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  1. #1
    Junior Member blove's Avatar
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    degenerative arthritis and arthritis

    Posted this in the Training and health section but thought might get better response from the 50+ group as you guys are closer to my age.

    I'm looking for advice concerning bike riding with degenerative arthritis of the spine and arthritis in the knees and hips. I'm 63 and really want to start bike riding as I loved it as a youth and need to start exercisine. I have back pain now from the "A" in one of my discs..and my knees also will occasionnaly "pop" fromt the "A" in them. But I need to exercise and running and walking are currently out of the question. What type of bike/bikes would be recommended for someone like me?



    tks in advance for any help given.



    Blove- Austin Tx

  2. #2
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    There are so many variables that can have a tremendous impact on one's comfort and abilities while riding. Let me give you an example related to backs and arthritis. I have one friend who finds that with his lower back arthritis he is only able to tolerate a road bike with drop bars that, in effect, stretch out his back. If he attempts to ride in a more upright position, the body weight on his spine as he is seated causes problems when riding. Another rider I know is just the opposite. Being stretched out is not something he is even capable of doing (although some of this may be the result of general loss of flexibility and not the arthritis).

    What I would recommend is that you find a bike shop that will allow you to test ride numerous styles and types of bikes. A reputable shop should be willing to help you find a bike that will work for you. Keep in mind, however, that if you are successful and starting riding regularly, you might easily find that what was comfortable when you started grows less comfortable as your body becomes more accustomed to riding. Therefore, I wouldn't spend a great deal on the first bike, because you're likely to want a different one in the not too distant future.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    Junior Member blove's Avatar
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    NOS88 - Sounds like very sound advice. Thanks for your response and wisdom. It has been many years since I have ridden, and that was when I was young and no back problems. I will seek out a reputable bike shop here in Austin and after I've tested a few..I'll let all know what I found. Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    Good advice from NOS88 -- you really won't know 'til you try (out different bicycle types). I've almost exactly the same set of issues, at age 57 Have the A (osteo) in knees, hips, thumbs/hands, and (now) spine (just suffered/diagnosed with compressed disc L4/5).

    Generally, given proper positioning, including esp. saddle position, knees/hips won't be a problem provided you work up slowly. But spine/back a different issue, and what everyone prefers/tolerates seems to be different. For example, I've always preferred a semi-upright position, the kind one has on a x-country mtb, and prefer flat bars, but ... my dr. and physio are now suggesting that once I get control of the disc problem I may well want to try adapting to a more 'road' position for precisely the reasons NOS88 suggests re. friend -- to extend the back slightly and to help avoid 'jolts' travelling straight up through saddle into lower back.

    Seems almost counterintuitive, but we'll see. As long as I can avoid a recumbent, or riding full-suspension on the road, I'll do whatever it takes.

    At any rate, ride; for me, at least, there is no substitute.

  5. #5
    Junior Member blove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
    Good advice from NOS88 -- you really won't know 'til you try (out different bicycle types). I've almost exactly the same set of issues, at age 57 Have the A (osteo) in knees, hips, thumbs/hands, and (now) spine (just suffered/diagnosed with compressed disc L4/5).

    Generally, given proper positioning, including esp. saddle position, knees/hips won't be a problem provided you work up slowly. But spine/back a different issue, and what everyone prefers/tolerates seems to be different. For example, I've always preferred a semi-upright position, the kind one has on a x-country mtb, and prefer flat bars, but ... my dr. and physio are now suggesting that once I get control of the disc problem I may well want to try adapting to a more 'road' position for precisely the reasons NOS88 suggests re. friend -- to extend the back slightly and to help avoid 'jolts' travelling straight up through saddle into lower back.

    Seems almost counterintuitive, but we'll see. As long as I can avoid a recumbent, or riding full-suspension on the road, I'll do whatever it takes.

    At any rate, ride; for me, at least, there is no substitute.

    Thanks Badger....I was actually thinking about a recumbent...think you might have changed my mind as I was fearful of the jolts from upright,,,,think I'll first try to extend the back somewhat. Gotta get down to the local bike shop as I'm really wanting to ride again. Thanks

  6. #6
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    Cheers, Blove! This getting on (in age) is a bit of a b___er; oh well! I've no prejudice at all against 'bents, by the bye -- they do work for many, just don't appeal to me. And, it does seem that there are good ways (positioning, etc.) to minimize the 'jolt factor', along of course with working on things like core strength -- the cyclist's weakness!!

  7. #7
    Oldtimer borgagain's Avatar
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    I'm 51 and have Arthritis in my knees and Anklosing Spondylitis. The whole boring story is here.

    My knees make noise, especially the right one which was immobilized for several months due to a cycling accident in my youth and was never the same afterwords.

    My spine is being treated with Enbrel and Methotrexate and for now is mostly under control.

    I find that if I don't ride every day, I can expect knee pain. It's not bad otherwise but I'll have problems if I take more than a day off.

    It's important to have low enough gearing for your road conditions. You don't want to be stressing your knee joints.

    My primary bike is an old Trek Antelope which is nicely geared for the hills where I live and work. It also has biopace chainrings which I am a true believer in. Others are not but I know the comfort level of my knees and this is both the heaviest and easiest, most comfortable bike to ride, I have.
    Resistance is futile. Mechanical enhancement is inevitable. You will be assimilated into your bicycle.
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