Crikey - Losing my bottle!!!

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.

Re: Crikey - Losing my bottle!!!

Postby karlt » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:11 am

mjr wrote:
Alan D wrote:Don't lose your bottle Chris! Although it's really annoying when this happens. I have a small mirror mounted on my helmet and regularly check behind. As Si suggests, when a car is approaching, I give a good look over the right shoulder and try to look at the driver, mostly they take the hint and give a wide gap. Can anyone suggest how I can do this and maintain a straight line though? :shock:

Can I open with the obvious? Don't turn the handlebars as you look over the shoulder?


Easier said than done; I struggle with this one. Mind, I also can't cycle no hands, wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or do anything other than actually ride the thing. My essential strategy is "ride straight and fast enough that it stays upright".
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Re: Crikey - Losing my bottle!!!

Postby mjr » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:48 am

karlt wrote:
mjr wrote:Can I open with the obvious? Don't turn the handlebars as you look over the shoulder?


Easier said than done; I struggle with this one. Mind, I also can't cycle no hands, wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or do anything other than actually ride the thing. My essential strategy is "ride straight and fast enough that it stays upright".

I can't cycle no hands, wheelie or bunny hop properly either. I can only track stand for short periods of time. But I can turn my head without moving my arms much. I never realised it was difficult for some.

Could it be to do with arm position? My bars are 420mm wide which I think is a bit narrower (maybe 6cm) than a rough corner-to-corner measure of my shoulders. My arms go roughly straight forward and have no/little weight on them most of the time. I think I've noticed that people riding moderately (not upright but not a leant-over racer) with their hands at the outer ends of 600mm flat bars seem more prone to weave as they pedal, but maybe I'm linking unrelated things.
MJR, mostly pedalling a Revolution Streetfinder with 28mm DC front, 37mm M+ rear. Webmaster for hire, part of software.coop, so keen on practical sustainable transport. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Crikey - Losing my bottle!!!

Postby Vorpal » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:51 pm

Si wrote:
Can anyone suggest how I can do this and maintain a straight line though?


Bend the elbows before looking, and swivel the body rather than just the head (probably bending the left elbow more)
Then experiment regarding how far to the side you move your weight.....that is, if you stick your head out to the right to look behind then your centre of gravity will move to the right and the bike will follow it to the right. So before you look shift your centre of gravity to the left a little, thus as you turn your CoG will stay over the middle of the bike.
I should point out that all of this is easier to do than to describe!


A couple of times, when I have kids who had trouble with this, I told them to take their right hand off the handle bars, and put it behnd their backs (without looking around), and to practice riding that way a with their body weight shifted and only one hand on the handle bars. The weight compensation is approximately the same. Once they felt comfortable doing that, I'd tell them to do the same thing, then just turn their heads to look back from the same position. That usually worked. IIRC I read it in Cyclecraft, or perhaps other cycle training material.

The other thing you can try (this seems to work better for a minority of people) is to look down at your elbow, then just swivel your head, so that you are looking around your shoulder, rather than over it. It may be a little harder to get a good look this way, but it also requires much less body movement.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
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Re: Crikey - Losing my bottle!!!

Postby Flinders » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:18 am

I gradually learned to cycle no hands when I was on empty, dry, straight country roads.
I only stated riding a bike in my 20s, but Mr Flinders rode as a kid and can mount while the bike is moving, the lot, so I felt I should make the effort to at least ride no hands to improve my balance. I found it to be more about confidence than balance, when it came to it. I did it bit by bit, and can now do quite a decent distance, it's nice to do it to rest the back, now and again. I thought at one point I was doing great with it, until one day when I was doing it, the other way came a bloke on a unicyle, perfectly balanced and going a good pace. Then I felt like a clumsy oaf again.

As for looking behind, when you ride a horse you learn that even turning your head slightly shifts your balance enough for the horse to feel it - you can steer a horse at low speeds just with that, with your hands folded behind your back and no reins. They make you sit on your hands in the saddle and turn so you can feel it - it's a bigger shift of weight than you'd think. It's not surprising it puts a bike out of balance when we have to turn our shoulders as well. I know some people can duck and look under their arm when cycling, but I've tried and I'm not the right shape- too small and chunky. At present, I do use a mirror, but as someone before said, I only use it to tell me there is something there, not that there is nothing there- to be sure, I turn to look before doing anything, just as I do when I drive- as even driving mirrors aren't perfect.
Looking round as a cyclist means drivers have seen you looking and become aware you may want to do something, I find some may then 'allow' you to move out, if you signal and look again.
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