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Are you a "hands in the air" person or a "holding on tight" person when riding?

Hands in the air or holding on tight?

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Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. When riding a coaster, you need to do something with your hands during the ride. Most people tend to do one of two things; either throw their hands up in the air, or hold onto the grab rail provided. So my question to you today is; are you typically a "hands in the air" person or a "holding on tight" person when riding? Or do you do neither, and do something else entirely? Or does it depend on the ride?

Personally, I'm actually a holding on tight person. I've always liked having something to hold onto on a ride for some reason; I don't know quite why, but it just makes me that tiny bit more comfortable for some reason.

But are you a "hands in the air" person or a "holding on tight" person, or are you neither?


Strata Poster
I'm mostly a hands in the air type personally, especially if the coaster has lapbars. If I'm unlucky enough to find myself on a coaster with OTSRs, because of the tight space, I just hold on really.

I imagine it's different for others but I just like the sensation of airtime and hang time with my hands up, for me it seems to amplify it. Plus it's just quite fun and freeing!

Rob Coasters

Mega Poster
If anything I end up being more of a "hands on my lap" type guy for the majority of rides, but when it's something genuinely fun my hands are going straight up.
The only major coaster to make me hold on in recent memory was my first ever ride on Odyssey at Fantasy Island (though subsequent rides were hands up or on lap).

Ironically family coasters make me hold on more often than major coasters. Tidal Wave at Clarence Pier and Crazy Caterpillar at Pettitts Animal Adventure Park had me clutching the restraint on their ejector drops of doom.

If anything, most of me holding on to restraints of major coasters is just me "seeing how it would feel" (usually detracts from the intensity of the ride significantly) then going straight back up to hands up half a second later.


Mega Poster
It really depends on the ride. If I think it's going to be rough then I'm usually bracing myself. Then I will have my hands up on some rides, or at least have them up for portions of the ride. But 90% of the time, I just have my hands in my lap.

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Mega Poster
If the ride:

1. Has lap bars

2. I don’t need to brace myself due to roughness, jerkiness, or violent transitions

3A. Meets a minimum threshold of thrill
3B. Is so hilariously tame that I must throw my hands up to hide/embrace the shame…

then I’m a hands in the air person.

If the ride does not meet the above criteria then I am most likely holding on for dear life, or sitting calmly to enjoy a relaxing ride.


Mega Poster
If the ride:

1. Has lap bars

2. I don’t need to brace myself due to roughness, jerkiness, or violent transitions

3A. Meets a minimum threshold of thrill
3B. Is so hilariously tame that I must throw my hands up to hide/embrace the shame…

On other rides, which do still meet (2), I am usually sitting there with my hands on my lap and just enjoying the ride for what it is. If it does not fit 2, I will turn it into a white knuckle ride and hope that the pain I am causing to myself is strong enough, so I don't feel the bashing from the ride anymore.


Giga Poster
Yeah, depends on the ride / restraint / roughness.

With OTSRs, I tend to fold my arms round the restraint as I find this most comfortable (especially on B&M coasters with snappy transitions). There's not very much room for hands in the air with OTSRs.

Arms in the air will usually be on coasters with lapbars that aren't incredibly rough (this is the only time I'll usually hold/brace for impact).


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
Weirdly depends on the ride. Obvious airtime machines with lap bars are often hands up, anything with OTSR, I don’t mind just holding onto the handles.

But I’ll also do this thing if I’m riding solo on Arrows or woodies, where I’ll put my arm across the empty seat like I’m on a couch during the slow sections or turn arounds? I dunno, I just do what’s comfortable.


From CoasterForce
Staff member
Social Media Team
I’m a hands in lap person (“riding politely”), but I often stretch my arms up in anticipation of airtime hills/moments. Guess I feel that reaching upwards will make me more aerodynamic or something, or pull my gut in to get my arse an extra millimetre off the seat.


Mega Poster
My experiences on Skyrush and other painful restraints make me always try to hold them up if i can, but I don't have too much of a preference.


Theme Park Superhero
The boring vote - depends, there's a method for all occasions really.

Obviously defensive riding is a thing for the likely ear knobblers - they're a hold on tight. Usually just the one arm on an OTSR is enough I find, but if it gets real bad the second will be deployed.
I'm not often one to hands up straight away on a new experience, for something major I'll usually just take a lap or two to get a feel for it in 'vanilla mode', arms gently resting somewhere comfortable, including decent rides with shoulder restraints - I don't like to hold on if I can help it.
After that it's fun to mix it up, sometimes you have to get creative with a marathon. I'll always hands up as I warm into something special and start to display my appreciation for a ride a little more, but as already mentioned ragdolling or stretching in anticipation of certain moments can also be good, amongst other things.


Hyper Poster
Hands in the air mostly.
It does depend on the ride, but far more often than not hands up.

For the life of me I was unable to keep hands on with Cannibal's first drop. I even tried to force myself....and like instinctively I grabbed for the restraint at least at first. That thing was wild. Some wooden ones I hold on the whole time just for self preservation lol Voyage was one. I did keep hands up for a while but I found the ride was just more fun holding on.


Hyper Poster
Generally hold on the first time I ever ride something - to suss it out, as I've jarred my back or bashed myself before whilst being over zealous and getting caught out by unexacting transitions.

On smooth airtime machines such as Shambala and Silver star I'll have hands in the air the whole time, twisty rides like Taron or GCI woodies I tend to brace a bit more!


Mega Poster
I usually end up tucking myself in a ball, it used to be because I was terrified but now I just find it more comfortable


Strata Poster
If the ride is good, thrilling, and comfortable, hands up for the most part. There may be some situations where I'll let my hands down in valleys or in between airtime hills. Twisted Timbers is a great example with its three camelbacks: let my arms fall in the valley, and throw them up over the airtime.

I'll also put them down for calmer sections of coasters: such as turnarounds on classic wooden, or perhaps towards the end of an otherwise thrilling ride, like Mako's final few turns.

If comfort is compromised, such as any significant roughness or shakiness, I'm bracing myself. Things like old Vekomas, Arrows, some Gerstlauers, Kingda Ka, rough woodies, etc.

If it's a family coaster, happy to keep my hands down and enjoy the ride: e.g. Firechaser, Hagrid's, mine trains, etc.


Strata Poster
Depends on the ride entirely.

Airtime machine? Hands up all the way.

Multi-looper? Holding on to try and stop my head clattering side to side.

Anything else? Usually just leave my arms hanging loose.

Exceptions - wild mice, I'm hanging on like a mother ****er. And GIB's - you're lucky if I open my bloody eyes.