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Riding No hands... I ramble a bit.

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Riding No hands... I ramble a bit.

Old 06-26-19, 10:50 AM
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Riding No hands... I ramble a bit.

Reading the thread about bike shimmy, I was surprised by something... I got the sense that riding no hands is , maybe not rare, but not that common either.*


Is this true for you?


Do you ride no hands frequently? I do it for specific purposes: To check a bike before I buy it. I do it for a momentary change of position to stop the pinching from my sciatica, (I can't efffing believe I have sciatica)


I do it to practice my "line" (translation at sixty - because I enjoy it.)



On my first coaster bike, after learning to ride, turn, and stop without falling over, it was the first "trick" I learned. Wheelies, like some guys did on Banana bikes were beyond me, (not having Sagan's leg strength or balance at age 7), but I could ride no hands practically anywhere.

A part of my bike riding experience I still remember, the 1st time I took one hand off, incautiously ( what could go wrong, I still had one hand on, right?)​​​​​​ my wheel turned abruptly, and I crashed. Almost as "funny" as when my dad took his hand off the saddle and stopped trotting behind me for the first time. When he shouted encouragement, I turned my head to see where he was, and promptly crashed... My father explained it was easier to ride no-hands than with one, and showed me.


Later, it felt good sometimes during training, to sit up put my hands on my thighs, and feel the muscles working, and always, always be working on that line.


Are you still pedaling no hands?

*Corollary: I don't ride bikes I can't ride comfortably no-hands. It's what I expect my bike to do.


Next thread: What will you put up with regarding functionality on your bike(s)? Riding no hands easily, a must. Shifting more than 2x5 or 2x6 on the other hand... Gears, I don't need (all those) stinking gears. If it shifts, and is quiet, I'm not so worried about 2 clicks in the middle, or of going down 2 cogs on a click someplace. I'll get to it eventually.... if I remember.
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Old 06-26-19, 10:57 AM
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i ride no hands when I need to straighten my back up and stretch, or when I need to give my arms/hands a break, or when I just need to rest in general after a hard sprint or whatever.

also when grabbing a drink from the bottle.
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Old 06-26-19, 11:11 AM
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^This, except for the water bottle.
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Old 06-26-19, 11:18 AM
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I cant do it
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Old 06-26-19, 11:20 AM
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I used to ride with no hands from time to time back about 35 lbs ago...It would be a nice break from leaning over in a tucked down racing position. I'd continue to pedal to keep up a modicum of pace.

Now I'm older, when I start getting tired I'll pull over. My racing days are over.

I don't expect my bike to ride with no hands anymore, so I don't care.
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Old 06-26-19, 11:52 AM
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only occasionally and not as often as I did even 5 years ago, used to do it after a rebuild and if on long rides to stretch, I too could ride no handed but never figured out the wheelie as a kid. Maybe my desire to avoid crashing has negated my want to ride no hands...hmmm
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Old 06-26-19, 11:54 AM
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I will still ride no hands on occasion, but just for a moment to stretch or something. I don't do it even a fraction as much as I did as a teenager. I don't bunnyhop curbs anymore either, usually.

It is less common than it used to be to see people riding no hands. I get the feeling a lot of people can't do it. When I was a kid, it was just a trick that everyone kind of was expected to learn (along with popping wheelies...). With the enthusiasts, whether club rider or racer, it was kind of normal to be able to ride no hands more or less indefinitely.

IMO it is a useful skill to have that will improve your balance and control of the bike. Can take a bit of practice.
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Old 06-26-19, 11:57 AM
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Sure. To open a food wrapper or adjust a fiddly zipper or remove and pocket a vest. Also, to remove and stash arm warmers. I don't do it to stretch or straighten up. I'm generally quite comfortable on a bike as it is.
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Old 06-26-19, 12:22 PM
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and don't forget sometimes you need to use both hands to text while riding!

i kid i kid
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Old 06-26-19, 12:33 PM
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I don't ride hands-free often at all, and almost never for more than a few seconds.
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Old 06-26-19, 01:44 PM
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i ride no handed pretty often, but i never really thought about it. it's just something i do sometimes.

stretching, fishing my phone out of my pocket to send a quick text or take a quick picture (note: i don't do this kind of thing in traffic or in busy areas. i do have a little common sense!), to take a swig off my water bottle (this can be done one handed obviously, but i often sit up right and enjoy the drink), to grab some fruities from my frame bag, or if it's cold out and i gotta put my hands in my armpits or pockets to warm up for a little bit, or removing a layer if it's just too dang hot out.

weird that i never really thought about it, it's just something i've always done.

as for what i will or will not put up with functionality wise on my bike, i guess i don't really know. bike are such simple machines, anything that isn't just right will annoy me to the point of fixing it, so i guess i won't put up with much, haha.
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Old 06-26-19, 02:13 PM
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I do it on a test ride only, and only very briefly.
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Old 06-26-19, 02:26 PM
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I never ride no hands, just can't, can't whistle either. Only two of my shortcomings.😥
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Old 06-26-19, 02:30 PM
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I ride no hands around here for great stretches of road. Through the neighborhoods and even when I am rolling down the road with traffic. I spend so much time on my bikes I am very sure of them.
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Old 06-26-19, 02:59 PM
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Rode "no-hands" when younger. Then got a neurological disease, lost much of my balance and couldn't do it anymore. But still rode. A few yeas later I was riding "no-hands" again. It's not that I like it so much, but just because I can.
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Old 06-26-19, 03:42 PM
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Never could.
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Old 06-26-19, 04:41 PM
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I do pretty regularly. Feels good to stretch out. Sometimes I pretend like I’m flying!
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Old 06-26-19, 04:51 PM
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My nose is so big I can't shoot "snot rockets". Kinda like trying to put a .22 through a 12 gauge. So, I ride no hands to use a handkerchief and clear the "air filters. I also ride no hands to remove my gloves when chilly days warm up. I once rode over 3 miles no hands (w/turns and a few small hills) just because the guy riding with me said I couldn't do it. But, 99.99999% of the time I keep my hands on the bars. I've had enough spills, I don't need any stupid ones.
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Old 06-26-19, 04:55 PM
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not my c&v bike, but sometimes it's more fun getting pictures without stopping!


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Old 06-26-19, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Oakman View Post
Rode "no-hands" when younger. Then got a neurological disease, lost much of my balance and couldn't do it anymore. But still rode. A few yeas later I was riding "no-hands" again. It's not that I like it so much, but just because I can.
You and me +1

i do it because I can!!
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Old 06-26-19, 10:15 PM
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At the end of every ride, with my arms up in a victory salute. Why? Because I made it to the end of another ride, and on the bike.
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Old 06-26-19, 10:32 PM
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some bikes are easier than others to ride no hands - heaver slacker angled ones. A buddy of mine in grad school and I did like 3 or 4 miles both no hands the whole way on a bike trail both on clunkers from the 80s.

Also easier than the road where you have more hazards and traffic and stop lights etc.

but I still do it. mostly just for fun.. like if you are listening to music one can drum along as you ride or pump your arms like you are running. just breaks up the ride a bit.

I am sure everyone can do it if they wanted to- bikes want to go straight, so its just a matter of not giving much input- and if it starts to wobble don't try to force it back, that just makes it worse! just relax into the wobble and it will straighten by itself. assuming its a straight bike of course!
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Old 06-26-19, 11:16 PM
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Nope. That's how Froome got Froomed a couple of weeks ago. Took his hands of the bars to mess with a jacket or blow a snot rocket and BOOM! His entire carbon fiber skeleton a$$ploded.

As the Right Rev Billy G said in "Mexican Blackbird," keep your hands on the wheel, son.
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Old 06-26-19, 11:39 PM
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I'll do it from time to time when the road is straight and empty and I care to. Only at, say, 13-18-ish MPH when there's enough speed to not be wobbling all over the place, but not too much speed (as in, big chain ring speed) as that stuff well over 20 mph will induce a shimmy that only gets worse quickly. I liken it to being able to spin a basketball on one's finger. It matters not to actually being able to play the game (or ride the bike in a race etc)--it's just more party trick than anything. Though to be fair, much can be done mid-roll with no hands on a bike, so it's actually pretty handy to know. All my Prestige-tubed bikes are high speed no-hands speed wobblers--it's the price I "pay" for 63cm+ frames with wonderfully thin and lively tubing that are dynamite everywhere else. My '74 Paramount is dead solid doing that, as is my fancy pants modern carbon bike (which just really got shown how to be a springy and lively bike upon out-of-saddle climbing and accelerating via my steel, and the carbon bike is a truly excellent bike!).

Froome did the one handed farmer's blow thing. He still had a hand on the bars, which counts, but one definitely needs two for a heavy and unpredictable cross wind. He's probably pulled that move a million times. Heck, we've all likely done a fast descent where, upon a long straight, we put things in 'cruise' just for a second to shake out an arm, scratch something, blow a nose, etc. I'm glad he's alive and the prognosis looks "will mend to 100%" because there's enough mental trauma and associated damage to consume one's self. Usually we'll get a tweet of an injured person that we follow, pretty soon after they've had the incident and their in the hospital. The fact that it was Froome's wife sending the first tweet out to the world, several hours after the fact, meant it was serious. Not good.
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Old 06-27-19, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Froome did the one handed farmer's blow thing. He still had a hand on the bars, which counts, but one definitely needs two for a heavy and unpredictable cross wind. He's probably pulled that move a million times. Heck, we've all likely done a fast descent where, upon a long straight, we put things in 'cruise' just for a second to shake out an arm, scratch something, blow a nose, etc. I'm glad he's alive and the prognosis looks "will mend to 100%" because there's enough mental trauma and associated damage to consume one's self. Usually we'll get a tweet of an injured person that we follow, pretty soon after they've had the incident and their in the hospital. The fact that it was Froome's wife sending the first tweet out to the world, several hours after the fact, meant it was serious. Not good.
Witness accounts differ and apparently there's no video, or they haven't released video (assuming the support car was running dash cam video). Some said Froome took both hands off the bar.

What we can see is in a video taken minutes before the crash, which was released a week or so ago. Froome definitely took both hands off the bar and was struggling to put on a skin-tight jacket. His wheel wobbled a bit. A teammate could be heard saying "Don't take risks, Chris," or something like that. The end of the short video clip shows Froome riding away, still struggling with the jacket, both hands off the bar.

Anyway, I used to ride no-hands with my 1976 Motobecane Mirage, which had that lovely swoopy French fork and tracked like it was on rails. But for some reason I can't seem to do that with any of my bikes now. Dunno if it's due to the magical "trail" thing, or my lousy balance. I often have pretty bad congestion in my sinuses and eustachian tubes, so my balance is often sketchy. I won't even do fast group rides on those days. Today my balance was so wonky I felt dizzy just walking to check the mail. Usually Sudafed clears it up, but it also messes with my HR and BP, so I don't take it too often.

So, no more no-hands riding for me.
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