I have the opportunity to ride with a lot of US and European pros. As a bit
of self preservation and so they will invite me back to ride with them, a
question I often ask is 'what upsets you the most about people's riding styles?'
One thing they mention is cyclists not keeping a good grasp of their handlebars.
You have to remember that the pros ride their bikes for a living and if they
are not riding due to a crash, they are not fulfilling their contract. Which
means they try to avoid crashing as much as possible.
Well, duh? It sucks going down. But, there are a few things you can do to
minimize the occurrence and one the pros look for is how a rider grasps his/her
handlebars. They tell me that you should never just rest the palms on the tops,
your thumb or your fingers should always be hooked under the bars. This may
seem like a no-brainer. Keeping a good grip on the bars means that if you hit
an unforeseen bump, your hands won't go flying off and you won't go falling
However, when I am out riding I see a lot of recreational cyclists just resting
their hands on top of the bars. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to hold onto
the handlebars with a death grip. In fact, over-gripping the bars may be one
reason some riders rest their palms on the tops; they are giving their fingers
a much-needed break. Just keep either your thumb or several of your fingers
under the bars and apply enough grip to keep them there.
This issue is actually at the center of a court case in Scotland where a cyclist
on a group ride was seriously injured when the rider at the front of the
paceline crashed. The injured cyclist is maintaining that the lead rider in a
group has a responsibility to ride safely. Since the leader's hands flew off
the bars, causing the crash, he was clearly not riding safely.
I don't know if I would go as far as to take the matter to court, but I do
believe that, especially during group rides, everyone has the responsibility to
ride as safely as possible and that means keeping a good grip on your