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  1. #1
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    forward pull reduces groin pressure, compensates for backpack weight

    Recently, I realized it is a good idea to grip the handle bars tightly and pull my torso forward with my arms. Not only does it remove much pressure from my groin area, it helps me go faster with less leg push. This is helpful to me in particular because I wear a backpack that varies from 5 to 50 pounds.
    I've thought about racks, but the backpack keeps my back in shape. Although backpacks hurt my shoulders when I'm walking around (vertical torso), they don't when I'm cycling (horizontal torso).

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Interesting. I actually find (and thought) it is important to ride relaxed (arms included) when possible. I injured my elbow (tendonitis) by pulling too hard continuously on the handlebar last year - it's taking a long time to recover.

    A backpack, when properly adjusted, rides primarily on the hips, rather than the back. Shoulder and upper back fatigue settles in pretty quickly if the backpack is riding too high, particularly when overloaded, so I can see why it might bother you when walking. Better backpacks position the load lower and closer to the hips, come with hip belts, sternum straps, etc. I'd personally go for racks on my bike if I was carry that much regularly.

    If you have that much pressure in the groin area, have you considered checking the fit of your bike or maybe the seat itself? I ride a Brooks leather saddle - very comfortable and it really allows me to sit on my "seat bones". For longer rides, I'll also wear a pair of light or moderate cycling shorts.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  3. #3
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    I moved to a thinner seat to reduce thigh-seat friction, but it's a hard seat.
    The pressure between my thighs isn't that bad. Without arm support, the pressure is tolerable. With arm support, there is next to no pressure.
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 11-04-13 at 08:07 PM.

  4. #4
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    I don't think the backpack "keeps your back in shape". If anything, it's delivering lots of compressive force to your spine. When you walk with a backpack, you have built in shock absorbers---your big leg muscles. Unless you're riding a double boinger MTB, your bike doesn't provide that. Every bump you hit results in that force traveling down your spine to your tailbone. Plus, if you happen to crash, any rigid items in your pack can damage your spine.

    Heavy loads call for on the bike carry, perhaps even a backpack that converts to a pannier.
    "When I'm on a bike, it's like I'm 14 again, racing off to the arcade with a pocket full of quarters."

  5. #5
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
    I don't think the backpack "keeps your back in shape". If anything, it's delivering lots of compressive force to your spine. When you walk with a backpack, you have built in shock absorbers---your big leg muscles. Unless you're riding a double boinger MTB, your bike doesn't provide that. Every bump you hit results in that force traveling down your spine to your tailbone.
    My back adjusted to the weight very quickly, and I stopped feeling fatigue in my back. I thought that, and the stiffening of my lower back, was a sign of strengthening.

    Plus, if you happen to crash, any rigid items in your pack can damage your spine.
    All the items are in a cardboard box, which makes it a level surface.
    You made me wonder if my bike locks could fly out the top and hit my head, but there seems to be enough friction holding the locks against my books. Plus, I wear a helmet.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    A hard seat - or perhaps more properly a "firm" seat - is generally better so that you can sit properly and not "sink" into the seat. I used to have a more comfort oriented seat on a hybrid bike - never liked it.

    One reason why humans have muscle-skeletal issues is partly because we are upright. Gravity acts in only one direction, and compresses everything down unless we counter it with proper posture, exercise, and diet. Animals that walk on all fours distribute the weight of their internal organs, etc. across two points of contact, and the spine acts more like a suspension bridge to cradle your torso.

    ... but I'm not sure if this analogy applies properly to a biking position in which your shoulders are still higher (significantly so most of the time) than your hips: you're not truly on "all fours" like most animals. Also, you're maintaining constant or near constant tension in your arms for extended periods of time. I don't know of any sport - competitive or recreational - that advocates constant tension: I suspect that after a while, you'll really feel the effects. Maybe you're a lot younger than me...

    Stiffening is not necessarily a sign of strengthening. You may not be feeling fatigue, but your body may also be compensating, and if you're young and in decent shape, your body can "absorb" a lot of abuse and not recognize the signs. A strong muscle is supple and flexible, rather than stiff.

    Well, at the end of day, you'll have to come to your own conclusions of course, but I think some of us want to make sure you take care of yourself!
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  7. #7
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    Well, I hardly ever get back pain. The last time I had back pain, it was because I had been sitting upright in a wooden chair for several hours straight. That was about a month ago. I can't recall anything prior to that.


    The last time I brought up this cardboard box thing, someone asked me if I had a picture of it. I still don't have a camera, but I made this image. The gray is the shape of the box. However, it wasn't originally one box. The boxes I had weren't deep enough, so I joined two boxes by facing the boxes into one another and pulling out the surface flaps. In the right image, one box is green, the other is yellow, and you can see where their flaps overlap. The packing tape wears over months, but I'm sure materials better than packing tape are available.

    The Element skateboarding backpacks are quite roomy, so I stuck with Element for my second backpack. I currently have the Ten Year.
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 03-10-13 at 04:35 PM.

  8. #8
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    Recently, I realized it is a good idea to grip the handle bars tightly and pull my torso forward with my arms. ... it helps me go faster with less leg push.
    Road racers call it riding "on the rivet"
    A rider who is riding at maximum speed. When riding at maximum power output, a road racer often perches on the front tip of the saddle, where the shell of an old-style leather saddle would be attached to the saddle frame with a rivet
    It allows you to put more power into the peddles by using slightly different position and muscles. It cannot be maintained for long periods of riding, but it does make for another good change in position during rides and added speed when desired.

    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    This is helpful to me in particular because I wear a backpack that varies from 5 to 50 pounds.
    I've thought about racks, but the backpack keeps my back in shape. Although backpacks hurt my shoulders when I'm walking around (vertical torso), they don't when I'm cycling (horizontal torso).
    Just riding a bicycle in a somewhat aero position will strengthen your back muscles. Thus the complaints of new riders about back pain. Your solution may be a better back pack (CamelBak military packs do the job well and have a good capacity - they are still designed with cycling also in mind) or switch to a messenger bag (lots of choices with each cyclist having their own favorite).
    http://shop.camelbak.com/Military-Ta...us-cargo/l/401
    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/messenger-bags.html
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  9. #9
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    Ok, I got a question since were taking about seats & associated pain from riding. Does any one have a problem with their "junk" getting in the way & being more than a handfull so to speak. I HATE IT when I'm in the zone & my junk finally causes me to stop peddleing to ajust my package.

    I'm no porn star mind you, but some days when I'm really trying to just get in a great burn, I just wish I could take the damn thing off & throw it in my bike trunk LOL.

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    50 lb backpack?? **** that **** -- do squats and Romanian deadlifts if you want to strengthen your back.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    The last time I brought up this cardboard box thing, someone asked me if I had a picture of it.
    I don't follow what the purpose of the box is for... you're trying to keep your items steady or unbroken during transit?
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  12. #12
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    I don't follow what the purpose of the box is for... you're trying to keep your items steady or unbroken during transit?
    *There are no hard items jutting out into my back.
    *The backpack's weight is evenly distributed between left and right.
    *My books don't get worn edges.

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    [Riding on the rivet] cannot be maintained for long periods of riding, but it does make for another good change in position during rides and added speed when desired.
    I don't maintain it for the whole ride, but I do it enough to reduce the pressure on my groin area.
    Thanks for the backpack links although my Ten Year is serving me well for now.
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 03-11-13 at 07:16 AM.

  13. #13
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    Recently, I realized it is a good idea to grip the handle bars tightly and pull my torso forward with my arms. Not only does it remove much pressure from my groin area, it helps me go faster with less leg push. This is helpful to me in particular because I wear a backpack that varies from 5 to 50 pounds.
    I've thought about racks, but the backpack keeps my back in shape. Although backpacks hurt my shoulders when I'm walking around (vertical torso), they don't when I'm cycling (horizontal torso).
    If the backpack is heavy enough to cause you saddle pain, I think that's a clear indication of needing to go to a pannier.

    Instead of sitting on a chair at work, switch to a yoga ball...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
    I don't think the backpack "keeps your back in shape". If anything, it's delivering lots of compressive force to your spine. When you walk with a backpack, you have built in shock absorbers---your big leg muscles. Unless you're riding a double boinger MTB, your bike doesn't provide that. Every bump you hit results in that force traveling down your spine to your tailbone. Plus, if you happen to crash, any rigid items in your pack can damage your spine.

    Heavy loads call for on the bike carry, perhaps even a backpack that converts to a pannier.
    I agree completely. I had some minor back pain and when I started using my MTB without panniers this winter I started carrying my stuff in a backpack. I noticed an increase in back pain right away. I'm sure my front suspension helped it to stay manageable, I can't imagine how bad my back would have been hurting if I rode my roadbike with a backpack every day. Without some kind of suspension system to alleviate shocks to your lower spine and pelvis, you're going to hurt yourself if you do this for several years. You really want to keep as much weight as possible off of your upper body when riding. It also helps lower your center of gravity which improves handling during emergency maneuvering.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haplorrhine View Post
    *There are no hard items jutting out into my back.*The backpack's weight is evenly distributed between left and right.*My books don't get worn edges.
    Ah well, that's interesting and curious. I can't say I've had a particular problem with items poking into my back with my better quality backpacks. I find the padding on my packs (I used to use MEC packs and now Tom Bihn) has been more than sufficient and I studied three degrees worth of engineering so I've carried my fair share of books and odd items, including exercise gear and bulky lunches.

    In fact, I find find some of the newer packs place the laptop away from the back panel. I believe the thinking is that since the back has a natural curve to it, placing a large, rigid item will not allow the pack to conform to the back easily; smaller items that can shift a bit will move under compression to fill in voids and thus better align with the curve. This might be a little less protection for the laptop but it's the tradeoff between ergonomics and protection. I'm not sure how rigid your box is and if that affects anything.

    As for distributing the weight from left to right, I guess a box would help, but would you still not have to somehow secure the load itself within the box from sliding from side to side if it isn't full?

    Worn edges? Seriously? Worn edges are good! That means the books have seen good use and that you're massively educated!
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

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    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Instead of sitting on a chair at work, switch to a yoga ball...
    It was at a Starbucks. I was studying.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    As for distributing the weight from left to right, I guess a box would help, but would you still not have to somehow secure the load itself within the box from sliding from side to side if it isn't full?
    No, any such minor shifts in balance are insignificant. I think having the various items on top of a single, flat, level, solid surface (the bottom of the box) makes the weight distribute evenly.
    You can still balance a load without a box, but adjusting each unique load isn't worth it when you can make a box from reused cardboard.
    Last edited by haplorrhine; 03-12-13 at 04:59 PM.

  17. #17
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    The only time I like gripping handlebars "tightly" is when I'm riding out of the saddle. I find my wrists take too much jarring if I grip tightly.

  18. #18
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    So, not really sitting on the saddle. but supporting more of your weight on your legs , and less of the weight
    on your Tush & Taint, is Better for the circulation down there , and you go a Bit faster?
    [because you have to do that for the weight shift, to continue, is that what I am to Gather ?

  19. #19
    Banned haplorrhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    So, not really sitting on the saddle. but supporting more of your weight on your legs , and less of the weight
    on your Tush & Taint, is Better for the circulation down there , and you go a Bit faster?
    I'm not sure it is better for circulation, but it feels like it's relieving stress from my behind.

    [because you have to do that for the weight shift, to continue, is that what I am to Gather ?
    Have to do what for the weight shift?

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