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Hi!

I've been cycling regularly for about five years now - every week day on a 12 mile round trip commute and longer rides (30-50 miles) on weekends. I started out on a mountain bike as that's what I had when I was younger, then I switched to a hybrid with skinny tires and the difference was amazing! So much lighter and faster.

As I've started doing longer weekend rides and am considering joining a club, last week I bit the bullet and bought my first road bike with drop handles, having never ridden drops before in my life, because the countryside where I cycle is very windy, and I've noticed when I try to crouch as much as possible on my hybrid, it really does make a difference.

Anyway, I had it fitted to me, and the position seems fine - no aches and pains, even when riding the drops. My hands hurt at first, but actually after 20 mins or so that stopped. I think I was just gripping to hard out of fear!

The problem I'm having is that after my hybrid, the bike just seems SO unstable! The steering is very sensitive and I just don't know where to hold the bars for the most stability, especially when going around corners or might need to brake suddenly.

I tend to feel most stable holding them at the top but that leaves me unable to reach the brakes, which is very scary for me. Even holding them almost on top of the brake leavers, I haven't got enough reach in my fingers and the only way I can brake effectively is if I ride in a drop position.

Also, when I was riding on a busy road (where traffic passes at around 60mph) I found the wind from the lorries would cause me to wobble - this doesn't happen on my hybrid which is almost as light and also has skinny tyres.

I'm determined to persevere, even though I know my rides will be scary rather than fun for a while, but in the mean time, I wonder if you have any advice about the best ways of holding the handlebars in different situations (cornering, in traffic/towns, going down hill fast, going up steep hills?)

And also if anyone had a similar experience when they were starting out on drop bars but love them now? And if so, how long did it take to get used to it?

Thanks in advance!

Keira
 

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Drop bars are an acquired skill.
My guess is you are leaning too much on your arms and putting too much of your weight on the front of the bike. Too much weight shift will make the bike unstable.
You aren't really supposed to do much more than hold on to the drops.

Stay away from lorries. That is the best thing there. Otherwise, hold on tight.
 

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I'm worried that you can't reach the brakes when riding with your hands on your hoods. This sounds like your stem is too long (or the top tube is if the stem is short). I can easily brake from my hoods, but I can brake harder in the drops. I know you said you were fitted to the bike, but it sounds like something is off if you can't brake from the top of your bars.

Also, what kind of bike is it? Some of the racier bikes have short wheelbases and fork angles that lead to the bike being naturally quicker handling.

I feel a lot more comfortable riding on the top of my bars in traffic, but if you can't brake from that position, that's probably not where you want to be. You never know what will pop out from where in a high-traffic environment. On sweeping, fast roads I prefer to be in the drops.

For steep hills, you want your hands on the top of the bars to help open up your checks and it also helps you recruit some of your lower back and glute muscles to aid in getting more power to the pedals. Hills, at least for me, are fairly slow, so the aero disadvantage of sitting more upright is negated.

Hope this helps you a little, Keira.
 

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Well my reaction would be to add an additional set of brakes where you can ride on the top of the bars and have brakes or ride on the hoods and reach the brakes.

Still did you put drops on a hybrid??? If it didn't come that way, it very well maybe part of the issue. A hybrid has different geometry than a road bike and that very well maybe causing some of your instability. One way to find out is to head over to the LBS and ask to test ride a road bike to compare.
 
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