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October 2002, Week 2


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telenaut <[log in to unmask]>
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Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 11 Oct 2002 14:33:35 -0400
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Or, I guess there's a question in here somewhere, but I'm not sure I've got
the vocabulary to pose it.

It has to do with a little practice game I've been playing on my bike for
the last couple of years. I spend a lot of time in my daily rides stopped at
red lights, and ever since our (insert sarcastic adjective here) hero of an
ex-mayor Rudy started giving out bike tickets, I've been using the stop
lights as a chance to practice balance. I stand there, stationary, feet on
the pedals, long as I hafta till the light turns green.

There are different techniques. (All involve turning the front wheel.) When
first learning, I'd squeeze on the brakes and apply weight to the front
foot, so I'm pedaling against the brakes. It's that balance of two forces
that offers stability. (Rough on the brake pads, though!)

Gradually I found that a slight incline made everything a lot easier. Turn
the wheel into the incline and pedal just hard enough so that forward
pedaling force exactly balances downhill gravity. No brakes. (Sorta like in
a standard transmission, stopped on a hill, you can let out the clutch just
enough to not need the brakes.)

But the interesting part has to do with how much you turn your front wheel
and how much you allow the bike to lean. Say it's uphill to your right, and
you've got the wheel turned to the right. In general, if you're tipping over
to the right, you want to turn your wheel harder to the right, and vice
versa. (You can also self-correct by letting up on the pedal pressure and
allowing yourself to roll backwards--but that's a separate topic.)

The thing I've been playing with most recently is the whole infinite scale
there is, all in the same statioary position--stay with me now--of balancing
more or less gravity against more or less pedal pressure. Incline's still up
to your right. You can turn the wheel harder to the right, dialing up the
gravity, and push harder on the pedal*, and stay balanced. Or you can turn
the wheel closer to straight, dialing down the gravity, and lighten up on
the pedal and stay balanced. And anywhere in between. Also, with hard
gravity and hard pedal, you lean the bike right more. Soft and soft, you
come closer to straight up. And--this is the part I've been striving for--if
you lighten up all the way, you can remove all pressure from the pedals,
just balancing front and back feet "between" the gears, with the bike hardly
leaning at all. That's a sweet feeling.

But soft and soft takes much more finesse than hard and hard--which leads to
my list question: any folks care to elaborate on how this range of balancing
points and turns might apply to skiing?



*pushing always on the front foot, which is what is ruining my dream tele
form these nights.

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