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What's that behind me?

PhekdraPhekdra Posts: 137
edited October 2008 in Road beginners
I've been riding a road bike for about six months now, and I think I've just about got the hang of making it go in a straight line. However, I've been thinking about entering some Sportives next year and maybe even joining a club :shock: , but what's putting me off is my complete inability to ride whilst looking over my shoulder. Whenever I do so (checking for cars etc) I wobble all over the place, putting at risk anyone foolish enough to be riding near me. Embarrassingly, I nearly ended up in a hedge whilst checking the progress of my other half, and she now has the impression that I'm a totally hopeless bike handler.

Is there some kind of technique to it? Something along the lines of where to steer or hold the bars or put your bum whilst looking behind. I do sit back in the saddle and try and grip the tops near the stem if I'll not need to brake. Or is it something that I'll just have to practise, as in riding all the way to work just looking in a hand-held mirror?

I'm pretty unsteady at riding with no hands too (unzipping my jersey at speed was the most terrifying thing I've done on a bike - and that was with no cars around), so perhaps I just lack balance.

By the way, if Coriander is reading - I just wore my 3/4 tights home from work and you're right, I do look damn sexy! :D

Phekdra

Posts

  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,438
    Get yourself some rollers and practice doing it indoors. If you can manage it on rollers, you'll be able to do it bullet straight on road without a problem.
  • A lot of it is practice. Just keep excercising your neck to get mobility into it. When at your computer terminal at work or what ever, sit up, and slowly twist your neck as far as it will go painlessly, and hold for five seconds. Then back to centre, relax for 30 secs, and do it it again on the other side the same way. Repeat say three times, and do so every 45- mis to an hour, when you should take a break from your screen anyway.

    Slowly over time, you will increase you neck mobility, and when your not pushing the neck hard the way you are now, it will be easier.

    Dont be in too much of a hurry eiterh - its the wrenching wround of your head too quickly thats probably unbalancing you.

    Also, when doing so, make sure yoursitting rather than standing, with less weight on the bars and a more central weight distro if you can, so you are sending less force through the bars at the manoevering point.

    What you might find is that most of us office workers, have over developed neck and upper back muscles from slouching over pc screens in fised positions for hours, and you need to get some mobility by using other muscles and building them up.

    Soon you'll be looking over your shoulder at a fat bloke on a silver Bianchi huffing up the hill shouting "your right, its easy" to me.
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  • PhekdraPhekdra Posts: 137
    Some good advice there, Juju_uk_68 - I will try the neck exercises. I think you're also right about being too quick whilst looking round - the wobbles have encouraged me to complete the whole procedure as quickly as possible!

    Not sure about a set of rollers - coming off those looks painful... :oops: Unless I could somehow bungie myself to a steel frame. Hmmm...

    Phekdra
  • Take one hand off the bars when you look behind. That'll stop you pulling to one side.
    TB
  • Assuming you're looking over your right shoulder, place your right hand on the top of your right thigh before you turn your head. Helps with balance a lot.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,393
    A word of warning. When you eventually do master it, don't move to a country where they drive on the other side of the road... I still can't look over my left shoulder very well after having been in Finland for some time, and often make do with twisting my neck nearly 180 degrees around over the more familiar right shoulder, which has been second nature for years... :?
  • One thing I did was to hold my left arm still as I turn my head which helped me alot as you might be pushing your arm a little when you turn your head.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 8,775
    edited September 2008
    homercles wrote:
    Assuming you're looking over your right shoulder, place your right hand on the top of your right thigh before you turn your head. Helps with balance a lot.

    good advice...

    on a further note looking back is a life saving skill one needs to develop as soon as possible

    make it a priority to be able to look back

    frankly its dangerous not being able to look back hand signal or not.

    to be even more frank its not so much people will think your bike handling skills are bad if you look back and wobble its your bike bike handling skills ARE bad if you can't look back

    get it sorted
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    Phekdra wrote:
    By the way, if Coriander is reading - I just wore my 3/4 tights home from work and you're right, I do look damn sexy! :D

    Phekdra

    I knew you would! :wink:
  • "Whats behind me?"

    I'm going to have a wild guess that you created this thread at home in the study, where a beech effect, six foot bookshelf is positioned approximately four feet behind your computer chair! :lol:
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  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    homercles wrote:
    Assuming you're looking over your right shoulder, place your right hand on the top of your right thigh before you turn your head. Helps with balance a lot.

    Be sure to stop pedalling at this point!! :wink:

    Also, don't hold your bars so close to the stem, being so close to the pivot point (steerer tube) will exagerate any movement made.

    If you still can't look safely and steadily over your shoulder, you could always stand up on the pedals and look between your legs! :shock: :wink:
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  • PhekdraPhekdra Posts: 137
    I'm going to have a wild guess that you created this thread at home in the study, where a beech effect, six foot bookshelf is positioned approximately four feet behind your computer chair! :lol:

    :shock: Well, it's stained pine rather than beech effect, but now I'm going to have to go and search for the surveillance cameras!
    to be even more frank its not so much people will think your bike handling skills are bad if you look back and wobble its your bike bike handling skills ARE bad if you can't look back

    That's why I'm worried. Actually I was watching myself on the way to work yesterday where I have to look over my shoulder constantly due to parked cars and potholes, and I'm generally alright as long as I have time to prepare. It's the unexpected obstructions where I don't have time to set myself properly or when there are lots of things going on that I have to focus on that cause wobbling. I shall have to work on it. Thanks everyone for the advice.

    Phekdra
  • I used to ride with a mirrorcycle mirror on top of my right brake lever when I was commuting in the '80s. Maybe it looked a bit naff but I normally knew what was behind me without having to look round and hit the taxi door in front of me. Don't know what mirrors are on offer now.
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  • I know this is an old thread, also hope my suggestions isnt too obvious. If you feel uncomfortable turning your head, I'm guessing you might be doing what some do, which is to attempt to keep your head upright, as you might if you looked back whilst standing? if this is what you're doing, this would definitely affect your balance. I censored my head to one side, as in demented parrot imitation, then I twist it back. Also, don't grip your bars too tight as this will impede flexibility. Like this, you'll get a good look back, but you'll be seeing your rear at a 45 degree angle, like looking at a tv pic on its side. Just a quick flick and then eyes front. You should soon learn to read what you see immediately, though sometimes, in busy traffic you might need to check again. Don't keep looking back as this will make you lose direction, and may cause loss of balance and direction.

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  • bigflangesmallsprocketbigflangesmallsprocket Posts: 2,443
    edited October 2008
    I have no idea why, but its posted 'censored my head' when I typed, and tried to retype, 'censored my head'!

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  • censored , its done it again, thats not fool but C as in censored , O as in oink, C as in censored , K as in Kona!

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • Barrie_GBarrie_G Posts: 479
    censored , its done it again, thats not fool but C as in censored , O as in oink, C as in censored , K as in Kona!

    That's the boards swear filter removing and replacing the rude word you typed, fool :wink:
  • PhekdraPhekdra Posts: 137
    I fool my head to one side, as in demented parrot imitation, then I twist it back. Also, don't grip your bars too tight as this will impede flexibility.

    Despite some initial difficulty, I got the message eventually :D and I'll have to consciously practise and see what I do when I'm out tomorrow morning. I suspect I do try and keep my head upright, as leaning to the right obviously causes the bike to wander. I've found it a lot easier to look over my shoulder if I've got my hands on the tops of the bars, rather than the hoods as there's less weight on them, and if I sit back and lean slightly to the left to compensate. I generally don't have too much of a problem at the moment - in fact it's worse when I think about it or when I'm in the drops. :shock:


    Phekdra
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