How to Ride a Bike without Holding On to the Handlebars

With some courage and practice, you can be casually stretching both of your arms over your head or peeling open an energy bar with both hands as you cruise along on your bike.

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They say you never forget how to ride a bike -- but here are some cycling tips you may not have learned the first time around.

You Will Need

  • Bicycle
  • Helmet
  • Practice

Steps

  1. Riding a bike with no hands can be dangerous, and in some places may be illegal. Practice in an open space free of obstacles. Always wear safety gear including a helmet and ride on designated bike paths away from traffic.

  2. Step 1

    Start riding

    Start riding your bike on a long, straight path at a medium speed. Be sure to wear a properly fitted helmet.

  3. A moderate speed is key. Go too slow and you will wobble and lose your balance. Go too fast and you won't be able to perceive obstacles in time to avoid them.

  4. Step 2

    Keep pedaling

    Keep your feet rotating the pedals and keep looking ahead at the road as you execute the next move.

  5. Step 3

    Lift hands

    As you pedal, gently push both hands off the bars at the same time and sit up straight.

  6. Sitting up straight is critical -- if you hover your whole body over the front of the bike, you will lose your balance. But, until you are comfortable, keep your arms extended in front of your body, ready to grab the bars again.

  7. Step 4

    Pedal

    Once you have lifted your hands successfully, you will need to keep pedaling to maintain momentum. Once you are comfortable keeping your balance you can try coasting, too.

  8. Step 5

    Adjust balance

    Squeeze your inner thighs against the bike seat and frame to keep the center of gravity and realign or steer the direction of the bike.

  9. Step 6

    Steer

    Steer with no hands by shifting your weight and leaning the bike rather than turning the handlebars.

  10. Step 7

    Practice

    Practice sitting up straight and relaxed as you ride with no hands for longer and longer intervals. Before you know it, you'll be able to dodge potholes and take off your jacket -- all while riding with no hands.

  11. Staying upright with no hands is possible partly because bicycle wheels suspended between the metal forks are like gyroscopes -- when spinning fast, they will stay in the same plane of rotation unless acted upon by an outside force.

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