can you ride no hands?

inaperfectworld
inaperfectworld Posts: 219
edited September 2007 in Road beginners
i never learned to do this when young, but it would be nice to be able to do it to straighten up the back from time to time to avoid backache. i gingerly tried today but as soon as i take off the second hand it is clear the bike is going out of control. is it just pracyice or maybe i'm too old now, with a deteriorating sense of balance. i remember when i was very young the local village teddy boy being really cool riding around and combing his hair.
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Comments

  • ash68
    ash68 Posts: 320
    Rember the saying " Look no hands,Look no teeth" Think it's a question of balance and confidence. Having said that I don''t do it either,always afraid of hitting a bump or pothole at an inapropriate moment . :shock:
  • Yeah it can be a bit scary riding with no hands... i can just about do it, with a bit of weaving over the road as i try to balance. I find it a lot harder on a road bike than a mtb, presumably because the thinner tyres are more easily defelected, throwing you off balance. It's all just a matter of practice, but i certainly wouldn't be doing it on a busy road!
  • nolf
    nolf Posts: 1,287
    I think it's one of those things that once you can do you find invaluable but never notice until you get in the habit of doing it.

    Things like taking food out of jersey pockets is much easier 2 handed, can let you relax for a short section before going at it again.

    When drinking I find it easier to drink in an upright position.

    The main 1 I use though is taking on off Jerseys/Gloves/Arm warmers/Gilets. By being able to go handed I can take these off and on on the move which, espoecially during club runs, I find very useful.
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    Never been able to do it, and I've been riding road bikes for 21 years. :x

    Not happy - think it's down to balance and mine's not great, despite all the years - yeh I can ride a bike fine, handle it etc, but no track stands or none handed.

    Saw some poseur doing non handed on a club run whilst on his phone and going round a bend - jealous..........me............ - the on the phone thing ain't too good though !
  • yes i can do it but only with a bike with a good smooth headset. If you get on a bit of an older bike with a lumpy headset i find it impossible.
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I used to be very able at it. I could even strip off one tricot and put on a new one (so both times pulling the tricot over the head, and being momentarily blind) without problem.

    After a bad accident caused by a car driver coming suddenly out of a side road (not my fault nor anything to do with riding without hands), I became more cautious about everything, riding without hands included. Three times out of 4, if it starts to rain, I now stop to put on a jacket, which I never did before.

    I still do ride without hands to eat in a race (peel a banana, open a gel or powerbar) or for occasional relaxation on a long ride. But I make a point of never doing it to ‘pose’ or in front of young children (under 10-12 years).
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,383
    just do it....... you ll get better and better at it each time.....

    its like wheelies and trackstands - takes practice but v worth it, will massivly improve your general bike handling skills (not that i can do em either)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ash68
    ash68 Posts: 320
    just do it....... you ll get better and better at it each time.....


    Do you mean each time we fall off or each time we knock some teeth out :lol:
  • I think a lot of the problems you're experiencing stem from the fact you're worried about doing it - so you'll a) be going quite slow as you're worried about coming off and b) you're tensing up because you're worried about coming off. You need to be relaxed to allow the bike to find it's natural course - if you tense up you end up guiding it, and if you're iexperienced you can guide it where you don't want to go!
    Has the head wind picked up or the tail wind dropped off???
  • I could never ride no-handed on a road bike until I got a set of rollers. The fear of falling off those quickly improves your balance and bike handling skills after about 4 hours I could take my jersey off if it got too hot without riding off the rollers.

    I get quite a sore back and its quite good to be able to sit up and take in the scenery on a ride - you do need to keep an eye out for potholes though.
  • XTCRider
    XTCRider Posts: 113
    Its dead easy on a mtb, even pedalling whilst doing it now as well as freewheelling. havent done it on road bike yet though, dont know if it is different geometry or whether just narrow tyres put me off,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtcrider/sets/72057594126938720/

    I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like
  • ajohn9
    ajohn9 Posts: 260
    i can do it pretty good
    i find it alot easier on my road bike than on an mtb!!
  • ut_och_cykla
    ut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Local twerp was showing even younger twerps how to take off jersey - no hands, jersey in front wheel, broken arm, hostpital. DNS at local TT. I would lie to ride no hands sometimes but can't andjhave subsequently learnt to peel bananas etc using teeth & one hand. :cry:
  • McBain_v1
    McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    No - it's not a skill I want to practice on my best bike, and having recently had a tumble that resulted in a fair amount of my fair skin being smeared over the tarmac for several yards, it's not a skill I am anxious to learn either :oops:

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • Nope I can't, I am still struggling to take my drink bottle out with one hand so a two handed manoeuvre is definately off the cards. Plus working in the ambulance service I have seen a few scrapes I would not like to repeat myself. Would I like to???? Maybe one day/
  • It's easy! :D
    It's definitely easier on a MTB, probably due to already being more upright and perhaps a more relaxed head angle?

    With clipless pedals I can bunny hop no-handed. :roll:
    :lol:
    Wheelies ARE cool.

    Zaskar X
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Avoid it when it's windy...trust me.

    It doesn't make any difference. It certainly doesn't improve performance but may well be a sign of confident riding - nothing more.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Steve_F
    Steve_F Posts: 682
    With clipless pedals I can bunny hop no-handed. :roll:
    :lol:

    That's pretty fekkin cool!

    Used to be able to ride my mtb no handies as far as I wanted to, tried it on the racer today and was a bit unsteady, decided to wait until I'm off a main road (or on the mtb at the weekend) to try it again!

    Balance of the racer was a bit off due to the extra bars in the middle of the handlebars (aerobars?) so using that as an excuse!
    Current steed is a '07 Carrera Banshee X
    + cheap road/commuting bike
  • Ah, coming from the flatland BMX world this is very interesting - I see it from completely the other side, where the bike handing skills are taken for granted, and it's the multi-hour endurance that takes getting used to.
  • I did start off riding road bikes, but could always ride no-handed then. My balance and control is almost certainly better than the average road-only cyclist due to the off-roading I've done since though. I guess learning to do it from a very early age helped as well, before "the fear" set in.
    Most people try and ride no-handed too slowly as they are lacking confidence but the faster you go the easier it is.
    Wheelies ARE cool.

    Zaskar X
  • danseur
    danseur Posts: 70
    There used to be a clip on YouTube of a cycle courier peeling and eating a banana whilst doing a trackstand no-handed.
  • Old Tuggo
    Old Tuggo Posts: 482
    Riding no handed used to be a test for the handmade steel frames - if it swerved to one side it was an indication that the frame was out of track but I think that is unlikely with the modern manufacturing methods.
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    Just don't do it in the pooring rain with cross-winds on a busy road and with loaded panniers...

    ...my wrist still hurts.

    Ed.
  • Garry71
    Garry71 Posts: 96
    When I was a young teenager I used to ride my single speed F frame with 16" wheels no-handed down a local hill, including following the bends in the road. 30 years on, and I rarely even take one hand off now. I've just bought a twitchy road bike, so my small remaining shred of confidence could be about to go completely :!:

    Garry
    Cycling is too nice to waste it on getting to work.
  • nolf
    nolf Posts: 1,287
    With a bit of practice you can go no handed over bumpy bits of road and round corners (even relatively tight ones) and while looking behind you.

    Wind I find is the real difficulty, wouldn't fancy going no handed on a windy day, especially a cross wind- it's too unpredictable.

    I think it's just another skill that isn't necessary- but useful, like bunny hops.

    Just get up to about 18/20mph on a well surfaced flat bit of road on a widnless day.
    Don't take 1 hand off at a time!
    Take them both off but only a little bit so you can grab the bars again.
    Then just lean back a bit more each time until you are upright.
    Then have a go at pedalling while handless.
    Then try doing other stuff.

    You'll be surprised how easy all the other things are once you get past intial fears.
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • rrsodl
    rrsodl Posts: 486
    I can do it in my road bike but I am yet to try it on my MTB.

    I was getting very good at it until I came off because of it.... I can still do it but I am scare to come off again.

    I do it at about 12 mph - peddaling and stearing the bike with my legs - fear to come off is the hardest part.

    Why do I do it? Well I guess I just want to be able to do it well, after that I don't know if I need to do it.


    Rick
  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    I havent tried no handed riding since returning to cycling. The odd thing is as a kid I was proud of my BMX skills, and had no problems with no handed frame stands etc, would chuck my bmx over all sorts of jumps and bumps, go over any terrain. These days I dont like loose grit on the road... no big accidents to scare me that I remember off, just not something ive done in so many years.
  • edeverett wrote:
    Just don't do it in the pooring rain with cross-winds on a busy road and with loaded panniers...

    Ed.

    *that* just takes a bit of practice :D
  • craigwend
    craigwend Posts: 321
    Didn't think I could do it any more, tried it for no reason tonight and lasted for a long time.

    Possibly two reasons? one I wasn't thinking about it - so not stressed, just natural.
    two, recent service of bike, maybe the headset being adjusted helped. (still can't turn corners and go round roundabouts as when i was a teenager...)
    There's always www.cyclechat.co.uk
  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    craigwend wrote:
    Didn't think I could do it any more, tried it for no reason tonight and lasted for a long time.

    Possibly two reasons? one I wasn't thinking about it - so not stressed, just natural.
    two, recent service of bike, maybe the headset being adjusted helped. (still can't turn corners and go round roundabouts as when i was a teenager...)

    Lol. I struggle to do it on my road bike but like you, when I was a kid I used to be able to have a lot of control on my MTB/BMX no handed. Maybe its the road bike geometry or something.

    Going no hands was really big for a while when I was a kid and anyone that coudln't go no hands wasn't cool!

    Also, you had to use your foot on the back wheel to slow down, even if you had perfectly good brakes. And had to have the spoke thingys you got in packs of shreddies. And bar ends.
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario