So I am riding through the park this afternoon, on my 24" with the fancy leather-wrapped handlebar. I am concentrating on practicing my holding on to the handlebar, after having had a conversation here with another rider who mentioned that he grips the bar with both hands 99% of the time, and that the only way to learn to hold on with both hands is to . . . hold on with both hands.
It is a different skill from just riding and flailing. So as I am figuring out this new riding style, I pedal past two boys in their mid-teens walking the other way. They are dumbstruck to see me on one wheel, and the older one gathers his courage and pipes up, “How come you don’t fall off?” He was quite earnest and serious, not making fun of me at all. As I leave them behind I shout back my explanation, “I just hold on very tight.”
Nobody is pushing their seat side to side at 100 rpm to avoid wobbling. Handlebars are there to give you a more comfortable sitting position, take some weight off your butt, give you a more aero position, give your back a rest.
Wobble is mostly a gyroscopic effect that comes from pushing down on the pedals. Smoother pedaling can help, less pedal Q-factor helps, leaning forward onto the bars should help (increases your rotational inertia). But not pushing back and forth on the bars in time to your pedaling.
Thank you, that’s useful grist for the mill, and reinforces some of what I have been doing, like hovering the free hand over the handlebar. There is only one point where we diverge. I do not see using a handlebar like the Nimbus Shadow as the culmination of the process. I find it far easier to hold on to a long handlebar, which stretches the body out and allows for much more “body English” than to bring all the limbs to one point at the front of the saddle. So my advice would be, start with a good handlebar set from day one, once you have mastered basic riding, of course.
I look at handlebars as a solid point that I can push or pull myself (a combination of me and the uni) around to achieve a better balance point when it’s out.
It’s much more efficient than not using your arms.
Imagine playing peekaboo around a pole. You grab the pole to enable yourself to go faster to be in view and then out of view and also to know exactly where your body is. Much faster than not using your hands.
That’s why I use mine so much for muni though I prefer a much more upright stance so I’m closer to a walking or running position.