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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-23-06, 10:50 PM   #1
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The Secret to No Hands

Whats the secret to riding upright with no hands on the bar?
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Old 07-23-06, 10:57 PM   #2
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Steer with your penis.

Seriously... some bikes are just tricky due to the frame/fork geometry. I can no-hand my current road bike but my old Specialized Allez Epic is impossible.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:04 PM   #3
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Meh... it's just balance and experience with your bike. When you've spent enough time on the bike, it becomes an extension of your body... Some geometries are harder to do this with than others, but I've never ridden a bike that I couldn't ride with no hands.. Including turning corners.

I don't know that there's really a 'secret' to it... Anyone that rides knows that you turn more by leaning into the turn than by actually turning the bars... As long as the bike will go straight when it's perfectly upright, you can ride it with no hands.

On some bikes it's easier to do at certain speeds, and I've noticed that it's easier to do at lower speeds if you're pedaling and not freewheeling, so I shift down if I wanna ride with no hands at fairly low speeds.

I've only been riding my current bike a couple months, so I can ride with no hands for a short amount of time, but I haven't gotten it down to where I can go for extended distances without my hands on the bars... part of this may be due to the fact that I'm frequently carrying loads on my rack and panniers, and that obviously changes the handling of the bike, so maybe I just haven't ridden enough with no loads to get used to the bike.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:22 PM   #4
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spending a lot of time on the bike.

Try putting just one finger on the handlebars to steady them. Ride that way for a while. Soon you'll find that the finger is unnecessary.

But truly, just spend a lot of time on your bike. When I started riding, I practiced no hands for like 20 minutes every day. 2 weeks later, I got bored with it and just rode. About a month ago, I realized that every 10 miles or so, I was sitting up, taking both my hands off the bar, and adjusting, or sweat wiping, or just stretching, without even thinking about it.

Although, I haven't mastered the art of eating a sandwich while riding. Working on it.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:25 PM   #5
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Relax, and let the bike find it's own balance, donot make too quick of movements at first. Steer the bike gently with your inner thighs pushing against the saddle.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:47 PM   #6
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Steer the bike gently with your inner thighs pushing against the saddle.
Thats what she said.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:58 PM   #7
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the easiet way I've noticed is to push a slightly harder gear then you normally do. The constant resistance keeps your spin from jerking and throwing your balance off
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Old 07-24-06, 12:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mowhitesnake
Thats what she said.
I was told the opposite
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Old 07-24-06, 12:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F1_Fan
Steer with your penis.
pretty much yeah
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Old 07-24-06, 12:24 AM   #10
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I dunno, the last time I let my penis lead, I ended up in a sticky situation.
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Old 07-24-06, 12:25 AM   #11
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I was told the opposite
yeah i guess that makes more sense unless your gay
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Old 07-24-06, 12:27 AM   #12
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I shift to a harder gear so that I can use each push of the pedals to aid in keeping the bike upright, if I spin too fast going no-hands the bike seems to fly all over the place. I started practicing back in 6th grade (had an embarassing showing-off spill on the trail once!) and by now I've got it down like that.

It's incredibly useful. While riding I can snack on a Clif Bar and chat on the cell at the same time, take something out of my seat pack, etc. etc.

Recently though I feel like something in my bike is a little off; could it be the bearings? I've lost that dead-on centered balance and when I go no hands now the bike wants to turn left (I have to lean right a little to make up for it). It's annoying, tell me what's going on.
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Old 07-24-06, 12:33 AM   #13
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The trick is to keep pedaling. Most people practice by stopping their pedaling and coasting. This is the worse way to do because it forces you to use your body lean to make adjustments.

When you keep pedaling, you can use your pedal motion to steady the bike.
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Old 07-24-06, 12:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the beef
I shift to a harder gear so that I can use each push of the pedals to aid in keeping the bike upright, if I spin too fast going no-hands the bike seems to fly all over the place. I started practicing back in 6th grade (had an embarassing showing-off spill on the trail once!) and by now I've got it down like that.

It's incredibly useful. While riding I can snack on a Clif Bar and chat on the cell at the same time, take something out of my seat pack, etc. etc.

Recently though I feel like something in my bike is a little off; could it be the bearings? I've lost that dead-on centered balance and when I go no hands now the bike wants to turn left (I have to lean right a little to make up for it). It's annoying, tell me what's going on.
could just be an over powering side you are pedaling on. If I were to assume you can handle even pedaling, there might be a rare chance the your brake pad is rubbing or a headset bearing thats been over tighted and locking up or maybe even a BB thats a little tight on one side.

Oh and sometimes you just loose the flow. You must believe in the force Luke
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Old 07-24-06, 12:48 AM   #15
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Conventional geometry seems more stable than compact at any speed when no handing. With compact it seems to require less attention to maintain with a good turn of speed.
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Old 07-24-06, 12:57 AM   #16
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for me, I make sure the seat is level and that Im going no slower than 15mph
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Old 07-24-06, 01:39 AM   #17
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i think it is confidence and balance. if you are trying to learn no hands then remember pedaling, bcoz coasting is more difficult. It is handy once you get the hang of it. i came close a few times but never fully went over when learning. I also think that us young fellas(16) find it easier to learn.
Good luck
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Old 07-24-06, 02:09 AM   #18
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I'm 17 and let me tell you, it's not easy. haha.
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Old 07-24-06, 03:07 AM   #19
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1. first learn by coasting no-hands first
2. then practice steering while coasting
3. then pedal while riding no-hands, best if you can pedal smoothly, if you can't pedal without rocking, you won't be able to ride no-hands easily
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Old 07-24-06, 06:49 AM   #20
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Be sure that the frame and fork are straight, headset properly adjusted. If the headset binds it's very difficult to ride no hands.
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Old 07-24-06, 07:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the beef
I shift to a harder gear so that I can use each push of the pedals to aid in keeping the bike upright, if I spin too fast going no-hands the bike seems to fly all over the place. I started practicing back in 6th grade (had an embarassing showing-off spill on the trail once!) and by now I've got it down like that.

It's incredibly useful. While riding I can snack on a Clif Bar and chat on the cell at the same time, take something out of my seat pack, etc. etc.

Recently though I feel like something in my bike is a little off; could it be the bearings? I've lost that dead-on centered balance and when I go no hands now the bike wants to turn left (I have to lean right a little to make up for it). It's annoying, tell me what's going on.
Are your wheels true?

First, I agree that it's easier to ride no hands on a traditional frame than a compact frame. This is only based on 2 bikes though, so take it for what it's worth. Second, shifting to a harder gear is good advice and it makes things a lot easier.

The only new thing I would add is don't try to slowly sit up like you're afraid to sit up all the way. Just sit up right away because it's a lot easier to keep your balance in the upright position than it is in an in between position.
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Old 07-24-06, 07:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanknight
I dunno, the last time I let my penis lead, I ended up in a sticky situation.
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Old 07-24-06, 07:58 AM   #23
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A bike needs to be realy well aligned for easy no hands riding. Only a minor mis-alignment will have the bike pulling to one side. This is another one of those retro grouch moments but I'm not a fan of vertical dropouts. You have no way at all to make aligment adjustments with vertical dropouts and they only need to be out by a fraction of a mm and you cant get good alignment. I could never get my Giant to track perfectly straight when riding no hands but my new custom steel bike came with 45º dropouts which alow me to align the wheels and its fairly easy to ride no hands despite its short trail.

The easiest way to get a feel for riding no hands is to get up to say 30 odd kmh (20 mph), stop pedaling and just sit up. If you don't find it easy to track straight or maintain your balance then there is something wrong with the alignment of your bike.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 07-24-06, 08:11 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG
A bike needs to be realy well aligned for easy no hands riding. Only a minor mis-alignment will have the bike pulling to one side. This is another one of those retro grouch moments but I'm not a fan of vertical dropouts. You have no way at all to make aligment adjustments with vertical dropouts and they only need to be out by a fraction of a mm and you cant get good alignment. I could never get my Giant to track perfectly straight when riding no hands but my new custom steel bike came with 45º dropouts which alow me to align the wheels and its fairly easy to ride no hands despite its short trail.

The easiest way to get a feel for riding no hands is to get up to say 30 odd kmh (20 mph), stop pedaling and just sit up. If you don't find it easy to track straight or maintain your balance then there is something wrong with the alignment of your bike.

Regards, Anthony

Well said. That's problem number one. Some of my bikes go straight, some never will.

Problem number two is to not move your body around unintentionally and practice.
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Old 07-24-06, 08:21 AM   #25
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Let go of the bars and commit. Sit up straight and keep pedaling. Bending halfway over with a finger on the bar didn't work for me.

Also, don't look at that one member's signature of the guy crashing while raising his hands in victory. That picture will keep going thru your head as you try to learn.
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