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  1. #1
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    Which is Healthier - Dropped Down or Upright?

    Which is healthiest for the body?

    I was dropped down & uncomfortable so I raised my bars a tiny bit above my seat.

    It's more comfortable now, but I feel all the jolts go right up my backside which doesn't seem too
    healthy for the body.

    My back spazzes out every so often, so I want to be somewhat nice to it; so which is nicer...........
    dropped down or upright?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Getting out and cycling is better than not. Go with what feels good to you,
    because it will get you on the bike..

    sounds like an upright position is better for you.., wider saddle with springs,
    just get out there and move around...

    Muscles in your legs helps the blood flow back to your heart.

  3. #3
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Too far in either direction is less healthy. Bars too low = crushing your tingly parts; bars too high = all your weight on your butt & spine.

    The major problem with having all your weight on your butt & spine, (rather than letting your arms bear some of it) is our spines have a bunch of little sacks of silly-putty cushioning between our fearsomely jagged vertebrae bones. And those silly-putty bats can & will, pop & leak. Now consider that when you are completely upright, every bit of the shock of each bump is being absorbed by the silly-putty pillows in your spine.

    What was uncomfortable about your position before?
    Have you tried different saddles?

    It's also a really good idea to exercise your core. (Abdominal, back & oblique muscles.) These will support your torso and relieve your spine of the pounding. And DON'T SLOUCH!

  4. #4
    Recreational Commuter
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    The answer is, it depends on a lot of variables. Your post doesn't have enough info to be able to give you a good answer. Some questions to start with:

    Male or Female?
    What kind of riding do you do?
    What/where was the discomfort you were feeling before?
    When you get those large jolts, is the pressure on your ischia (two hard points in your pelvis, on in each cheek) or on the soft tissues in the middle?

    The problem may be one of your riding technique, or of the fit of the bike. Possibly both, in combination with other factors. In general, you should be up off the seat for large bumps. However, if you're feeling the jolts in your butt, through your ischia, that's better than other places (like your wrists.) Your posterior is more built to take it
    than your wrists and hands are.

    This link may help: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
    Riding the Ohio MS Central Ohio Challenge tour, July 12th.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kotts View Post
    The answer is, it depends on a lot of variables. Your post doesn't have enough info to be able to give you a good answer. Some questions to start with:

    Male or Female?
    What kind of riding do you do?
    What/where was the discomfort you were feeling before?
    When you get those large jolts, is the pressure on your ischia (two hard points in your pelvis, on in each cheek) or on the soft tissues in the middle?

    The problem may be one of your riding technique, or of the fit of the bike. Possibly both, in combination with other factors. In general, you should be up off the seat for large bumps. However, if you're feeling the jolts in your butt, through your ischia, that's better than other places (like your wrists.) Your posterior is more built to take it
    than your wrists and hands are.

    This link may help: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
    When it was low my shoulders & neck were pretty sore from craning my neck up to look I guess. It was also uncomfortable on my lower back to be bent over like that. Then I read that getting the bars above the seat would be way more comfortable so I did that with a stem riser.

    I feel the jolts from rough pavement, sewer grates, just about any bump mostly on the butt bones--the 2 hard points. I also can't get my saddle to stop pressing on the nerve/vessel line that runs to the important man parts.
    I like riding pavement & gravel roads. I thought maybe one of those Brooks sprung saddles might be a good idea.

  6. #6
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    Don't slouch is the best advice I've ever had, and use you core to support your body.
    My back spazed on me a couple of years ago, and I realized a few things:
    -I was sitting around too much
    -I had gained weight
    -While I was doing all that sitting, I was slouching
    -I wasn't staying hydrated enough
    While you are awake, be conscious of your posture at all times. It's difficult if you aren't in the habit of it, but start anyway. Begin using a fitness ball to sit on if you've got a desk job.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAttack View Post
    When it was low my shoulders & neck were pretty sore from craning my neck up to look I guess. It was also uncomfortable on my lower back to be bent over like that. Then I read that getting the bars above the seat would be way more comfortable so I did that with a stem riser.
    You're pretty much OK so far, though you may want to experiment a bit with height to get it optimal (you may be better off with it lower than it is now, but higher than it was.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MacAttack View Post
    I feel the jolts from rough pavement, sewer grates, just about any bump mostly on the butt bones--the 2 hard points.
    This is as it should be. To some extent you just have to get used to that, to some extent you can greatly decrease the "joltage" with proper technique. Lift off the saddle a touch when you're going to hit a bump, let your legs act as shock absorbers (knees flexed, let the bike rattle around under you while you foat above.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MacAttack View Post
    I also can't get my saddle to stop pressing on the nerve/vessel line that runs to the important man parts.
    This is not good. If the saddle (or bike) fits you properly, you shoudn't have this problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacAttack View Post
    I like riding pavement & gravel roads. I thought maybe one of those Brooks sprung saddles might be a good idea.
    In my experience, a sprung saddle only helps if you're pretty doggoned upright, and it will generally be problematic if you are in the drops at all.
    Riding the Ohio MS Central Ohio Challenge tour, July 12th.

  8. #8
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Less weight on your hands = more weight on your butt. The weight doesn't vanish, it just gets relocated.

    OP, you've found why I don't like sitting too upright for very long. Sometimes I'll get into the drops to duck through the wind, but other times I get down there just to relieve my back.

    Slouching, or drooping between your shoulders, is what's probably hurting your neck muscles.

    I also keep thinking of a BF'er who, in his quest to relieve neck pain, ended up with lower bars than before. He said that the extra-low position made his core carry the weight more than his arms, which put less pressure on his shoulders -- which, in turn, didn't jack them upwards and didn't force his upper spine-neck region to droop between them.

    I'd say to dabble in some yoga -- not just for core strength, but also to gain some awareness of body positioning. It makes it easier to know exactly how your spine is shaped and how to position yourself. Dancers have good body awareness, too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    I also keep thinking of a BF'er who, in his quest to relieve neck pain, ended up with lower bars than before. He said that the extra-low position made his core carry the weight more than his arms, which put less pressure on his shoulders -- which, in turn, didn't jack them upwards and didn't force his upper spine-neck region to droop between them.
    +1

    I've got 2 herniated discs - one in the lower back and one in the neck. When I started riding this spring I got a hybrid for a more upright position because I was very nervous about my back. I have since switched to a drop bar bike, and I find what BarrackSi say is true. I have much less back pain now because my sholders, arms, and core are doing more of the work in holding me up. My shoulder muscles get soar on long rides, but it's soar like a good work-out, not soar as in neck pain. Same thing with my lower abs.

    The only thing I have had to concetrate on is keeping my head up when I'm getting tired and not rounding my back. If I slouch, or drop my head, it will eventually to discomfort and pain. So I say riding drop bars are better, if you focuse on good posture, and in fact helps with posture when your not on the bike as your muscles get trained.

    oh, and at the advise of pretty much every cyclist I've talked to on and off BF, I'm getting a proffessional fitting this weekend. I would imagine this is even more critical for those with back and neck problems like me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Dropped down, definitely.


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