How do you look behind with falling off your bike

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
mattsccm
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby mattsccm » 17 Mar 2019, 7:01pm

Alternatively , do it trackie style. On the drops look under your arm. I do quite a lot as it seems as if I am getting stiff and more of my body needs to turn than used to be the case.

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pjclinch
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby pjclinch » 17 Mar 2019, 7:54pm

531colin wrote:I can't think of a better way for somebody to gain confidence than being able to ride their machine no hands...even better if they can ride a range of machines no hands....even better still if they can slalom the cats' eyes.


Depending on the bike, no-hands can be easier than one, or two while twisting around to look behind. As long as the bike has geometry that will "do' no-hands without too much trouble it's mainly a matter of confidence, but that's not actually that relevant to being able to turn and look while riding in a straight line and covering at least one of the brakes at the same time. So while I agree it's good for general confidence I'm not sure it's particularly helpful for the job at hand.

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531colin
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby 531colin » 18 Mar 2019, 7:12pm

pjclinch wrote:
531colin wrote:I can't think of a better way for somebody to gain confidence than being able to ride their machine no hands...even better if they can ride a range of machines no hands....even better still if they can slalom the cats' eyes.


Depending on the bike, no-hands can be easier than one, or two while twisting around to look behind. As long as the bike has geometry that will "do' no-hands without too much trouble it's mainly a matter of confidence, but that's not actually that relevant to being able to turn and look while riding in a straight line and covering at least one of the brakes at the same time. So while I agree it's good for general confidence I'm not sure it's particularly helpful for the job at hand.

Pete.


We appear to agree on the confidence front.

Ignoring small-wheeled bikes, any bike that's properly straight, so the wheels, forks and frame all line up, will ride straight no hands provided the rider sits straight. As in my previous post, there is a considerable difference in how easily (eg) road and touring bikes can be made to divert from straight ahead, when riding no hands.
Quite why the manufacturers think its a good idea to make "entry level" road bikes with the same head angle and fork offset as bikes ridden in massed-start races by world class professional athletes, I have no idea, but there it is, that's whats sold. I ride with many "new or returning" cyclists who have bought "road" bikes, and some of them ride in a state of constant anxiety. They are worried about looking round, they are worried about a bit of gravel or a pothole, or a hill, or a bend, or a car, or a dog, or a gust of wind. I happen to think they would be safer, happier and more relaxed if they could ride with confidence.....either by learning to get on with the road bike they have, or a different bike with calmer steering.
So there it is....I happen to think that a rider who is relaxed and confident is likely to be able to look round with less wobbling than a rider who is anxious and tense. YMMV

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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby MikeF » 18 Mar 2019, 10:46pm

I can turn my head about 90 degrees from the front perhaps a little more without moving my body. I can see a bit more if I twist my body, but what I see behind is using peripheral vision, which is not ideal, but depending on the road I may make several glances. I also use my ears - diesel engined vehicles are much better in this respect - and road positioning.
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Carpediem
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Carpediem » 19 Mar 2019, 12:35am

I'd like to congratulate you 531colin on both your posts which were sensible,full of great advice and very helpful to me personally.
I could add that I've recently been using garmins rear view varia radar paired to my 520.
It does give good warning of traffic approaching from behind up to 150mts IIRC..it does give early warning of approaching vehicles.. However as has already been said it can be a distraction,and should only be given a quick glance before making a manouvere,and is in no way a substitute for the neccessary 2 glances over the shoulder as described.
Regarding an earlier comment on computers..
I haven't heard of anyone having accidents caused by being distracted by their computer,but I can see how it could happen quite easily..so I now make a conscious effort to only give mine the occasional glance at the radar and av speed and distance,it's taken a few weeks practise doing this, but I'm managing to get used to it.

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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Samuel D » 19 Mar 2019, 7:41am

Carpediem wrote:Regarding an earlier comment on computers..
I haven't heard of anyone having accidents caused by being distracted by their computer,but I can see how it could happen quite easily..

I think they cause plenty of accidents but no-one admits it, just like mobile phones cause many car crashes (especially in stop-and-go traffic) but you wouldn’t know it from the official statistics.

I say this in part because I once watched the rider in front of me fiddle with his Garmin while touching wheels with the next rider, do the wild swerve, and fall. The computer was not mentioned in his account of what happened.

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531colin
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby 531colin » 19 Mar 2019, 10:00am

Just came to me that we had an interesting thread on "looking and not seeing" a while back......and quite uncharacteristically I've found it! https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?t=117037

ndwgolf
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby ndwgolf » 20 Mar 2019, 4:10am

I’ve been practicing by putting my left hand close to the middle of the bars and taking my right hand off and then turning my head. This is the easiest for me right now.

PT1029
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby PT1029 » 20 Mar 2019, 6:42am

Coming late to this discussion.
To look behind and still go in a straight line,the aim is to twist/rotate your neck and keep the shoulders unturned/straight. Its the turning of the shoulders that makes you vere/drift across the road.
A tip I was given years ago (but perhaps not so useful in busy traffic), is if looking over your right shoulder, put you right hand on the back of the saddle, by your bum. This acts to stop you twisting your shoulders.
As a club ride leader, over the years I have got used to looking over my shoulder long enough to count (up to 18 or so) straggled out riders behind me to check there are all still there, and still ride in a straight line. A new member did comment I seemed to spend more of my ride looking backwards than forwards!
Also your neck may rotate one way more than the other. Often when abroad cycling on the right, I still look over my right shoulder as I get a better view as I can look round further that way, when common sense would say to look over my left shoulder.

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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Samuel D » 20 Mar 2019, 7:26am

PT1029 wrote:Also your neck may rotate one way more than the other. Often when abroad cycling on the right, I still look over my right shoulder as I get a better view as I can look round further that way, when common sense would say to look over my left shoulder.

My neck rotates more to the left or feels easier doing it and I live in France. Coincidence? I think instead it has got that way by practice (as with other stretching exercises).

Your point remains.

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Patrickpioneer
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Patrickpioneer » 20 Mar 2019, 7:31am

off topic but my own problem is I wear 'specs' and when I look behind I am no longer looking through the lenses, so I can still see the cars but not the drivers, no eye contact.
Patrick

tatanab
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby tatanab » 20 Mar 2019, 7:51am

Patrickpioneer wrote:off topic but my own problem is I wear 'specs' and when I look behind I am no longer looking through the lenses, so I can still see the cars but not the drivers, no eye contact.
Patrick
Eye contact will take a long look and is not a practicality when looking behind. I have taken police motorcycle and driving courses over the years and we were told "you don't need to know the model and year of the vehicle behind, let alone the colour of the driver's eyes. All you need is to see there is a vehicle and to assess closing speed". A motorcycling friend ran into a rapidly slowing car in front, simply because he was taking a long hard look behind at the time. He admitted his mistake.

Samuel D
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Samuel D » 20 Mar 2019, 8:53am

tatanab wrote:I have taken police motorcycle and driving courses over the years and we were told "you don't need to know the model and year of the vehicle behind, let alone the colour of the driver's eyes. All you need is to see there is a vehicle and to assess closing speed".

For this reason I often take two looks: one when I become aware that I will soon perform some sort of manoeuvre, and then another a couple of seconds later immediately before doing it. Each look is too brief to assess closing speed reliably but the pair do that nicely and the second glance acts as a backup if the first missed something vital.

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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Mar 2019, 8:13pm

Best not to make eye contact, keep them guessing, do not trust them
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Re: How do you look behind with falling off your bike

Postby Vorpal » 21 Mar 2019, 10:52am

When I was teaching Bikeability, I had a few folks who couldn't manage this.

What I got them to try was a couple of different things. One of the two usually worked...

Keep in mind that this is for UK roads, so in countries where your ride on the right, you have to do it on the other side.

Method 1
Keep the left hand on the handle bars (moving it in a little might help)
put the right hand on or behind the saddle
think of the spine as a pole and rotate head and shoulder around that
you can practice it a couple of times when not moving, then try it when moving.

method 2
keep both hands on the handle bars
look down at your right elbow
tilt your chin up and look around (not over) your shoulder

The ohter part is as indicated in previous posts. Just keep at it. For some folks, it does take some practice.

A mirror is useful, but there's no substitute for a good look behind, if you can manage it.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom