I ride a mid 70's Italian Columbus steel steed. She's an old race partner, my Moretti. We've been together longer than my 27 year marriage. Several list members have helped me to keep her running. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
I've been experiencing comments from other riders on my "hands free" riding on large group rides that had me scratching my head until this thread got me to thinking about it. During long rides, like the Hotter N' Hell this summer, I rise up off the bars and ride "hands free" to stretch, eat, swing my arms around and sometimes fold them in front or back. I'll ride like this for a good stretch depending on traffic and if I'm not in a pace line. It's like moving around on the saddle, it's good to change positions and shake out the kinks. I always thought it odd when other riders would come by and say, "I wish I could do that" or "how can he do that?" Back "in the day" we all could do this and I always thought if you couldn't ride "hands free" you were on a bike that didn't fit you or your fork was bent.
I ride with a group who all ride bikes made within the past 1-3 years. I'm the only "old timer" on classic steel. These youngsters usually slip by me on the ascents but I catch them if there's any good descent. My lovely steel descends like a bat out of hell. She always could.
The new bikes, (with shorter geometry, higher BB and jacked up seat heights) and thus the "style" they find themselves forced to ride will not allow for them to have this luxury of "hands free". What a shame. This frame mentality is ruining part of the joy and comfort of cycling.
Don't we still see pro riders crossing the finish line with both hands pumping in the air when they win a race? Could it be this "style" has gone over board with the general cycling public? Bike shop owners and frame makers, who's wagging the tail, you guys, the manufacturers or the pro riders? When did a regular road bike start riding like a sprinters track bike?
Spring, Texas, USA