Remember when you were a kid and “Look mom, no hands!” was a rite of passage as you learned to ride? But that was years ago, and for some reason it seemed a lot easier back then than on your lightweight road bike today.
Whether it’s to unwrap an energy bar or put on your jacket when it starts raining, being able to take your hands off the bars and sit up on the bike is a valuable skill. Done confidently, your balance and control should be as good as they are with hands on the bars.
Learn how to ride with no hands by practicing on straight, open roads on training rides to start with. Take it slow and follow these steps to start riding with no hands!
1. Shift your weight into your seat.
Tilt your pelvis back, so your weight is further back on the bike.
2. Engage your core.
A strong core will help you maintain your balance as you lift your hands off the bars.
3. Look ahead, not at your hands.
Always look where you want to go. Looking down will get you off-balance and cause you not to see a bump or dip in the road!
4. Keep pedaling to maintain speed.
Maintaining momentum will make balance easier. It’s harder to balance if you are barely moving!
5. Start by removing one hand from the bar. Then the other.
Using the body position tips above, drop one hand down by your side and then the other. Practice riding with one hand to drink water, fuel up or even taking a feed.
6. Hover both hands above the bars, keeping them close at first.
Once you are comfortable riding with one hand, begin lifting both hands off the bars at the same time, hovering them just over the top of the bar.
7. Build your confidence gradually.
Once you start lifting fully off the bars, practice a lot until you can safely ride with no hands. Do not add more complicated no-hand maneuvers (like adding or removing a jacket) until you are very comfortable riding with no hands.
8. Use your core and hips to balance and turn.
You can actually control the direction your bike is going just by using your hips. This is a really fun drill to do once you have gotten comfortable riding with no hands.