Actually, I'd disagree that it's the geometry of modern racing bikes. I've ridden plenty of them and even have one, although my favorite bike for long rides is an on-topic Raleigh. They are plenty stable, and tend to be easier to ride no-handed than my Raleigh. The problem that many riders have with riding one-handed in a race is that the most stable way of doing it is to put your one hand on the tops of the bar near the stem, from which position you can't feather the brakes should you need to. It takes a lot of trust and security to be willing to take your hands away from the brakes in the middle of a pack (especially in a women's race where they often combine all categories, and as a result there's a wide range of skill levels and some people are in rather over their heads), and many riders have been taught that it's bad to hold onto the hood with one hand. Anyway, I suspect it's more an issue of her comfort level than the front-end geometry of the bike. And you'd be amazed at how many women who race are very nervous about that sort of thing. I haven't raced in a couple of years, but I am a cat 3 and it never ceases to amaze me how many women (and men too, for that matter) race and train seriously but have no confidence at all in their handling skills and a very low comfort level with pack riding, bad pavement, riding no hands, drinking while riding, etc. And I've been in some race situations where I would certainly not take one hand off the bars, regardless. Actually though, I've met a surprising number of brevet riders who feel insecure about that, and they aren't even riding in packs. I can't imagine riding brevets without being able to ride hands-free sometimes. It's so much easier to open bars with both hands, or sit up and have a bar in one hand and a bottle in the other, or sit up and stretch, add/remove clothing, fiddle with the cue sheet, etc, without having to stop. But I even met riders on PBP who said they never or rarely ride hands-free (or don't know how to) and don't even like taking one hand off the bars. So in this case, I wouldn't pin it on the geometry of the bike at all; it may be that race dynamics have changed so that there are more situations where you can't really afford to take one hand off the bars, but I don't think the handling characteristics of the bikes have anything to do with it.
Emily O'Brien Medford, MA
> -------Original Message-------
> From: Kenneth Freeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: [CR]Re: thread on change in styles
> Sent: 01 Feb '08 18:31
> I have a friend in one of the LBS, who races CX and road events locally,
> in her mid-20s (half my age!). While talking about getting some OT
> handlebars and how I'm not going to friction shift this bike, she said she
> can't imagine riding without both hands on the bars, and that there is
> instability if she takes one off for much other than drinking water. This
> seems new! My more classic frames, 1980 Masi and 1982 or so Mondonico, can
> easily be controlled and ridden with one hand, and I have nowhere near her
> skill and fitness level.
> She feels she needs this constant positive control in the peleton, but
> won't have it if she releases a hand.
> This change in riding style may be driven by different geometry, in turn
> driven by not needing to let go of the 'bars. I assume she rides a (ot)
> Specialized Tarmac or something, maybe an Orbea.
> Ken Freeman
> Ann Arbor, MI USA
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Emily O'Brien <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
> Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:36:02 PM
> Subject: [CR]Re: Classicrendezvous Digest, Vol 61, Issue 103
> > I'd factor in huge improvements in road surfaces. I've had guys INSIST
> > PX-10 is a "touring" geometry and not racing! That shows you how
> angles, top
> > tube lengths and fork rakes have changed as road surfaces have
> improved. How
> > many modern cyclists even know why racing cyclists wore goggles up to
> > the mid 1950s?
> Another difference is how pro races work, and how the format has changed.
> Stages of the Tour de France have gotten shorter, but they've also gotten
> faster. When it started, support wasn't allowed at all; now those guys
> don't even take a piss without help. They don't have to ride for nearly as
> long at a stretch, but they have to go a lot faster.
> > When you look at old bikes, you begin to realize that much of the
> > technology changed because riding styles changed, and on the other
> > hand, riding styles changed because technology changed.
> Those are the things I'm curious about; after all, it's always a two way
> It does make me speculate about how the geometry or ride styles from
> different periods might suit different riders or body types in different
> ways. Seat tube angles, for example, will vary partly with the usage,
> partly with style over time, but partly with the biomechanics of an
> individual rider's leg and the requirements of what they're doing.
> I'm not so much interested in any one period in particular; just whatever
> periods people care to talk about.
> Emily O'Brien
> Medford, MA