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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-08-10, 11:24 AM   #1
bigworm
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Friend with a surgically repaired back!

My freind had his back operated on a year or more ago. He still has issues with it. My question is, is there a road bike that he could get that would be easier for him on his back to ride. He is very interested in getting into riding and would like to start training to do some longer mile rides. He is 6' 4" and 240 - 250 lbs if that helps with the responses as well. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 04-08-10, 11:40 AM   #2
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It depends on his level of fitness and what kind of problems he is still having with his back. I am going to bet that a stiff road racing frame is going to be out. Jarring bumps to the back probably won't do him any good. I did see something interesting on the Continental Classic ride back in March, an older gentlemen with a Pinarello but he had put a suspension fork on the front of it. That coupled with a suspension seatpost might be enough suspension for your friend. Again, it goes back to his fitness level and his specific back problems. He should also check with his doctor.

Or I would look into just a hybrid right now preferably one with front and rear suspension. Let him try some out at all the shops to see how it feels to him to ride. Get comfortable riding first, train for miles later.
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Old 04-08-10, 11:46 AM   #3
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This is something where he's going to have to work with his doctor and a physical therapist. The important question here isn't "what kind of bike is best" but "how do we get this particular individual the core strength he needs to ride a bike safely given his back injury?"

Different people with the same disability can have wildly differing ability levels, pain tolerance, and recovery abilities. So it's really important to focus on what he can do and handle.
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Old 04-08-10, 05:35 PM   #4
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Your friend may want to consider some of the recumbent options that are out there. I'm also 6'4" but more like 275-lbs at the moment and after 15-min I start to experience back pain on my regular bikes, but I've spent over 4 hours in the saddle on my recumbent all the while pain free in my wrists, back, neck... etc. I ride an inexpensive Sun EZ-1 super cruiser for my long rides and it's been great for that.
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Old 04-08-10, 09:52 PM   #5
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I have back issues and find a road bike more comfortable for me than a hybrid. My theory is that leaning forward takes away a lot of the up and down pressure on the discs. I was relieved to find cycling because even walking would cause it to flare.

Like others have said, your friend and his doctor will have to figure out what's okay for him, but it's something to think about.
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Old 04-08-10, 10:06 PM   #6
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Perhaps some sort of full suspension or seatpost suspension to help avoid some of the shocks.

As mentioned, seating of a road bike may either relieve stress on the discs, or aggravate weakened muscles. A more upright mtb stance may either relieve weak damaged muscles and maintain more verticalpressure through the discs. If he has problems with both, then perhaps a recumbent is truly the answer.
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Old 04-08-10, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiarnon View Post
Perhaps some sort of full suspension or seatpost suspension to help avoid some of the shocks.
a Brooks Champion Flyer (b-17 with springs) might also be helpful taking the edge off the shocks
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Old 04-08-10, 11:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nola_Gal View Post
a Brooks Champion Flyer (b-17 with springs) might also be helpful taking the edge off the shocks
Probably not, those springs do not give except in the harshest of jolts.
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Old 04-09-10, 01:10 PM   #9
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I think all the others have had very valid points and I agree that your friend should talk to a PT. I have had 2 surgeries and riding is one of the ways I am able to stay active (running is not happening here). I rode a hybrid last year and was fine unless I was going over 25 miles. Then I started to get discomfort. I believe this was my core muscles being weak. So I started to do plank exercises and side plank exercises and my back feels better than it has in years. I have actually had no noticeable pain since December when I started the routine. (I am running to knock on wood)

Anyway, I am rambling and trying to say talk to a PT and see if your friend can increase his core strength. Then a hybrid or endurance style road bike may be OK for him.
BTW - 1 year post surgery is really not that much. I was told I needed at least 9-12 months to get back the strength I had when I was in good health. So maybe he is still on the road to recovery.
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