Tips for one handed riding

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pjclinch
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Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 16 May 2014, 7:26am

P6 had their pre-level 2 playground session yesterday, and everyone did well and we all had fun, but a couple of the children were rather afraid of one-handed riding and I'll need to put in some extra time with them. To best use that time I'm looking for tips for one-handed folk may have.

I'm already looking to emphasise sitting up as much as possible for less weight on the bars, and the usual tip of looking where you're going and not at what you're doing. If any of you have found good ways to get a hand off the bars, do please share...

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

mrjemm
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby mrjemm » 16 May 2014, 9:39am

Not sure how scientific this is, but not wanting to take a hand off suggests to me putting weight on bars and gripping hard (imagined perhaps). Maybe worth getting them to try to sit up more and slowly put less pressure on grips until riding with fingers only, not palms, then maybe fingertips?

Got them doing bikeability at the school next door at the mo, and I've noticed they all ride on knobblies. That must be a disincentive to enjoy riding. Unless it's a ploy by parents to tire them out...

thirdcrank
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby thirdcrank » 16 May 2014, 9:48am

Not always easy with every type of bar and it takes the hand away from the brake, but IMO having the on-bar hand as near as possible to the stem helps; I find it's instinctive for me.

PS: I think this technique is particularly useful for looking over the shoulder because it reduces the tendency for the turning of the shoulders to pull on the steering hand, which can steer the rider further out into the carriageway.

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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 16 May 2014, 10:19am

Thanks for those first entries.

I think we have two sane sets of tyres in my lot, one on my daughter's Beinn 26S and another on a good example of a recycled old MTB. Almost everyone is on some flavour of MTB (ranging from BSOs to a top-of-the-line Islabikes one with hydraulic discs which I don't think has ever seen mud, sigh... and a couple of BMXs) with many a comedy triple chainset and more combined weight than a small battleship. Quite a few have obviously been found deep in the backs of sheds but amongst the very shiny new ones there seems to be an healthier proportion of Actual Bikes rather than Things from Toys `R` Us, and to be fair to the MTBs there's a couple that obviously get used in their intended environment.

Pete.
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mrjemm
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby mrjemm » 16 May 2014, 2:55pm

The bikeability lot are nearly all mtb type, but it's a good school for kids coming by bike and a few decent ones amongst them, I must say. And scooters & skateboards too.

Shame the dad who walks his in with their dogs which pee against my pillar also pulled his van into he street this morning at well over the 20 signed and my side of the road, when he surely knows what some kids are doing this week. :evil:

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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 24 May 2014, 5:27pm

They all did great, and are now much better one handed and improving fast :D

I had them sit up as straight as possible and (two-handed) move back to fingertips on the tops of the bars, and then with a focus point well ahead had them move straight to a signal. But the biggest help was their excellent can-do, will-do attitude.

Pete.
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Si
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby Si » 24 May 2014, 6:20pm

For what it's worth, my technique is to get them to just initially release but keep their hand right over the bar grip - repeatedly telling them to do it slowly and without sudden movements. Once they can open and close their hand over the grip I get them to try and do it for a little longer each time. Once they are happy doing it for a few seconds I then get them to try moving their hand away from the bar. If they are confident then move towards a signal, but if still unconfident get them to touch their opposite shoulder as this changes the balance of the bike less.
As said before, they should look straight a head while doing this with their 'chin up' (thus making them sit up straighter in the saddle). Also easier to start on flat or a slight down hill so that they are not having to push on the pedals to keep moving, and persuade them that a bit of speed will help them stay straight. And finally - the hand that is still on the bars should have two or three fingers on the brake lever, thus stopping it grip too hard.

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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 24 May 2014, 9:11pm

The hover-over-the-bar method was what they'd tried themselves to start. At least with my trio it didn't really work: harder to remove a forward lean and much harder to concentrate on where they were going rather than the on the just-in-case hand. They all found that getting the free hand well out of the way left them clear to go where they should (and where there was a sudden wobble, still easy to get the hand back on).

One of these where it'll be different for others, and it's good to have a set of alternatives to try.

Pete.
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Si
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby Si » 25 May 2014, 9:59am

I think that the trick is to stop them concentrating on the hand off the bar, i.e. looking down. If they seem to do this I just stand right in front of them (a little distance away obviously), shout 'look at me' and engage them in conversation.

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Mick F
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby Mick F » 1 Aug 2014, 9:14pm

Sorry, but I'm mystified by this thread.

One handed?
How is this difficult in any way for anyone?
I don't understand at all.
I was riding one handed, the other one handed, or no handed not long after I could ride a bike. Why is it so difficult?

Am I missing something here?
Mick F. Cornwall

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pjclinch
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 2 Aug 2014, 9:17am

Mick F wrote:Sorry, but I'm mystified by this thread.

One handed?
How is this difficult in any way for anyone?
I don't understand at all.
I was riding one handed, the other one handed, or no handed not long after I could ride a bike. Why is it so difficult?

Am I missing something here?


Yes, you are... notably that on the big Venn Diagram of All Cyclists, Mick F is a subset :wink:

Riding one handed is intrinsically off-balance, especially if you are on a "sporty" and/or oversized bike where you leaning forwards on to the bars. With two hands on the lean is even but take one off and the bars (and thus the steering) cease to be naturally balanced. Beyond that, taking one hand off is an anxiety point for some, and when you get anxiety points people tend to look at what they're doing rather than where they're going, and that way lies loss of control.

Pete.
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pstallwood
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pstallwood » 2 Aug 2014, 9:44am

pjclinch wrote:Thanks for those first entries.

I think we have two sane sets of tyres in my lot, one on my daughter's Beinn 26S and another on a good example of a recycled old MTB. Almost everyone is on some flavour of MTB
Pete.


That is interesting. Could you elaborate about tyres, please?

Last weekend I bought an Orbea Dirt 20 from our LBS and it came with knobblies as did the other bikes in this size as far as I could see. The bike was for my nearly 7 year old granddaughter and looks to be very well made with 7 gears with finger changers that I was told youngsters find easier to use than the twist grip type. It also has small brake levers for little hands. Not that any of this was important to my granddaughter who was only interested in the colour being the same as mummy's.

I never gave thought to the tyres. Should I get my son to change them and if so why and what for?

Thanks.

Peter

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pjclinch
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pjclinch » 2 Aug 2014, 11:56am

pstallwood wrote:
I never gave thought to the tyres. Should I get my son to change them and if so why and what for?


Very much depends on the use the bike is being put to.

My comment above was in the context of Bikeability 2, which is riding on the roads, and for the roads a knobbly tyre is a liability. It gives less grip than pretty much anything else and has a much higher rolling resistance, so you do more work and have less secure cornering. Having said that, if a child's primary use is Let Them Eat Mud sort of stuff then without a knobbly you have quite significant traction problems, and a bit more of a faff on the roads for optimising the primary point of the bike is quite possibly a price worth paying.

I'd only worry about it if the child concerned will be covering a fair bit of distance on hard (or semi-hard) paths/roads. If the bike is mainly recreational with peers, most of them will have knobblies and they won't be knocking themselves out so I wouldn't worry too much: think of the extra work as good exercise! Start worrying about a tyre change if the child is getting put off by the amount of work they're having to do.

If you are looking to optimise the bike for travel off of soft stuff then touring tyres are probably the things to look for.
Most kids' bikes are used on soft(ish) stuff to at least some extent so even if it's not for serious mud-plugging I think you'd be shooting yourself in the foot going completely slick and thus something with a bit of tread is good. Something like a 406/40 (20" x 1.5") is a good general purpose size.

Pete.
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pstallwood
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Re: Tips for one handed riding

Postby pstallwood » 2 Aug 2014, 12:13pm

Thanks for that Pete.

I can't imagine granddaughter doing any mudplugging just yet. It will probably be just rides on local roads with Daddy once she has got her confidence with the new bike. She has only just started to be able to ride on 2 wheels and needs a lot of practice before venturing far. Think we will leave tyres as they are for now.

Peter