Recumbent - Are recumbents right for those with back problems?
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A while ago my wife injured her syadic nerve with sandles. Under stress or trauma (which can be as simple as runnings across the street) she'll get pain for days from the sight of injury up her lower back [basically along the nerve]. The more she excersizes the less susceptible to pain she is.
Should she be concerned about riding a bike? If so, would a recumbent be right for her?
Both my husband and I have occasional sciatic flare-ups. Complications of this type of injury are what led us to stop driving a semi. Both of us ride a bent. I have often seen bents touted as *the* bike for those with back problems.
In my experience, the angle at which a seat back (on a bent, in a car or on a regular chair) tilts back is important (at least to me). Sitting tilted back at the wrong angle can cause me to have muscle spasms. My BikeE gives me no problem at all.
Different bikes have different seating positions. I'd suggest it's definitely worth a trip to the nearest place with a variety of bents to test ride, and spend some time riding different ones.
I highly recommend bents - they're fun to ride and fun exercise is the only kind I'll keep up...I have less back problems since I got my BikeE because I'm exercising and strengthening my leg and back muscles!
Thanks for the advice! So do regular bikes harm you both then? What is the cheapest recumbent? We are low income students without parent support :(
08-13-02, 09:29 PM
I think the least expensive I am aware of is a BikeE CT. It is a nice starter bent for about 500-600, depending on where you shop. You might consider a used bent to save a little more. www.hostelshoppe.com and www.bentrideronline.com have classified sections where people sell used bents. Also check out Ebay.
You might find a place where you can test ride or even rent one for a few hours to see if you like it. Most shops offer 90 days same as cash as well.
Thanks for the advice on price. My wife puts her foot down at 150$ so are other less bent bikes out of the question [in your experience]?
In that price range you'll probably be lucky to find a good used "regular" bike at a bike shop.
You might try getting recommendations of good makes of "regular" bikes and hitting garage sales, then taking it to a bike shop for reconditioning. However, if you do that, make sure you go to the bike shop *first* and find out what size and type work for her. DO NOT buy a $25 bike at a garage sale that's the wrong size for her just because it's cheap. My parents just couldn't understand why I didn't just take my brother's old 10 speed instead of spending money to buy a new bike...first of all, it's a 10 speed and I don't like them...second, he's a good 8 inches taller than me and I could barely reach the pedals. One size does NOT fit all - that's half the reason so many adults think they don't like to ride bikes (in my opinion)!
Good quality bikes (recumbent or regular) are expensive, just how expensive I didn't realize until I started looking for one. Initially I wasn't going to go with a 'bent because of cost, but when I saw that a starter bent was not much more money than a good quality hybrid (for commuting I needed something reliable), I decided to go for the bent. However, they're not as expensive as buying a low quality and possibly dangerous (poorly designed and assembled) bike at KMart or WalMart. I also considered the expense of buying a $150 bike and then never riding it because it hurt, or the frame broke, or the brakes didn't work right. A cheap bike might be "money down the drain" rather than frugal.
My suggestion would be to go to a bike shop that carries used bikes and see what they can do for you. Definitely try out different ones.
My husband and I are both college students (older ones, having gone back to school in our late 30's) so I know exactly what you mean about costs, but since I will be using my bike as transportation (we only have one car) I decided I needed a good quality bike I was comfortable on.
Go to bike shops and look around and try out different bikes. She may change her mind.
In my case, I had (have) a damaged disk which was repaired by surgery. My doctor said "No bicycles", period. Recumbents were allowed however.
Interestingly, the doctor rides a fully faired LWB and also has a Windcheetah trike. Since my surgery, I have built and ridden a SWB and trike. The trike has become my regular ride and the SWB is my indoor winter trainer. If you can swing it, a trike deserves consideration but the least expensive decent trike is around $2000.
08-21-02, 07:44 PM
My suggestion is to buy one new from a place that offers return privileges.
I don't actually have a diagnosed back condition, but I do have a certain amount of trouble with my back from time to time. It doesn't happen to me often, but if I sit in EXACTLY the wrong position on EXACTLY the wrong kind of chair, it can make my back hurt for weeks.
So, I WAS a little nervous about buying a bent.
For whatever it's worth, I bought the entry-level EasyRacers EZ-1SC, just over $500 new. I bought it from Harbor Cycles in Hingham, MA. (My ONLY connection with them is as a satisfied customer). I raised the question with the pleasant salesperson, and he said immediately that all their bikes had 30-day return privileges. I pressed him a bit on this, saying that I had had trouble with my back and saying, "I just want to be sure, because I MAY have to return it." And I asked him to write "30-day return privileges" on the sales slip and initial it. He didn't hesitate or so much as blink.
I don't know how many bike shops will do this for you, but I suspect many will. As it happens, I haven't had any problems, so I also can't say what REALLY would have happened if I'd brought it back after a month and tried to return it.
As I said, I haven't had any problems. Well, let me qualify that a bit. It's never good to sit in one position without moving for a long time. While you're actually riding a bent, you ARE pretty much sitting in one position. I'm a pretty casual cyclist; the longest ride I've taken so far was about an hour and a half, with breaks every half-hour or so. When I've been riding a half-hour and I get out and stretch, I have the feeling that my back is saying to me, "yes, it really WAS a good idea to take a break every half hour." But, so far, there hasn't been any problems or pain, neither right after the ride nor the next day.
I probably need to be careful to scrooge around a bit in the seat WHILE I'm riding.
08-21-02, 09:34 PM
Recumbents have made a big difference to my back! Comfortable and NO PAIN!! You won't regret it. No way I'd return to a "regular" bike. BTW, I found the EZ1 recumbent for $470 plus ship at www.recumbentsforsale.com maybeyou could find a used one on ebay. Good luck.
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