Relaxed Riding

Hi All!

One of the things I keep reading everywhere is that you should be relaxed on the bike, in terms of riding position etc.

I constantly find myself tenses, hunched shoulders, with all my weight forward over the bars. Every so often I conciously make an effort to relax my shoulders and sit back a bit, only to find myself hunched up again a few minutes later.

So how do you do it?! Just something that comes with experience?



It’ll come with experience, but also I think it’s more from the concentration and stress of riding in London traffic. Especially now it’s that the time of year (dark evenings). Try and go for rides out of town over the weekends and gain more experience.


Are the bars at a strech you could try tilting them back half an inch

Simple cure to reduce the hunched shoulders and too much weight on the bars…take the car:D No seriously try gripping the tank with both knees and also using your abdominal muscles to support your upper body.

You should be relaxed on the bars now and forearms almost horizonatal with the ground (gives you more leverage).

Fair play to you, you’re keeping yourself in check.

First couple of months I was the same… Now I’m very chilled out about it. It just comes naturally once you get to know your bike and what it can and can’t do.

What bike do you ride?

Thanks for the replies!

No, it isn’t too much of a stretch to the bars - when I conciously think about it and do sit back it’s perfectly comfortable, I just don’t do it :wink:

Yes, I’m kinda hoping it’s just inexperience and London traffic combined and that with time it’ll come naturally to relax on it. It’s completely subconcious - I’m not conciously stressed or nervous about riding the bike, I just seem to hunch up.

Yeah I live outside London (Leatherhead) and commute in, and do use the bike for journeys other than commuting, so hopefully experience will build rapidly!

The bike is a CG125.

Sorry I didn’t quote the replies - struggling a bit with multiple quotes!



most likely because you sit in a chair too much due to lifestyle and have overactive traps

Your shoulders are tense because you are worrying too much about your shoulders being tense. Don’t worry about it and you’ll be fine.

Try lowering your elbows and bring them towards your body (i.e. down and in)

That will naturally take weight off the handlebars

Can also be the fear. When you are anxous you are tense. That goes away after a while. When the fear subsides you can relax and enjoy the ride more.

This is where I’d put my money. I bet if you were travelling 10mph slower everywhere (dont, cause the traffic will phuck-you-up) that tenseness would go. I would wager that by lifting your vision much further up the road to process the right kind of information you’d find you have more decision making time, this would have the very same effect of slowing your riding pace as the both create time. That extra time will take much of you tenseness away.

This is why you and others have rightly said that experience will help. As you get experience you get familiar…familiarity is a double edged sword. You’ll acclimatise to your circumstances and naturally relax, but also you’ll become complacent over time:D

Good luck!

I have a different tact on these sort of things compared to a lot of other people. Lots of people suggest experience to change but I suggest a more concentrated effort.

As a musician I understand something called “muscle memory”. A guitar player cannot tell each of his fingers what to do fast enough to play the lead section to any popular rock song, what he does is teach his fingers a certain routine, particular movements, and he does this over and over again, so the mere thought of a particular set of movements sets off the muscle memory and the fingers do the movements at a speed far beyond what would otherwise be possible.

You may consider that this does not work on other muscles, but it does.

I had a problem that when I broke, I lifted my head to get a better view, this straightened my arms which in turn pulled me forward on the bike. This is perhaps the worst position to be in while braking according to most of the literature I have read.

So I spent many weeks repeating a simple exercise, every time my hand went near the brake lever, I gripped with my knees and bent my elbows ever so slightly. Every single time, no matter what I was doing, I made this conscious effort.

Now I do it subconsciously. Each time I brake I automatically grip with my knees and kink my elbows. This counters the raising of my head and keeps me in the perfect position for control while braking.

If you want to stop what you are doing, find a simple movement that counteracts the problem, or two movements, and then find something that you do a lot on the bike, indicate, change gear etc and each time you do that repeat the body movement.

In a very short time, if you ride often, your body will do the movements automatically and you won’t have to think about it, then you can examine your sitting position and find other small movements to correct any other problems.

This is my opinion on how to better your riding and fix problems in a shorter time frame.

Like Sneaky said, slow down a bit until you’re relaxed and ride smooth, then speed will come back.
Raising you’re vision will give you more time to react, so less stressful.
Also, try not to grab the handlebars too tightly and make sure you’re arms aren’t stretched out, move the elbows down a bit.

dont grip the handle bars tight, your hands should rest on them.

also, when riding in and around traffic, you should always cover the front brake. ie, have two fingers permanently covering the brake lever incase you need to use it suddenly. In moments of panic your hands automatically clench, so if the brake is covered you will actually start braking before you think about it

I disagree. Rest the hands on the bars and plan for the unexpected. Covering the front brake may end up in locking up the front unnecessary if something unexpected happens.
That’s only my opinion though.

only two fingers covering the front brake shouldnt lock it up, better than grabbing a fist full (unless you have supermans fingers)

This has been used to my advantage on one notable occasion. filtering between some lorries and a bus, a woman walked straight out between them, right in front of me. I had stopped almost before thinking about it…

However, as much as i think its a good idea to cover the front brake for emergencies, when filtering through traffic, its strongly advisable to only brake using the rear brake…

if you brake with the front whilst filtering, the bike will nose dive, and cause instability at best, and cause you to fall off at worst!

:wink: I disagree…the front brake is the one to use most of the time (and in London filtering is most of the time) unless you’re using back in combination with front when wet or trailing into turns etc…you’ve got less fine control with back brake and more likely to lockup…my opinion only. Personally I like to cover the front brake to improve reaction time :slight_smile:

buy a cruiser.

depends what speed your filtering at…walking pace, definately only use the rear brake, and you have more control of the bike (like when you are taught how to turn the bike in the opposite direction in the test, to feather the rear brake to control your speed, and not use the front as it unsettles the bike)

I will always cover the front break when filtering…

If you do have to come to an immediate break if someone pulls out you can do that with the front break…