Rocking sideways...

Dec 17, 2011
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kanazawa
#1
...Part of the Noob Chronicles

So today, on a short ride, I noticed that when I'm cycling there's a small sideways rocking motion. For example, if I try to go on a complete straight line, I'll probably fail due to the rocking and I always have to make minor adjustments with my upper body to compensate for this.

I assume this is a posture and proper set up problem. I've heard that the biggest cause for rocking sideways is a saddle set too high. However, if anything, I feel the saddle might be slightly set on the low side, so I don't really think that this can be the cause for it...

I do kind of feel that I'm slightly stretching forwards to reach the handlebars though, could this be related? Any comments/probable causes for such a phenomenon would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#2
I think the single biggest thing you can do about this is go to a good shop, pay the money and have yourself measured for a bike fit, or whatever they call it.
I had a very basic BioRacer fit done at Y's BYGs in Shinjuku (B1F). I went on a weekday morning and was able to just ask and it took about 30 minutes total.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi295.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fmm155%2FStuInTokyo%2Fcycling%2FBioRacer_Stu_May_7_2011.jpg&hash=4ae07fe5d222a25eba07cf7fc517ef48


That is a scan of the paper they gave me after the bike fit. Total cost 1000 yen. Wear the shoes you usually wear, and the kit you wear too. They will ask you some questions, like what kind of riding you do, or plan to do, commuting, racing, etc. A very good investment of 1000 yen. The you can break out a tape measure and see where your bike is for fit. Without this kind of info, or you standing here in front of me with your bike, there is not much else I can offer in advice that would be only a guess.

I hope this helps!

Cheers!
 
Dec 17, 2011
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kanazawa
#3
Ah, that paper...

Well, they did measure me up at Y's when I bought the bicycle (that's when I saw that same paper but I can't seem to find it anywhere) but.. the fitting was actually pretty bad, so cramped, I felt I was riding a mamachari! I guess something went horribly wrong when they set it up for me :eek:
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#4
Ah, that paper...

Well, they did measure me up at Y's when I bought the bicycle (that's when I saw that same paper but I can't seem to find it anywhere) but.. the fitting was actually pretty bad, so cramped, I felt I was riding a mamachari! I guess something went horribly wrong when they set it up for me :eek:
OK, but with the paper, you the bike and a tape measure we can make some solid recommendations :D
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#6
Stu, what's that formula for saddle height?

0.83 of your specially measured inseam?

eimaiosatanas--measuring your inseam for a bike isn't all that hard to do with another person's help, maybe just start with that. Get your measurement, multiply times the above fraction (or the correct fraction if that's not it!), and set your saddle accordingly.

Ride that for a while, see if the rocking changes, and then try a bit higher and lower to confirm the height.

Some rocking is due to a casual riding style--your seat height might be okay, but you're being lazy. You need to hold your pelvis still and put the energy into your legs.

**

Edo...man: See the river on this? http://connect.garmin.com/activity/116539871

Where I hit the river you can go up or down. I think eimaiosatanas is just downriver from there (downriver is a really nice 13km each way on the levee, upriver is longer on normal/nice roads). The wx's changing and riding along there is too nice to be thinking about rollers.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#7
you are new to this whole cycling thing - have you thought it is because you haven't learnt to counter balance the more powerful force of your lead leg?

You see this wobble in children learning to ride a bike - basically as the lead leg is more powerful they tend to power the bike one sided and thus the 'swerve" or in your case the "wobble"

Try pedaling as smothly as you can with the same amount of power in both legs and see if this corrects it.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#8
I was about to say the same kind of thing as FarEast.

I think this is merely a case of you not having enough muscular power to control your bike.

I mean this in no mean way at all, please understand. You just need to get into it more and build up a muscle base.
 
Dec 17, 2011
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kanazawa
#11
Thank you people for the insight.

Stu, the paper now I think is long gone: they probably never even put it together with all the other purchase papers/instruction booklets...so, now it's gone forever :(

Edogawakikoman, the tiny student appartment that I currently live in is barely enough to fit my stuff. Rollers are not an option right now, and as jdd said, lots of space to ride here (well, at least when the weather is good)!

FarEast and Owen, yeah, maybe I still suck ... quite a bit! I will try to stick to it for a couple of months, focusing on the strokes and keeping the pelvis straight (thanks jdd). If there's no change to it, then I'll hit some LBS shop for fitting.

Noob problems :(
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
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kanazawa
#12
you are new to this whole cycling thing - have you thought it is because you haven't learnt to counter balance the more powerful force of your lead leg?

Try pedaling as smothly as you can with the same amount of power in both legs and see if this corrects it.
I wasn't even aware of the concept of a "lead" leg! :eek:

maybe you are also pushing too big a gear?
With "the big cadence thread" and "spin to win" comments, I do try to use lighter gears, but not yet systematically. I guess more time on the bike is needed!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#13
That's lead as in leader not the very heavy metal ;) Basically its the leg that you favour and normally has a slightly larger muscle mass.

Mine used to be my right leg but after I broke my knee it switched to my left - which did wonders for my riding :D
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#15
Another good exercise to do on the road is to try and stay on the white paint line and pedal as smooth as you can...
And nothing wrong with rocking left and right when you are climbing out of the saddle... pump your arms like Cadel! As long as your body is not rocking left and right you'll be pumping the bike forward.
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
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Suginamiku
#17
I was watching this triathalon guy in the gym recently. He was really pedalling hard on fairly low resistance but swaying like crazy. It struck me as a very ill disciplined and loose form of cycling. I could see that he was trying very hard, but I got the impression that he didn't have much experience of extended cycling. As he was swaying he probably thought it represented hard effort; it just looked like a waste to me.

There is a TV set right in front of the bike in the gym. If I angle it correctly I can monitor myself for sway. I concentrate on this a lot, trying to force everything through my legs.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#18
If you are swaying then you are loosing an incredible amount of power - riders that perfect hip isolation and core isoloation will find that they ride faster and longer due to the less energy exerted.

If you watch the top guys sprint or climb you'll notice that they hardly rock the bike - the bike stays pretty much horizontal between their legs - its only till later on in the sprint where there legs are jelly that you get the famous rocking.
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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Kochi
#19
I was watching this triathalon guy in the gym recently. He was really pedalling hard on fairly low resistance but swaying like crazy. It struck me as a very ill disciplined and loose form of cycling. I could see that he was trying very hard, but I got the impression that he didn't have much experience of extended cycling. As he was swaying he probably thought it represented hard effort; it just looked like a waste to me.
Was he on the tri-bars at the same time? ;)

I see it all the time with the mama-chariot riders tackling the bridges here. Personally, I`m just too lazy to waste precious energy on any movement that doesn`t help propel the bike forward.
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
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Suginamiku
#20
Was he on the tri-bars at the same time? ;)
No, but he was kind of in the low leaned over posture. The point that gave it all away was that he was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt with some triathalon race name written on it. Without that I would have had no means to describe him.

For some people, swaying looks cool.