old 01-19-20, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
There are two main components to standing that could be the issue.

The first is the fact that taking weight off the saddle means it has to go somewhere. In a hard sprint, it’s going to the pedals. A lazy climb, it’s going onto your hands. This is *significantly* harder on your body. Some people have the cardio and the muscular endurance to put down respectable power all day, but lack the torque necessary to stand up. Or, they may lack the upper body strength to support a big chunk of their body weight on their hands.

The second is the handling aspect. Putting more weight on the bars changes how your bike handles. It can also be very off-putting to people who are afraid of flying OTB. Then, of course, you have the rocking aspect. Unless you want to get a ridiculous isometric arm and back workout (most casual cyclists do not have the strength to do this), the bike needs to rock at least a little. Enough to counteract the pedal torque you are putting down.

Besides good instruction, some solid calisthenic or even weightlifting exercises can make a world of difference when it comes to command of the bike.
I frequently stand (not including the MTB which is a lot more), climbing and just for a break at times, even loaded up with bags and rack. I don't know about weight being transferred to the hands. I don't feel that or at least don't notice it. The weight is transferred from your butt to your leg/foot to the pedal and as you pedal it moves over to the other leg/foot. Even on a slower pace and low cadence just for a break from sitting I don't feel it on my hands. Rocking most definitely feel, you have to or it will not work. I'd assume the rocking is the hangup of what is tripping people up and that is not in their muscle memory or maybe fighting it or just plain not comfortable with that concept. Maybe try just coasting and standing first, then add leaning to a side transferring weight around to different sides by tilting the bike and eventually pedal doing that? Or just don't stand if you don't want to, nothing wrong with that either.

Last edited by u235; 01-19-20 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 01-19-20, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
I'd assume the rocking is the hangup of what is tripping people up and that is not in their muscle memory or maybe fighting it or just plain not comfortable with that concept. Maybe try just coasting and standing first, then add leaning to a side transferring weight around to different sides by tilting the bike and eventually pedal doing that? Or just don't stand if you don't want to, nothing wrong with that either.
I actually think that this is the issue wit my wife. I've shown her how I stand, counter balance with each stroke and chest straight up as if jogging. I do rock some to get an even standing cadence.

But she says she can't do the rocking thing and if she stands straight up without rocking, it is very awkward to her. I think she is also uneasy with her hands moving along with the bars while rocking.

But no way does she lack the power in the legs.
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Old 01-20-20, 12:51 AM
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My wife doesn't like to pedal while standing. I have not pressed the issue. I generally won't pedal while standing for more than a mile or two at a time. Anything approaching 10 minutes, I just feel like sitting down.
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Old 01-20-20, 05:09 AM
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I could not very well until I got good support pedals with good platforms . With large or better platforms I can stand up much longer.

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Old 01-20-20, 05:11 AM
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Old 01-20-20, 05:11 AM
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No.
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Old 01-20-20, 05:13 AM
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Old 01-20-20, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Gconan View Post

I always thought the idea that foot position should be the same whether standing or sitting makes no sense.
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Old 01-20-20, 06:51 AM
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Yes. There is a big problem when there is violence (especially when going uphill)
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