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Who can ride with no hands?

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Who can ride with no hands?

Old 01-20-06, 11:45 AM
  #1  
Crash Test
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Who can ride with no hands?

When I was a kid I could ride for blocks with no hands. Now that I'm 43 I can barely balance for a couple of seconds before I grab the handlebars for fear of falling. Is it my age? Is it because I am riding a road bike? Or is it just a lack of coordination? It bugs me that I was better at 10 years old than I am now.

Who can ride with no hands? What's the secret?
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Old 01-20-06, 11:49 AM
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I can do it for short periods of time with no wind. I'm trying to get better so I can eat while riding. I can get my Clif bar out of my pocket, but I have to pull over to open it.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:53 AM
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If i'm on my fix or my mtn. bike i can ride with out hands for a long time. I can actually swing my bag around and pull crap out of it, or read a map if I need to. On my road bike however, I can barely ride without hands. The front end is extremely twitchy and I don't know if it has to do with the geometry, or if there's something fuxored in my headset.

I did see some dude riding his fix down a super steep main blvd near where I live where traffic goes about 45-55mph while taking his rain jacket out of his messenger bag and putting it on....on a brakeless fixie! That's skill. Or stupidity.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:53 AM
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I can ride for miles and miles without hands on my track bike. I attemped this on my road bike last week and when the wind caught my deep profile rims I wrecked. Never again!
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Old 01-20-06, 11:55 AM
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It could be a weight distribution issue. Your weight is probably proportioned differently on a road bike than on your old bike you had at age 10. Additionally, the headtube angle, trail, offset and track on a roadbike most likely contributes to less lax handling than your old bike as well. It just takes a bit of practice to relearn some balancing skills. One thing that helps is keeping your speed up. Another thing is to practice going slower and slower while trying to maintain your balance. Then try doing it with no hands.

Here's a picture I took a while back of me just cruising around with no hands. I'm doing close to 18MPH in this shot.

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Old 01-20-06, 11:58 AM
  #6  
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I'M A CONTROL FREAK!!!!!!

(so no I can't ride no handed, it just freaks me out)
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Old 01-20-06, 11:59 AM
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High(er) speeds / lower cadence, and sit all the way back. Leaning forward will throw off your balance.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:59 AM
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On my road bikes and mnt bike I can ride for a long time no hands. On my old Cannondale 3.0 crit frame, very twitchy and harder to ride no handed. My tri bike is also very difficult to ride no handed but is easy to control with a light touch. My fixie pulls to one side and it also difficult to ride no hands, so I'd say it depends alot on the bike not just your skill level.

that said, practice doing it will help just as riding on rollers gets easier with practice. Balance is a skill like anyother and should be practiced.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:00 PM
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Without getting too complex, it has to do with the tack length of the road bike. All road bike are inherently more twichy because of the head tube angle relative to the position where the hub is. Imagine drawing a straight line directly from the hub down to the ground. Then imagine extending the head tube line down to the ground. The distance between the two lines affect the twichiness of the bike. That's the reason why a road bike is so reponsive but a tt bike is not.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sinfield
If i'm on my fix or my mtn. bike i can ride with out hands for a long time. I can actually swing my bag around and pull crap out of it, or read a map if I need to. On my road bike however, I can barely ride without hands. The front end is extremely twitchy.....
Exactly my case.... My road bike is so twitchy I can ride no hands only at high speeds when the bike is stable.
But on my other bikes, I can ride no-hands as slow as 5mph.....
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Old 01-20-06, 12:00 PM
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maybe your headset needs some work on it. i can ride forever no hands if i want to.

doesn't matter if i'm on my road bike or my city bike*.

* pic of my city bike (not exactly high tech )






Originally Posted by Crash Test
When I was a kid I could ride for blocks with no hands. Now that I'm 43 I can barely balance for a couple of seconds before I grab the handlebars for fear of falling. Is it my age? Is it because I am riding a road bike? Or is it just a lack of coordination? It bugs me that I was better at 10 years old than I am now.

Who can ride with no hands? What's the secret?
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Old 01-20-06, 12:02 PM
  #12  
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I can ride for miles with no hands... I think I can do everything without hands except hairpin turns... and braking obviously. Its really a cool trick to have, sometimes when I'm out of gas I'll ride with no hands and push my knees down onto the pedals.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:03 PM
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Unless you are drinking heavily, I think it is more a matter of courage. When you were young, you never woried about falling off your bike. Now a simple fall on your bike can do some serious harm.
For that reason, you tense up, making it difficult to go straight. When you do veer a little, you quickly reach for the bars, again making a rapid weight shift, which makes you feel it was a good thing you grabbed your bars when you did.
Relax, unless you hit a rock or a big wind just, the chances of falling are slim.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sinfield
If i'm on my fix or my mtn. bike i can ride with out hands for a long time. I can actually swing my bag around and pull crap out of it, or read a map if I need to. On my road bike however, I can barely ride without hands. The front end is extremely twitchy and I don't know if it has to do with the geometry, or if there's something fuxored in my headset.

I did see some dude riding his fix down a super steep main blvd near where I live where traffic goes about 45-55mph while taking his rain jacket out of his messenger bag and putting it on....on a brakeless fixie! That's skill. Or stupidity.

I swing my bag around while trackstanding sometimes, takes some practice, but after spending so much time riding the same bike everyday, it just becomes second nature. Same with riding no handed, bunnyhopping a fixed, and everything else. Time and practice.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:04 PM
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Last week I rode no hands for the last three miles of my ride. Ate my PowerBar and drank water. Cateye said I was doing 18.5mph. Nice flat road, no traffic.

Riding no hands is an essential skill for OCP.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle
Last week I rode no hands for the last three miles of my ride. Ate my PowerBar and drank water. Cateye said I was doing 18.5mph. Nice flat road, no traffic.

Riding no hands is an essential skill for OCP.
Exactly. How else are you going to hold onto your Starbucks coffee and take pictures at the same time. Gotta watch out for the speed bumps in the parking lot though.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:12 PM
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wheels do make a difference. riding with Zipp 404's no handed gets a little sketchy if there's much wind.

if we want to really freak out people around us, we ride our tandem no handed. It's actually not very hard, because of the long wheel base, it just looks scary.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:15 PM
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I find that the secret is to keep my beer consumption under a six-pack before riding with no hands.

Seriously though, sometimes the bike can make a huge difference if it has twitchy handling, deep section rims in the wind, wheels that are not true, a wheel that is not seated well in the dropouts (and is therefore pulling to one side), or a headset that is pitted or incorrectly adjusted.

If none of these seems to be the case, just keep trying (on smooth roads with no traffic) and you will get the hang of it. Relax and try to look ahead instead of staring down at your handlebars.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:16 PM
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I can ride on my mountain and road bike all day long with hands as long. I can do turns and everything as long as they are not tight and well it just requires hands for tight turns. I find it easier to ride no handed on the road bike as the bars aren't as wide. My mountain bike is a XC bike with handlebars as wide as 747 wing.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
if we want to really freak out people around us, we ride our tandem no handed. It's actually not very hard, because of the long wheel base, it just looks scary.
True. .......I'm not sure about freaking people around us.....but it used to scare the crap out of my wife (stoker)....
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Old 01-20-06, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice. What I have learned so far......My short wheelbase bike is very twitchy, which is part of the problem. The other problem seems to be that I am not drinking before my ride - being sober means I'm not relaxed enough resulting in grabbing the bar too quickly.

I will first try the beer solution, since that is less expensive than a new bike.

Thanks to all of you who suggested I am a coward. Now that's motivating!
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Old 01-20-06, 12:39 PM
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No hands, no problem. Its probably not age (im 42), but a bike issue. My IF's is a little twitchier at low speed than any other bike I have becuase of the straight bladed steel forks, but at speed its no problem. Eat, drink, sit up, put on, take off clothes etc.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:43 PM
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I used to have the same difficulty before I lowered the bars by reversing the stem on my Roubaix. Now I can ride for miles without using my hands. The change gave the bike some degree of positive stability as opposed to neutral or negative.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:01 PM
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When I was at UC Davis I used to regularly ride to campus and home with no hands (c'mon stoplight, turn green, TURN GREEN!) on a MTB.
I can do it for short periods on my road bike, but it definitely feels less stable. Recently I was tiaking off a wind breaker while riding with no hands and hit a small pothole.
I managed to grab the bars in time and didn't go down, though my boys became painfully acquainted with the top tube
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Old 01-20-06, 01:19 PM
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On my previous two road bikes when I tried to ride without hands the bike wasn't twitchy but it definatly leaned to one side, so I had to lean to the other side which still made it very hard to balance and I couldn't hold it for very long at all. On my new raod bike I can just sit up and there no problem at all with riding without hands. I use to always figure that it was just me, now I believe that my other bikes must not have been balanced or true or something.
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