General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Develop better balance on bike? Rss Feed  
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2012-04-24 12:10 AM


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Subject: Develop better balance on bike?
Looking for suggestions on developing better balance on bike. I've never been able to ride without hands on handlebars, and this weekend I took a nasty spill when trying to stand on a steep uphill grade...seems easy in a spin class, but couldn't do it on the real deal. Thanks!


2012-04-24 12:21 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
My kid's triathlon team coaches spend alot of time having the kids pick up a water bottle from the ground as they ride by......try it.....ON GRASS!!! Laughing  It's a great drill.
2012-04-24 12:43 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?

Left Brain - 2012-04-24 1:21 PM My kid's triathlon team coaches spend alot of time having the kids pick up a water bottle from the ground as they ride by......try it.....ON GRASS!!! Laughing  It's a great drill.

 

Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun...

I've always considered myself to be pretty proficient in terms of bike handling and have never given it any thought, but would certainly be interested in hearing some more ideas from the community. 

My daughter has just started riding and she's **TERRIBLE**.   I know, I know, she's just a kid and has only been riding on two wheels for about 3 months, but I'd love to figure out some ways to help her.  The water bottle would be way too difficult for her at the moment, but would love to hear some other ideas.

2012-04-24 12:51 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
DuncanQH - 2012-04-24 12:43 AM

Left Brain - 2012-04-24 1:21 PM My kid's triathlon team coaches spend alot of time having the kids pick up a water bottle from the ground as they ride by......try it.....ON GRASS!!! Laughing  It's a great drill.

 

Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun...

I've always considered myself to be pretty proficient in terms of bike handling and have never given it any thought, but would certainly be interested in hearing some more ideas from the community. 

My daughter has just started riding and she's **TERRIBLE**.   I know, I know, she's just a kid and has only been riding on two wheels for about 3 months, but I'd love to figure out some ways to help her.  The water bottle would be way too difficult for her at the moment, but would love to hear some other ideas.

Yeah, the kids love it.....they crash and laugh....but then they start getting it, and gain confidence by the bucket full.  None of this stuff is hard.  These skills can easily be had by almost everyone, which is why triathlon is gaining such popularity.  Adults are just big kids......the same drills work.

2012-04-24 3:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
Get a set of rollers.

2012-04-24 4:55 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
^^^ This.


2012-04-24 5:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
I would suggest just riding. Lots!
2012-04-24 6:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?

x2 on the rollers if balance is that much of an issue.

The only caveat - if you're finding road balance difficult, rollers might seem literally impossible for you initially as they are several times harder to maintain balance with than the regular road. 

2012-04-24 6:27 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?

The rollers are definitely a good thought.  Here's a link to a bunch drills from the bottle drill already mentioned to some relatively advanced stuff.

http://www.active.com/cycling/Articles/Bike-Handling-Clinic_-Drill-that-Skill.htm

2012-04-24 6:56 AM
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Payson, AZ
Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
Do you have balance issues any other time other then on the bike?  If so then just riding lots won't help a whole lot.  I know a few people that have balance issues due to some inner ear thing.  But it will show up hiking and doing other activities as well.
2012-04-24 7:44 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
Balance can really be affected by bike fit, as well. If your body weight isn't where it should be centered it makes you all squirrely.

I have really noticed this as I've been training on my mountain bike. I always buy my mtn bikes a little small and it's ok because I'm not really on the seat a whole lot. I find myself off the back of the seat and over the rear wheel and sometimes lower. Fast forward to now and I have my seat jacked all the way up and my weight forward over the front wheel and I'm sure I look like a drunkard cruising down the road.


2012-04-24 8:41 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?

Riding no hands is not so much about balance as bike geometry and set-up. I've had bikes I could ride no-handed at what would be considered slow speeds, and some I had to have over 20 mph to get anything close to stable enough.

But... Falling while standing is a different issue. Are you upshifting (into a harder gear) when you stand? You should be, so that your cadence slows a bit.

If balancing on a bike is an issue, one thing that has always been a help is doing a "slow race". Get a couple buddies together and go to a grass field, and have a slow race, meaning the LAST person to the other end wins (without putting a foot down or falling, or going backwards). After doing this for a while, I guarantee your balance will be much improved, and you'll likely get to where you can do a track stand.

2012-04-24 8:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?

Bike geometry as mentioned is a big factor but so, also, is your own tension. Bikes by design want to stay upright when rolling, it seems riders find a way to throw themselves onto the ground! Spend some time working on a good relaxed form, no death grip on the handlebars, elbows slightly bent, you shouldn't have to fight with the bike to stay upright just point it in the right direction.

Geometry is a factor, on one of my old road bikes I could ride hands free endlessly it seems, around corners etc, even changing jackets, remove arm warmers whatever. My next roadie was a little more aggressive in maneuverability-I could ride hands free but not as confident that bike with aero bars won't allow this at all. My tri bike is new to me still and feels stable but not sure of it's hand free stability.

2012-04-24 9:44 AM
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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
briderdt - 2012-04-24 6:41 AM

Riding no hands is not so much about balance as bike geometry and set-up. I've had bikes I could ride no-handed at what would be considered slow speeds, and some I had to have over 20 mph to get anything close to stable enough.

But... Falling while standing is a different issue. Are you upshifting (into a harder gear) when you stand? You should be, so that your cadence slows a bit.

If balancing on a bike is an issue, one thing that has always been a help is doing a "slow race". Get a couple buddies together and go to a grass field, and have a slow race, meaning the LAST person to the other end wins (without putting a foot down or falling, or going backwards). After doing this for a while, I guarantee your balance will be much improved, and you'll likely get to where you can do a track stand.

One of the differences with adults who learn to ride versus kids, is that adults like to jump straight to road rides at speed.  Kids spend a lot of time wobbling around and riding slow, but that develops balance.

If you can, get out and do some trail riding on a cheap mountain or cross bike.  It is a great way to work on balance and bike handling skills.  And you won't care much about the occasional crash in the dirt at 5mph.  Dust yourself off and keep going.

2012-04-24 10:55 PM
in reply to: #4168816


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Subject: RE: Develop better balance on bike?
Thank you all for the suggestions...I'll look into the drills you recommended!
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