Hand positions and road hazards
Last Post 06/17/2014 09:03 PM by Orange Crush. 18 Replies.
Author Messages
79pmooney

Posts:1177

--
06/16/2014 02:07 PM
Did anyone see the pothole Froome hit Friday when he crashed?  Is there any footage or stills of how he was holding his HBs when he crashed?  Did his front wheel collapse and cause the crash or was the damage to it collateral?

I ask this because it has been my impression that hand positions have gotten less secure since the advent of aero brake levers in the '80s.  My thought is that the lack of a brake cable sticking up means there is no secure anything to stop your hand from sliding forward and off if you hit, say, a pothole.  (Back in the dark ages, my hand came up on that cable a few times.  Always a heartfelt thanks for that housing; the same housing I cursed because it eliminated my favorite "aero" position that I dreamed about in 1977.  In my day, we were taught to ride the drops or hold the bars firmly anytime we were in a situation where we could not see ahead.  (The famous "Allis" rules".)  As a result, I rode the drops a lot and have ever since seen to it that every bike is comfortable for long distances in the drops.

If Froome did indeed crash because of an insufficient grip on his bars, then he broke one of the key "Allis" rules and it may come to haunt in in three weeks at the big dance.

(John Allis, the guru of New England racing in the '70s from whom we all learned how to ride.)

Ben
THE SKINNY

Posts:413

--
06/16/2014 02:24 PM
my hands are always wrapped around the hoods and sometimes a finger placed on the brake lever. unless i'm up front or riding by myself do i move from there but i still keep my thumb below the bars. i've learned the hard way.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Keith Richards

Posts:743

--
06/16/2014 02:38 PM
Mark Allen, the great triathlete, has a nickname. He is called "The Grip" because everyone would know when he was about to start putting down the power because his grip on the bar would change.

I tell people all the time to remember to GRAB THE DAMN BARS LIKE YOU MEAN IT.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
79pmooney

Posts:1177

--
06/16/2014 02:48 PM
Keith, one of my early learning experiences happened on my first 10 speed, circa 1968. Going downhill into a free-for-all intersection. On the levers scanning the road and cars ahead. Hit a rock I didn't see. Knocked both hands completely off the bars, I fell forward onto my stem, that iconic UO-8 stem with the hex bolt sticking up. Sternum on bolt head, hard! That hurt for days. Lesson learned! (Flew into the intersection with my hands down by my hubs. No cars, thank God.)

Ben
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1150

--
06/17/2014 11:53 AM
I'm gonna disagree here.....a firm grip on the bars usually lead to stiff arms, which leads to trouble when things get a bit dicey. It also leads to over-steering if you hit something.

I prefer a looser grip that gives me the ability to absorb impacts w/o overreaction. With such a grip, I have hit many potholes or debris over the years and not gone down. Occasionally will lose one hand from the bars, but I don't think I have ever lost both.

Example - way back in my DC bike racing days, I was commuting into work and drafting off a truck. Rock came out from under the truck that I have no chance to react to. Hit it dead-on at over 35 mph. Right hand flew off the bars, but not the left....and because I was relaxed and did not have a "death grip" on the bike, I absorbed the impact with no issues.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Keith Richards

Posts:743

--
06/17/2014 12:12 PM
To me the key to not having stiff arms is to make sure your elbows are bent, one's grip should not effect the ability to absorb impacts.

In fact, when I first started riding on the road, the guy who taught me the ropes would actually ride up next to me and slap my elbows, "keep 'em bent!"
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
ChinookPass

Posts:468

--
06/17/2014 12:45 PM
If things are tight and the racing is on, you should be in the drops, period. Only exception is maybe climbing. You can take and give elbows and won't go down. You can bounce off anything in the road or other riders and be fine.

You should never be in a crit or last 10k and not be in the drops.
Dale

Posts:501

--
06/17/2014 01:03 PM
I'm surprised at how few people ride in the drops. I think it comes from wanting to "look pro" with a slammed stem and all that but if you can't ride in the drops what good does that do?

When we're going piano or climbing I'll be on the hoods or top of the bars but the drops are a familiar place for me.
Pin0Q0

Posts:229

--
06/17/2014 01:25 PM
Nothing good can come from gripping hard. Idealy your weight should be supported with your legs and inner core not your hands. If you do this correctly then your peddeling motion and rpm will stay constant while changing position. I ride most comfortably in the drops unless going up, if I sit up too long then my tailbone starts bothering me.
79pmooney

Posts:1177

--
06/17/2014 01:34 PM
CK. more of the Allis wisdom. Elbows always bent. Arms relaxed. Firm grip, but that doesn't extend past your wrist.

One hand coming off the bars? In a field with riders beside you, probably a crash involving others.

CP - that sounds like an Allis lesson! Elbows always out when beside someone so contact doesn't matter. And if you need room (say to avoid a manhole) you can bump your neighbor, even lean on him, and move him over. No big deal. (Sadly, it probably is a big deal because it is unlikely that your neighbor has learned this.) Also, we were taught to ride with handlebars even anytime we were beside someone so even a bump of bar to bar isn't a big deal (and the handlebars can never get hooked or locked). Since then, I have watched a velodrome lesson to newcomers where the coach said there were two safe side-by-side positions. Handlebars even where either rider could push or "control" the other and elbow to hip/thigh where the rider behind can control the rider ahead with his elbow. I never tried that one. (And can't really see it for non-racing riding, whereas HB-to-HB pushing can be a simple survival tool.)

Ben
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1150

--
06/17/2014 03:12 PM
Posted By Dale Dale on 06/17/2014 01:03 PM
I'm surprised at how few people ride in the drops. I think it comes from wanting to "look pro" with a slammed stem and all that but if you can't ride in the drops what good does that do?

When we're going piano or climbing I'll be on the hoods or top of the bars but the drops are a familiar place for me.


I've opined on this before, But I'll throw it out there again.....

The problem was the move the threadless &  integrated headsets / stems.  Frame manufacturers never compensated for the loss in stack height from the cups, races, etc.  A 140mm HT stayed at 140mm.  But in reality, it was more like 110mm effective length.

Some compensated for it w/ spacers, but this was a poor solution anyway (added stress on the sterer tube, etc) so people kept their stems slammed (bonus points because it looked "pro").

The net result is that the drops became inaccessible for many riders...at least for any length of time.  Shallow drop bars help, but that is addressing the problem from the wrong direction.

The irony now is that some companies (Cervelo) are now designing bikes with super long HT because they are more aero.....because it eliminates the spacers!!  So they are backing into the correct solution (frame design) but from the wrong perspective (aerodynamics instead of correct fit).
 


Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1150

--
06/17/2014 03:15 PM
Posted By Keith Jackson on 06/17/2014 12:12 PM

In fact, when I first started riding on the road, the guy who taught me the ropes would actually ride up next to me and slap my elbows, "keep 'em bent!"

We did the same thing on my college team...and brought it to the ol' Kodak Ektar team back in the day, Keith.

We'd all keep check on one another.....always looking for the opportunity to smack someone's elbow.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Oldfart

Posts:485

--
06/17/2014 03:19 PM
Elbows always bent and I couldn't agree more about the drops. You have to able to ride the drops comfortably for a long time otherwise it means something does not fit. Firm grip, I prefer to call it a good grip and not a death grip. I know riders that have gone down exactly as Ben describes. Froome was probably looking at his damn stem when he crashed.

With my mountain bike back ground I know that elbows are always bent and absorbing whatever the fork and tire can't and I ride some really rough trails. I don't have to grip to bar terribly hard as far as I am aware. I road ride the same way.

I chose the Giant Defy as my road bike because it had a taller head tube for a better fit for me. Plus it had a slacker seat tube angle that I require to fit my long femurs into.
Keith Richards

Posts:743

--
06/17/2014 04:02 PM
Posted By Kameron Kameron on 06/17/2014 01:25 PM
Nothing good can come from gripping hard.


What bad can come from it? While I hear everyone saying it, and I agree that there are times when a light touch is needed, when it is time to go Silverback on the bike....The Grip comes out!
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
79pmooney

Posts:1177

--
06/17/2014 04:05 PM
One second of not gripping hard enough can be a season ender. Sounds like a good reason to me.

Ben
THE SKINNY

Posts:413

--
06/17/2014 04:36 PM
drops? scranus says 'no'
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
longslowdistance

Posts:703

--
06/17/2014 08:09 PM
What's a scranus?
THE SKINNY

Posts:413

--
06/17/2014 08:30 PM
i guess you never read bike snob?
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Orange Crush

Posts:1221

--
06/17/2014 09:03 PM
Gripping too hard may limit responsiveness when it comes to incident avoidence. Not too hard, not too light, just right.


---
Active Forums 4.1