How do you look behind with falling off your bike

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
gregoryoftours
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Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

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

Postby gregoryoftours » 23 Mar 2019, 12:11am

In order to look behind me properly (right shoulder) I have to do the following:
1. Relax both arms, both elbows bend a bit and pressure is taken off bars.
2. Drop left shoulder as left elbow bends more than the right one.
3. This causes upper torso and neck to drop and rotate to the right allowing me to see over right shoulder while still holding a straight line.
My head is not level looking behind, it's tilted forward quite a lot.
If I just try to crank my neck around I can't stay straight.

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

Postby LollyKat » 23 Mar 2019, 10:08am

I do the opposite of the above. With both hands on the bars, I move my right elbow in towards my torso and drop my RIGHT shoulder a little - this lets me twist my head round a bit more without drifting off my line. For a long look, though, I'll let go with the right hand completely.

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

Postby ThePinkOne » 23 Mar 2019, 10:31am

And also remember that sometimes, it's not easily doable for some folks.

I have poor body prioperception (and can easily bump into things walking around :lol:) although there's nowt wrong with my fine motor control (can do very fiddly things like making jewelery), my hand-eye coordination or my ability to "read" traffic patterns. Co-ordination that requires visual/hearing/mechanical movement is fine- but balancing activities such as standing on one leg takes practice and concentration. Riding a conventional bike took a lot of getting used to, as I had to learn tune in to the fairly weak signals from my body sensors. Looking behind is difficult and always will be- which is why Mirrorcycles are my friends. Also a good idea to "keep in the picture" as far as possible so there's less chance of surprise. (When I want to woolgather, I ride a trike).

Have to admit, took me a while to realise all this, it was doing archery at a high level for a few years that helped- the coaches helped me learn to "listen" more effectively to the (sub-standard) faint prioperception signals my body sent out so I could build a stable and consistent shooting stance. Until then I thought I was just "clumsy"- when I learned to ride a bike as a kid I just practiced (and fell off) enough so eventually I learned it. But as an adult, knowing how to engage brain to focus on taking note of weak signals from body sensors is a much better option as I don't bounce so well these days!

TPO

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

Postby cyclop » 23 Mar 2019, 5:17pm

I had to analyse my method even though I have a mirror and seldom bother so here goes.Firstly,you need to be confident about riding with one hand on the tops.Take rt. hand off the bars,rotate torso,shoulder and arm together,this only needs 30degrees or so.At the same time point the knee away from the fore and aft.Do all this with head FORWARD thus balancing the bike first,then swivel the head and glance backwards.This all sounds complex and time consuming,it isn,t .With practice,all these actions become smooth and fairly quick.Hope this helps.

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

Postby 531colin » 23 Mar 2019, 5:20pm

When I studied biology, proprioception was the sense that allowed your subconscious to "know" where your body was; so that you could touch left and right index fingers behind your back, or under the duvet, or stick your finger in your ear, or touch your big toe under the duvet. Now proprioception seems to include at least elements of what I would call balance, and there are "proprioception" exercises (google!) which are (to me) balance exercises. (one leg balance, balance board, etc.) I don't know who changed their mind, or when, but never mind!..
However, its good news that there are exercises which can reasonably be expected to improve balance. My balance is deteriorating with age, although its probably no worse than could be expected at 70-odd. Following on from this thread, I had a conversation with a riding companion who happens to be a physiotherapist specialising in stroke rehabilitation, and I learned that even balance deterioration with age can be helped with exercises.....apparently there is a lot of "redundancy" or spare capacity in the nervous system, and as cells die off its possible to "train" other bits to take over their function, at least to an extent. So the message is, don't give in to it!
As I mentioned previously, sighted people use visual clues to assist their sense of balance to varying degrees. If you are somebody who relies a lot on vision to supplement their balance, its probably worth doing the exercises.

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531colin
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Location: North Yorkshire

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

Postby 531colin » 23 Mar 2019, 5:43pm

The mechanics of how you look behind must vary with riding position.
If you are bolt upright (eg on a Dutch bike) you can simply look over your shoulder like you do walking along.
If you are in a full racing crouch, your spine is horizontal, and "looking over your shoulder" would be looking up at the sky. ….in a full racing crouch, its probably easiest to drop your head down and look under your arm.
Probably most of us, most of the time, are somewhere between bolt upright and racing crouch. My "favourite" position has my back and my arms both at about 45 degrees to horizontal https://www.flickr.com/photos/52358536@N06/36063469470/in/album-72157624571269648/....so I can't look over my shoulder, because if I try to turn my head and look over my shoulder, my chin hits my shoulder.
What I actually do (and I checked!) is drop my left shoulder down and twist my back to the right and look round my shoulder; my head is on its side so my right ear is up and my left ear is down.

LollyKat
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Location: Scotland

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

Postby LollyKat » 23 Mar 2019, 11:10pm

531colin wrote:What I actually do (and I checked!) is drop my left shoulder down and twist my back to the right and look round my shoulder; my head is on its side so my right ear is up and my left ear is down.

I've never thought of doing it this way but it sounds good - must give it a try!