Balance and Riding

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Nibert, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Nibert

    Nibert New Member

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    I am fairly new to riding a road bike. I just don’t seem to have the balance that others do when I ride. I am 6’5” about 265 lbs. I watch others and then can reach for a water bottle drink and seem effortless like they are perfectly balanced on the bike. Is this something that just comes with riding? I need to have my bike fitted so this may be whats wrong as well I am just curious. I also need to work on riding w/ no hands but don’t want to wreck my expensive bike so I don’t know what to do for that either.
     
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  2. genedan

    genedan New Member

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    I would recommend getting fit for your bike as it will make it much more comfortable for you.

    Learning on-the-bike skills takes practice. Some people get it naturally while others take longer to learn. The most important thing to do is relax. If you tense up your arms, it'll make your handlebars really twitchy and your bike will go places you don't want it to go. Relax your arms and your bike will ride in a straight line. After a while, you'll realize that it's easier to ride in a straight line while riding no-handed because your arms aren't in the way.

    There aren't really any intermediate steps to learning these skills. It's just like learning how to ride a bike originally - most people pedal too slowly and they fall down, but when they pedal faster than they want to they realize that they've learned how to ride. Same thing goes with riding no handed - you have to lean back and put the weight of your body on the rear wheel, which lends stability to the bike. You just have to go for it.
     
  3. Nibert

    Nibert New Member

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    That is helpful. I just want to make sure i am not missing something. My size probably plays in to it as well, being overweight certainly has me out of balance naturally. I did my first century and one of the guys was stretching while riding and doing some things that would have killed me. I realized that if I could have rode w/ no hands it would have been a nice break for my hands.
     
  4. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    It gets easier over time. As was said above, beginning cyclists tend to ride with more weight on the hands and arms, while experienced cyclists learn to keep the weight supported more on the saddle and pedals. Once you have gotten used to riding with the proper weight distribution then removing hands from the bars becomes a non-issue. That also helps alleviate much of the initial arm/shoulder/neck soreness that cyclists experience.

    Practicing riding with a light touch on the bars can help accelerate the learning curve on balance and steering.
     
  5. Nibert

    Nibert New Member

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    It has to be the fit for me than, I have done what I can but I feel really reliant on the handlebars and put some weight up there. A buddy suggested that the stem may be to long and I am in the process of trying to get a 100. I feel really extended over the bars.
     
  6. Resistorlead

    Resistorlead New Member

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    Remember the old westerns where the Indians would lean over and shoot arrows underneath the horse? When I was a kid that's how it was on the bike. Any position would balance and I could easily see traffic by looking under my arm. I could get in any odd position and still track straight down the road. That just doesn't happen when older and heavier (and probably shorter). Things don't bead as far or as easily. The stem needs to be right for you, but don't forget that different bikes have different geometries. Some are just more stable than others and hands-off riding may not be possible at slow speeds without a lot of practice.
     
  7. Nibert

    Nibert New Member

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    Sounds good, the bike seems to be really good and fairly balanced. It is a 2010 cannondale caad 9 5. I will just practice and see what I can do.
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Definitely check the fit, but ideally your arms should be bent and relaxed with your torso mostly supported by a firm core and solid hips.

    It takes some work to unlock the elbows and relax the shoulders so that the core can take the weight. Try dropping the wrists so they lay along the top of the bars rather than sticking up at right angles to the brake hoods -- this will naturally pull the elbows and shoulders down into a relaxed position.
     
  9. Nibert

    Nibert New Member

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    Ok I can try that, I have a weak core so that may be it. I am working on it now and also hoping to lose the spare tire.
     
  10. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Work on your core strength, then, because a strong core aids cycling greatly and allows you to be more comfortable on the bike and have more control.
     
  11. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    What everyone else said...
    +learn to steer with your hips and butt.

    After that, it's just a matter of time and getting to feel confident on the bike. Pretty much everyone starts off with poor balance, I was the same, but now I can easily do whatever I need to on the bike: take off/put on leg or arm warmers or other clothing, stretching, getting hand-ups from support vehicles, etc. And I am not the most co-ordinated person around, if I can do it, you'll get it also. Just relax, be patient, and it'll come.
     
  12. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH New Member

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    Isn't that normally done the other way around? I mean, if I could just get resized to fit a particular bike, I wouldn't need all this exercise in the first place :p
     
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