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Old 04-30-05, 10:40 PM   #1
Richard Arthur
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I am curious if anyone is experiencing the type of back pain that began to deal me misery toward the end of last year. I can ride for 20-30 miles at tempo pain free. At about that point I begin to feel the lower back getting tighter. Riding fast paced for long duration especially with head winds or big climbs it evolves to more of a cramp than a pain, causing me to stop with good legs/bad back . I am a certified personal trainer, phys. ed major and have made training progressive on a lift/ride every other day basis. I have a good endurance base coming from running to duathlons to riding. I also have done much expermenting with bike position and think I have the bike set. Any suggestions for cause or cure. THANKS!!
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Old 05-01-05, 02:05 AM   #2
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Something is obviously causing a problem on the bike, and is it your bike set up? Should not be as it has not caused a problem up till now, but have you fitted or changed anything on the bike recently?

I have 3 bikes that I ride, one of which is a Tandem. I have my stoker position all set up for me and is comfortable, however, by just changing the saddle height I can ride on the front, with even more comfort than I am on the back. This is a bike build problem as the stoker compartment is smaller. My pilot however cannot ride on the back for more than 5 miles before he has crippling back pain, and is does stop the ride.
See if you can borrow a bike from some one else of around your size. It will be set up different to your normal riding position and see if the back pain improves or worsens. At least you will be able to say that it is or is not your bike set up.
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Old 05-01-05, 04:06 AM   #3
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Maybe this will help;
http://camwest.pps.com.au/news/bicycle_fit.html
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Old 05-01-05, 04:48 AM   #4
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I have lower back pain that has been nearly eliminated through stretching. A great and inexpensive stretching handbook is by Bob Anderson, 'Stretching'. About $10-12 dollars at Overstock.com and Amazon.com.

You do not need to do all of the exercises in the book, over 200 pages, just the ones for your back. I do a 3-4 minute routine starting on page 26. In a week or two I was vastly improved. I stretch before every ride, and probably should do a session afterwards as well.
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Old 05-01-05, 05:33 AM   #5
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Hi,
1) Try riding for an hour, and then taking a little break. Stretch a little, have a coffee or a banana or something.
2) Strengthen the midsection
3) Google 'Raise dat stem'
4) Keep the same length stem, but try one with more of an angle.
5) If you don't have a Ti railed saddle (or any saddle that absorbs some shock)... get one.
6) Just for the heck of it, try one ride with your saddle a couple MM lower.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:20 PM   #6
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Switching to a hybrid with a more uprght position, relaxed, may give you the comparision that you need. That way you will be able to rule out the body versus the bike.
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Old 05-01-05, 07:29 PM   #7
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One other thing: there were times when I had lower back pain and it stayed with me for a few weeks. I never knew how, whether it was from a combination of bike riding and some other activity like lifting or twisting. It hurt so bad that I had to put a rolled up towel on the small of the back while driving. I stopped riding for a week to give it a rest. But in time it went away.
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Old 05-02-05, 07:45 AM   #8
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I've gotta' go with the raise the stem comment. It might also help to run larger diameter tires.

My bike #1 causes very moderate back pain, rides from 20-40 miles. It is a 10 year old Trek 2200, carbon tubes aluminum lugs/rear triangle. It has the old school quill stem, the bars are 2-3" lower than the saddle.

I just bought bike #2, a Lightspeed Tuscany with a 6 or 10 degree rise, and the bars are even with the saddle. Everything you've ever read about titanium is not a myth. It's like riding on a cloud. I can see the road cracks and chip seal, but I can't feel them. Even the most severe jolt doesn't deliver an "ooomph." Yesterday I did 32 miles on #2, and my back loosened up and feels better than it has in 2 weeks. I don't think it's a coincidence. How much is the higher stem and how much is the titanium frame is debatable, but I think the stem probably helps the most (tires are 700x23).

This week I'm raising the stem as high as it will go on bike #1, and changing from 700x21 to 700x26.

I'll report my findings after the weekend, I plan at least 2 35+ mile rides on it over the 4 dayer I've got coming up
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Old 05-12-05, 10:07 PM   #9
Richard Arthur
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Have been away so could not update your replys. Thanks very much for the input. I am looking and all options. The web site berny provided has proven very educational. I would recommend it to all. Thanks again.
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Old 05-14-05, 08:48 AM   #10
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Recumbents, recumbents, recumbents. It is true what they say about bents. Pains go away.

I have a herniated disk which gives me back pain if I ride for a mile or two in a DF. On my bent I can ride till my legs give out.
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Old 05-14-05, 06:08 PM   #11
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Lots of good advice here. What worked for me: A stretching and strengthening program from a chiropractor. If the chiro idea gives you the creeps, a good physical therapist could also give you a program specific to your situation. My own experience has been that MDs seem to know less about backs than either of the above.
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Old 05-29-05, 04:23 PM   #12
Bob Gabele
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One thing to consider...After considering stretching (an important option), and bike setup, I still have a situation that I deal with in my lower back. One of my legs is about 3/4" shorter than my other. I have dealt with this all my life, through all kinds of athletics but now that I'm 54, it's beginning to wear on me. It dawned on me that with one leg so much shorter than the other, my seatpost was probably too low for the right leg (the longer one) in order to accomodate my left.

I called up the guys at Greg Lemond Fitness Inc. and ordered their Le Wedge product. With this, I build up my left leg about 1/2 " and then was able to take my seatpost up. It worked for me and the pain went away quickly. If you have a similar leg discrepancy, this could be part of the problem...most people do have different leg lengths, albeit not as exaggerated as mine. The wedges also can be used to provide pedal angle to your legs/feet. Lemond has a whole brochure describing this application.
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Old 05-30-05, 07:10 AM   #13
Richard Arthur
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Thanks Bob, I never thought to consider this. I will check out the website you referenced. I have raised my stem to even with my seat and things seem to be getting a little better, but definitely have not dissappeared. It may be a slow process. Have also been sitting straight up riding no hands when I feel the pain begining which seems to help a lot. Just need to not dump my body on the pavement. Thanks again!!
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Old 05-31-05, 03:47 PM   #14
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Chris Carmichael suggested some stretches during OLN's Giro broadcasts. His site may have more suggestions. Even though I'm just a baby in this group (I'm only 46), I have experienced what you are talking about as well. Three years ago, when I was really a pup with less than ideal mileage in my legs, I road a double metric century. When I got off 10 hours later, I was almost permantly in my riding position. Raising my stem has helped. If you're like me, you can never stretch your hamstrings enough. Also, of what I've read, crunches and ab work are also extremely important. More and more, I really learn how important stretching really is. When I'm in the saddle, I stretch by dropping my heals while I'm clicked in. Another one is to grab the brake hoods and arch your back up like an angry cat. Hope these help. Recumbents help as well, but I'm not ready to trade in my trusty road steed.
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